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Right now, it doesn’t seem as though there exists a “business as usual” mantra. In fact, it’s starting to feel less like we’re going to “return to normalcy,” and instead begin fresh, in a seemingly new world. Everyone is banding together in their own ways to support one another, remain as socially active as possible (tough for those extroverts out there), and find new at-home routines that are helping them rediscover their own wellness during this time.
This shifting landscape is especially true in the fitness world, specifically for studios and gyms. In a time of closures and social distancing, there’s seemingly no way for these businesses to provide services to their members the way they did only a few weeks ago. While this seems like a lose-lose for both sides, because the businesses still need a revenue stream to ride out the COVID-19 era, and their members—now more than ever—still need the benefits of physical activity and togetherness, Mindbody is doing everything we can to support both sides impacted by this.
Now, through Mindbody.io, as well as in your Mindbody app, when you search virtual, you will find a growing number of live and prerecorded classes to enjoy. Let’s get into how virtual classes can help you right now:
With times being as uncertain as they are, it perhaps has never been more important to prioritize wellness in our daily lives. While Mindbody focuses on all seven dimensions on wellness, let's dig into one of the more actionable ones: Physical wellness.
Now that we’re cooped up indoors more than usual, we need to counterbalance the extra sitting/Netflixing/day-drinking with a good sweat. Maintaining your fitness routine now not only helps with your current calorie-in-calorie-out conundrum but also keeps you on track so that when things do return to normal, you won’t have lost your fitness mojo.
But perhaps even more important than the physical benefits are the emotional ones. Being sedentary lowers our mood—and our immunity. Plus, it’s just really boring. With the added stress of so many of our kids (and partners) being home more than usual and right there in our personal space, throwing your earbuds in and getting in a good cathartic workout can help break the monotony and get your mind right.
Many gyms and studios are starting to offer their “virtual” classes on Mindbody.io and the Mindbody app, but If you don’t see much being offered by gyms in your area just yet, don’t worry! More and more studios are adding classes every day.
But think about it: what’s really cool about virtual classes is that—because they’re virtual—you’re not just limited to studios in your area. Broaden your search! From your living room in Los Angeles, you can drop in on a class happening in New York. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new.
On the Mindbody app: Pop open your Mindbody app, and search “virtual.” You will be able to see any classes in your areas, from yoga and Pilates, to spin and even guided meditations. Select the class you want, whether a tried and true workout or a brand new sweat, now’s the perfect time to keep your wellness in line, virtually.
On Mindbody.io: Head over to Mindbody.io and find the virtual drop-down in the top navigation. Here, you will be able to filter and find all the virtual classes in your area... and beyond. Or, just click here to see the classes in your area already filtered.
NOTE: If you aren’t seeing many virtual classes in your area, don’t be discouraged. The beauty of virtual classes, again, is being able to transport anywhere in the country, or world for that matter, and jump in on a class of your choice.
The COVID-19 epidemic isn’t doing the economy any favors, and fitness services are being hit especially hard. If you’re a lover of fitness and the businesses that provide it—and the fact that you’re reading this article means you probably are—taking advantage of these virtual classes is an excellent way to support these businesses in their time of need. It’s a total win-win: they get to continue living their passion and driving value to their clients, and you get a body-sculpting, spirit-lifting workout. Each side supports the other when everyone needs it most.
Remember, we are getting through this together, and together we will emerge stronger. To show your local studios support during this time, tag them on social media, along with @Mindbody, and we will support in any way we can.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last few weeks is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves.
Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
During times of high stress, our bodies experience a physiological strain, where essentially everything from our heart, muscles, blood, and energy have to work harder than needed in order to keep functioning at a minimum. Our body’s natural processes, like breathing, can get compromised, lessening the healing functions of the nervous system, and overworking our adrenal system. Stress management is almost non-existent. This overtaxing of the body disrupts the natural flow of energy and resources, and puts us in something known as the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we are constantly deciding if there is some kind of real danger and how to survive it. We feel these signals when our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our stress responses like sweating and either constricted or super fast breathing occur, and our feel-good hormones become compromised.
