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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.
Kyle House Fitness is Chattanooga’s premier fitness program offering group fitness classes and personal training with the best-certified instructors and trainers in the area. Located on Chattanooga’s thriving Southside, Kyle House Fitness is more than a gym, they pride themselves on building a welcoming and inclusive community. The owners of this gym, Kyle House and Kyle Miller (AKA The Kyles), may sound familiar to you since they recently wrote a blog post for us on how to be an LGBTQIA+ ally in the fitness space.
Since they happen to be one of the most influential duos in the fitness industry, we were eager to sit down and learn more about what wellness means to them. Ready to get to know The Kyles better? Let’s dive in.
We have always had a love for fitness. From an early age, we were both very athletic (swimming, gymnastics, and cheerleading). Once we graduated, we slowly transitioned into training young athletes and then later started working on our careers. Kyle House started personal training at a large gym and began building a solid career as a personal trainer and groups fitness instructor. Kyle Miller started working in marketing and communications ranging from politics, law enforcement, and tech becoming a leading public relations professional. After working in their fields for about 10 years they decided to combine their love of fitness with their experience and built one of the most successful fitness facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
During our time working at other gyms and visiting other facilities that many were either missing qualified and motivating trainers, topnotch customer service, or a workout that was balanced and would lead to results for everyone whether they were casual fitness enthusiasts or hardcore athletes. We are motivated on a day-to-day basis by the idea that we can always be better. The experience can get better, the community can grow stronger, and we can continue to show people that fitness is more than just a way to look good, it's therapy.
Wellness to us has always been about leading a life that is balanced. It's not all fitness, it's not all work, it's not all fun... it's not all healthy food, it's not just junk food—it's about finding a way to reach your own personal goals while still having a healthy relationship with fitness, friends, family, and food—otherwise known as the four Fs.
If you're in the Chattanooga area, you should definitely check out Kyle House Fitness to take your wellness routine to the next level. You can book classes on the Mindbody app or through their KHF app.