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Yoga at home is different. As someone who loves going into the yoga studio, moving my practice home was difficult at first. I missed the community of fellow yogis and yoga teachers practicing beside me and the ability to focus inward and tune everything else out.
While I practiced at home, I had a lot more distractions. Whether it was slow Wi-Fi, the sound of the TV on in the other room, or my dog climbing all over my yoga mat, I felt like I just couldn’t focus.
Aside from all those obvious external distractions, I felt tons of internal ones as well. “I should’ve thrown my laundry in before this...” “Did I turn the oven off?” “Is someone texting me?” “I can’t wait to eat a snack when this is over.” The list goes on and on...
But as studios remained closed, I realized it might be a while before I could go back to in-person yoga classes—and I needed to change my attitude. So, I made a conscious decision to stop being mad about the whole situation and try to get the most out of my at-home yoga practice.
Here are some tips that helped me finally learn to love virtual yoga.
You wouldn’t bring your phone into your in-studio yoga practice, so why should you have it next to you during a virtual class? A huge part of yoga is eliminating distractions, and there’s nothing more distracting than a phone that lights up, dings, or buzzes every five seconds. Turn your phone off, or if you’re like me, just put it in another room so you can’t even see the thing.
If you’ve ever looked around in a yoga studio, you can probably tell a lot of thought, planning, and TLC went into making it the beautiful, welcoming, and peaceful sanctuary you practice in. When I first started doing at-home yoga, I’d roll out my mat in the tiny space next to my bed or push the coffee table aside in the living room. As I flowed through my asanas, I’d have to push a pair of sneakers out of my way or find myself accidentally kicking the wall. This was not ideal.
Once I realized this would be a regular thing, I made sure the room was spotless, set up my diffuser (or space heater) in a corner, had blankets ready, plants surrounding me, and my own personal little yoga space to help me find my Zen. Don’t be afraid to switch it up and discover which area of the house you like best! Now, I alternate between my little yoga spot in the bedroom and taking my mat out onto the balcony when the weather’s nice, and I need some fresh air. It’s the little things.
Just because you’re not physically with the people or teachers in your class, doesn’t mean you’re not together. In virtual classes, there are people from all over the place (maybe even different states or countries!) practicing the same flow and following the same instructor. That is beautiful in itself! Virtual classes have opened doors for lots of people to try yoga, perhaps even beginners trying for the first time. Some don’t live near a yoga studio. Some can’t typically afford the in-studio pricing. Some may have been too nervous or embarrassed to walk into a new yoga class alone. And some may have recently decided to try yoga because of their increased free time—or anxiety about the state of the world. Whatever the reason, many are coming together to practice yoga alongside you. This may be the first yoga community they have ever been a part of.
When I would go into the studio, I felt a little more structure. I had class at a set time, needed to arrive a few minutes early to get a good spot and set up, and I would never consider walking out in the middle of the yoga practice to go home and do laundry.
When I did virtual yoga classes, though, I’d often work right up until the start of class. I’d look at the clock, rush to set up my mat in a panic, and usually end up missing the breathing/focusing/warming up part. I’d jump right in without setting the tone, which would often lead to distractions throughout. When we were right in the thick of it, I'd remember some “important” thing I had to do, and sometimes I’d even get up and go do it, because who’s watching?
Learning to treat virtual yoga the same way I treated regular class was key to making the practice worthwhile. I started implementing some “commute” time, a buffer in between work and yoga. I’d get everything set up and be ready to go with time to spare, so I could tune in—and stay tuned in—throughout my whole practice.
The best part of virtual workout classes is no one can see you. Not that anyone paid attention to you during in-studio yoga, but there’s definitely some comfort in knowing you’re not playing a game of who’s more flexible or who can do the best headstands. Now’s the time to—carefully—try out those new poses you’ve been too nervous to try. Think outside the box, go off-script a bit, find your flow, and add to your practice. If you don’t follow along to exactly what the teacher is saying, that’s okay! Take this at-home time to find freedom and creativity in your yoga practice, expressing yourself, trying new things, and not worrying about anyone but yourself.