As we process anxiety, not only do we mentally and emotionally feel the repercussions, we also physically confuse our systems that are doing their best to naturally heal us. Staying in a state of continued anxiety with an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be incredibly damaging to your health, even if it is a small amount of stress that collects over time. Stress suppresses our immunity, digestion, deep breathing, disrupts sleep, and eating patterns, impacts mood, energy levels, and much more.
Studies show that over 50% of adults are essentially holding their breaths. They do a shallow type of breathing known as thoracic breathing, where you breathe lightly into your chest instead of into your diaphragm. For example, notice how you’re breathing right now. You’re likely holding your breath to some extent and you’re probably not breathing much at all. If you’re asked to partake in a deep breathing exercise now, you’ll puff up your chest and shoulders, and empty out your stomach. Guilty?
If you’ve ever seen a baby breathe or the breathing technique of someone in deep sleep, you’ll notice that their bellies rise and fall; the oxygen goes directly into a natural deep belly breath. Adults, however, have become acclimated to holding our breaths without meaning to. When we can slow down and practice deep breathing, we send physical and neurological signals through our entire body that asks us to rest.
The great news is that there are easy breathing exercises we can do at home that do not take a lot of time or effort. An incredible tool that anyone can use in times of high stress is remembering to inhale and exhale. Yes, breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended breathwork not simply as an immunity building tool, but as a way to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. Deep breathing and other breathwork improves the body’s overall functions; improves the respiratory system, builds protective mucus in the nose, oxygenates and blood and brain, improves digestion, alkalizes the full body, and much more. Each style of breathwork sends special physiological signals—some ask us our bodies to slow down and chill, to get out of fight mode, and bring us back to equilibrium where our body’s natural healing systems can be activated; some styles of breathwork ask to pump up and energize.
It’s common to find yourself rushing through breathing practices or feel like you need to set aside special time for it. But that’s the point. We get to slow down, and we get to implement these practices even if there are distractions, business, and no perfect zen meditation corners in our homes. We can do these anytime, anywhere.
If you’ve been feeling any small symptoms of anxiousness or stress, now is the perfect time to incorporate some incredibly easy and effective breathwork techniques into your day-to-day.
This breathing technique can be done at any time of the day, for as long as you want. It’s recommended to practice this for at least 30 seconds to start and several times throughout the day. It’s a breath technique to practice before going to sleep as well. As you’re doing this breath, imagine your stomach like a big pump. As you breathe in, you’re expanding; as you breathe out, you’re emptying out.
1. Put your hands on your belly/abdomen area.
2. Take a big breath through the nose and PUSH your hands away from the belly as you breathe in. Expand your stomach as much as possible and try not to puff up your chest.
3. Slowly exhale through the mouth and constrict your belly inwards. Feel free to make a sound with the mouth when you do this.
4. Repeat for a minimum of 30 seconds.
The 6-7-8 breath can be done at any time of the day to calm anxiousness and stress, especially before doing to sleep. It’s a self-soothing technique that helps relax and calm the nervous system. You can do this practice sitting up or laying down.
1. Close down your eyes.
2. Relax your mouth.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 6 full seconds. Count in your head and maintain an even pace.
4. Hold this breath for 7 seconds.
5. Pucker your mouth and exhale out through the mouth with a “whoooooossh” sound for 8 seconds.
6. Repeat this 6-7-8 breath for at least 5 rounds, or as long as you wish.
You can adjust the 6-7-8 counts to accommodate your pace. You can try a 4-5-6 sequence, or an 8-9-10 sequence. Play around with the length of time that feels good for your body. Some people love to sit by an analog clock for the ticking sound to help keep pace; some love to incorporate music.
This is another easy technique that can be done at any time of the day.
1. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose.
2. Hold for 4 seconds.
3. Exhale for 4 seconds through the nose.
4. Hold for 4 seconds.
5. Repeat at least 5 times.
You can play around with the timing for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and so on to see what works best for your body.
These are the top three breathwork techniques to manage anxiety and stress. Plenty of other techniques work on sleep, inner healing, subconscious programming, altered states of consciousness, and more. Play with the three techniques above and see what feels great for you. It’s common to find a sense of calm almost immediately, some gentle tingling, and relaxation! As we’re adjusting to the new normal, let’s all contribute to creating peace both inside and out.