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To say the world is stressed out because of the COVID-19 pandemic would be an understatement. In fact, not too far into this crisis, I noticed my Fitbit App had added a new feature into their system which went far beyond tracking your physical fitness—I now had a new goal to practice mindfulness at least three days a week. As a yoga instructor myself, I know the importance of practicing mindfulness through meditation, and I was shocked to realize that I hadn’t taken the extra steps to keep my sanity in check by taking time to relax and meditate more often during this time. I was doing a self-practice of vinyasa flow every day, but I started noticing the physical aspect of my yoga practice wasn’t enough to alleviate my stress.
So, at the end of each at-home vinyasa practice, I decided I would take an extra 10 minutes each day to exit the physical world and meditate. However, because 2020 now holds the world record in being the most challenging year of all time, I noticed that being in charge of my own meditation was quite a struggle. My mind was having a hard time drifting into bliss and instead kept going over to-do lists—I simply couldn’t focus on relaxing.
That’s when I knew I needed to turn to a guided meditation—specifically Yoga Nidra to help me get to a state of calm I so desperately needed. I have used Yoga Nidra to help me overcome insomnia in the past—and even got certified in it because it literally changed my life. Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
Ready to unwind and grab some much-needed rest and relaxation, I started scrolling through an abundant list of virtual meditation classes on the Mindbody app. Knowing how powerful a Yoga Nidra class can be, I decided to book a class at night because I knew I would be in such a state of Zen that I really couldn't expect myself to even be able to focus on mindless television (I’m looking at you, The Bachelorette) after a class.
As a yoga instructor in Phoenix, I've been to my fair share of in-person guided meditation classes in the Valley of the Sun, I felt like trying something totally new and opted to go on a virtual vacation for my meditation experience. With the world at my fingertips, I decided to try a Yoga Nidra class at Hot Yoga Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
A few minutes after I booked, I received a confirmation email letting me know I’d receive the link to my class 30 minutes before it started. After finishing up dinner the evening of my class, I changed into my favorite cozy sweater and yoga pants, rolled out my mat, and got ready to drift off to (yogic) sleep.
Pro tip: If you're interested in taking your virtual meditation practice to the next level by trying out multiple studios all over the country, you should look into trying out Mindbody Flex. Mindbody Flex lets you try all the best livestream fitness classes from the comfort of your own home at a super affordable rate. There are thousands of livestream classes to choose from, at hundreds of great studios—and more and more studios are opting in to Flex each week. Check out this blog post to get all the deets on a Mindbody Flex membership.
When I logged into class, I was greeted by my instructor, Amber, and a handful of other students. For the first few minutes of class, Amber went over what Yoga Nidra was and encouraged us to get into a comfy position. Since your body temperature can drop while in guided meditation, I made sure to have my favorite blanket next to me in case I got too cold during the practice. Also living in the middle of the city, I popped in my headphones to make sure I wouldn’t get distracted by any outside noises.
I laid down on my mat, closed my eyes, and focused on Amber’s soothing voice. After setting the scene at a secluded beach location where we could only hear the waves crashing against the shoreline, Amber led us through one of my favorite techniques in Yoga Nidra called a body scan. This is where you’re encouraged to focus your awareness on specific parts of the body and trigger them to relax—starting at the crown of your head and working your way down to the tips of your toes.
Already feeling myself start to drift off, she then moved on to another relaxation technique that requires you to focus on deep breathing. In this portion of the class, we were told to count our inhales and exhales backward starting at the number 25. I think I may have made it as far as 15, and then I was out for the count. The next thing I realized, she was bringing us back from our guided mediation and a whole hour had gone by. With every student in a delighted, relaxed haze, Amber sealed in our practice with a final meditation and sent us on our way.
I was so relaxed after this class that nothing could faze me—I mean this was like a glass-of-wine-while-taking-a-bubble- bath kind of feeling of elation. With so many things stressing people out right now, virtual guided meditation is a gift for anyone looking to up their mindfulness game and escape from the world. One session is all it took to convince me to add it to my weekly rotation. This is not a trend you want to sleep on—or will you?
Ready to see how a virtual guided meditation can help you stay cool, calm, and collected during COVID-19? Book a class at Hot Yoga Capitol Hill or browse virtual meditation on Mindbody.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.