After I started doing these five things, my relationship with virtual yoga completely changed. Instead of dreading it, dipping out early, or feeling like my thoughts were elsewhere the whole time, I began to appreciate it in an entirely different way.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my in-person studio, and I can’t wait to get back once it reopens, but I think I’ll mix a little virtual into my routine from here on out.
In the past, on days when I couldn’t make it to class in time because of rush hour traffic, forgot my mat or a change of clothes, or didn’t sign up before it filled up, I’d just go home and skip yoga that day. Now, I envision a hybrid routine, with virtual and in-studio classes. I’ll be able to fit in a lot more yoga, stop making excuses, practice on my own, and continue to support my studio all along.
Here’s to second chances.
Want to try a virtual yoga class for yourself? Browse Mindbody to find one that fits your schedule!
February is Black History Month—a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans in society. As the beauty and wellness industry becomes a more welcoming and inclusive space for all, we are taking this opportunity to continue to shine a light on the gap of inclusivity and diversity in our industry, and take action to promote, empower, and honor the Black community that shapes and grows wellness.
While the beauty industry is making improvements—it's important to showcase and support Black businesses and the creatives in this space every day. To honor them, we're shouting out some of our favorite Black-owned beauty and wellness businesses to support.
Beauty Bin is a full-service day spa and dry bar located in Asheville, NC. With a focus on inclusivity for people of all backgrounds, genders, and races, their MO is to match the outer beauty of every client to their inner beauty. From eyelash extensions and hydrafacials to waxing and massage, Beauty Bin is a one-stop-shop for all the spa services.
The KIKA Method® is a gentle assisted stretching process that loosens up tight muscles freeing your body from pain and stress. By practicing this method, clients can experience decreased muscle tension, increased energy, enhanced flexibility, a substantial reduction in stress, improved posture and relaxation, and increased mental clarity. While its headquarters is located in Las Vegas, NV, they have multiple locations sprinkled throughout the US, including Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas—just to name a few.
At Kimberly Coleman Salon, their philosophy begins with promoting healthy tresses, elegant sets, unique accouterments, perfect pampering of hands and feet, and precision cuts. Known for working with models and celebrities, they fully appreciate and celebrate the diversity of their clientele which also includes super moms and warrior dads.
Pressed Roots was developed with the simple concept in mind—that everyone deserves access to easy, and quality hair care. What started as a single pop-up shop in Boston, grew to a multi-city pop-up tour, and is now slated to be the largest national hair salon franchise specializing in the care and styling of highly textured hair, they launched their first flagship location in Dallas, TX.
Jersey City resident, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez started SW3AT. The company began as a fitness apparel line in 2015 but evolved into a sanctuary catered to health and wellness now known as SW3AT Sauna Studio—the first infrared sauna studio in Jersey City. The healing power of infrared heat therapy is a phenomenal option for holistic health proven to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from joint stiffness and muscle pain. It is also supportive of any fitness program as it aids in weight loss (you can torch up to 900 calories in a 45-minute session) while also detoxifying your body from some of the most harmful toxins.
Kelli Coleman and Anika Jackson opened The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit to address a void in their city. They saw a need for a quality, modern nail bar that could also serve as a fun social space for Detroit’s residents and professionals. They designed the TEN to provide their clients with a #Perfect10 experience—where you can relax, enjoy music, a drink, your friends, a clean and precise manicure, and a much-needed break from all your hectic days.
Located in the beautiful downtown Hyde Park Chicago area, Bettye O Day Spa specializes in first-class treatments. They aim to nurture and relax each of their clients with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. From body wraps and massages to facials and hydrotherapy, this day spa promises to be a safe place for healing to occur.
Looking for more businesses to support? ClassPass has also created a list of Black-owned business to check out all year-round. While both of these lists are a great start to get you familiar with many of the Black-owned businesses either in your neighborhood or around the globe, we have only scratched the surface. We'd love to keep these lists growing.If you have any businesses you'd like to see on this list, click here to submit a Black-owned business we should be highlighting as well!