My journey taking unique and fun virtual classes from all over the US
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Whether or not you want to actually leave your house these days, right now might seem like the perfect time to try a lot of things we’ve never made time for. In this altered state of reality, and time indoors that seems to drag on forever, it may seem like the opportunities are endless. Organizing, decorating, baking, crafting, reading, TikTok-ing, and doing all those things you see online. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed with options, we’re here to tell you that now’s the perfect time to try yoga above the rest.
Bedroom. Backyard. Livingroom. Basement. Bathroom (hey, to each their own). Anywhere you have room to roll out a yoga mat is fair game. Sorry, extra tall peeps, you may have to move some furniture. As we’re all sheltered-in-place right now, we’re getting creative with how we get our fitness in. But if you just don’t have it in you to start transforming your guest room into a fitness studio (we get it), virtual yoga classes are perfect for you.
Unless you enjoy suffering and have been putting jeans on every day to WFH (props to you), you’re probably wearing sweats, PJs, or yoga pants on your lower half (with some business on top, of course). If that’s the case, you’re already almost fully dressed for a yoga practice! Throw on a sports bra or top, push your coffee table out of the way, and you’re good to go (no shoes necessary).
As we’re all stuck at home, people's creativity has started to blossom. Some have started new social media challenges, taken up painting or knitting, or channeled their inner Chrissy Teigen and started trying out all those recipes they never had time to before. If you’re like me, though, you’re a little discouraged when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing. You may be feeling stress related to the state of the world right now. You could be discouraged by how talented everyone else seems on social media. Or maybe, you simply can’t find the energy to take on a new challenge. If that’s you, that’s okay. I’m right there with you. I’m a writer, and usually a pretty creative person, but I just can’t bring myself to hop on this trend right now.
For me, however, yoga has been an awesome way to express myself—a different form of creativity that doesn’t necessarily yield a production at the end. You can start by attending a live virtual yoga class, and add in your own creative flair as you go (because what better time to try new poses than when you’re in your house with no one watching?). Listen to your body, get expressive, and let your creative juices—and all the benefits—flow (literally).
It’s no secret, that yoga has some incredible mental and physical health benefits. And it’s also no secret that a lot of us could use a little extra mental self-care right now. Focusing on your breathing, connecting your body and mind, and diving into meditation all have incredible benefits for your overall mental health. Regular yoga practice has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, calm the nervous system, and even improve symptoms of depression. (Not to mention increased balance, better posture, and more flexibility!)
On top of that, in a time of much anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, we are all most likely craving routine. Carving out some time in our not-so-busy schedules to put down our phones, turn off our TVs, and tune in to connect with our bodies and minds and get some relaxation could definitely do us all some good right now.
If you’re used to working in an ergonomically correct office and have now switched to a hunched-over-a-coffee-table-on-your-couch situation, we feel you. I know I’ve been having some serious back pain from all the weird positions I’ve been working in each day. Yoga can help strengthen your back muscles, improve posture, and increase blood flow. If you’ve noticed areas of pain or tightness in your body, and especially if you have arthritis, you can focus on bringing fluid, breath, and awareness in your postures to release tension and increase flexibility.
There are many different types of yoga, all involving different poses, benefits, and fitness levels. You may have to test out a few before you find the one that’s right for you. If you want it as a supplement to your other intense virtual fitness classes, you may want to try restorative or Yin yoga. If you want to heat up your muscles and break a sweat, you may want to try a more active Vinyasa or Power flow. If you just want to make time for some relaxation in your day, maybe try meditation and breathing exercises. Don’t be overwhelmed by choices; think of it as an opportunity to challenge your body and mind in lots of new ways! Here’s a guide to get you started.
If you’re feeling isolated and in need of a sense of community right now, you’re not alone. We’re all missing our friends, family, and general sense of human connection right now. A great way to get connected to a local (or distant) community right now is through virtual classes. Many studios are offering live-streamed virtual yoga sessions that are bookable through Mindbody, where you can flow in solidarity with others around the world.
Maybe you’d like to try out yoga studios near you in hopes of finding one you can frequent once they reopen. Or maybe you’d like to explore what other cities or countries have to offer. Perhaps you’ve been nervous to try your yoga practice for the first time in a studio in front of others. Right now, you have the unique opportunity to experience classes and instructors from a variety of different studios from the comfort of your home. Take advantage of it! You’d be surprised how comforting it is to know that you’re sharing an hour of your day with people in the same boat. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a local community of yogis you love and a studio to visit once stay-at-home orders are lifted.
If you’re looking for a new hobby, fitness type, creative release, stress-reducer, pain-reliever, or sense of community, yoga is all of that—and more. So, find a space, roll out your mat (or just try it on the carpet!), and find a class to try today. What’s stopping you?
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.