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The Latest
Published Friday Mar 27, 2020 by Brittany Raine

How to "Travel" the World When You Are Stuck at Home

Virtual Classes
Renewal
Fitness

Have your travel plans been kyboshed? Is your wellness routine under quarantine? I am pretty sure we just nodded our heads in unison. We’re all feeling a little (or a lot) stir crazy as we practice social distancing. If you’re someone who was working on your fitness prior to the pandemic, studios shutting their doors for safety might just be another red X on 2020. #positivevibes from here on out only, please. 

[Read our Guide to Staying Grounded During Life’s Most Stressful Moments] 

Plain and simple—we are in uncharted territory. But in times of uncertainty, we need to be grateful for the little things and adapt to our new norm. Whether you’re worried about your suitcases collecting dust, want to stay connected to your community, or just need to sweat out the stress, Mindbody now offers virtual classes from your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) studios to save you from self-isolation. Here’s how you can rack up those air miles while getting your workout on, no passport required.  

[How to Join the Best Virtual Classes in Your Area (and Beyond)] 


Take a class in LA today, London, tomorrow, and Bali the next day.  

If you have WIFI, you now have a world of workouts at your fingertips from the comfort of your home. From barre to HIIT to cardio blasts, choose from thousands of virtual fitness classes anywhere (literally). Maybe you’ve always wanted to check out the hottest HIIT classes in LA or namaslay your namaste in Sydney—now’s your chance to try something new while staying local (and loyal to your well-being).  

All you have to do is change your location on Mindbody.io or the Mindbody app to explore classes in different metros! There’s no jetlag, either, which is a plus, especially now that we have bags under our eyes from pandemic stress. So the only question we have left is, where do you want to go?  

 
Make it a vacation. 

Don’t like “traveling” alone?  When searching for an on-demand virtual class on Mindbody, invite your friends and family to join (because we all know most of us need a break from WFH with our S/Os). Girls trip anyone?  Choose a location that you have all been wanting to travel to, or an instructor or studio that you’ve been eyeing on Instagram—@mindbody has a few good ones. Many of the virtual classes only require a yoga mat (we will get to that later), so your friends don’t have an excuse not to join in! With easy-to-use filters, you can find a time that works for everyone’s schedule and fitness routine. Those who sweat together, stay together. Now, drumroll, please, make it a thing (we promise, it’s an extrovert social distancing dream).  

[Speaking of, Here’s How Extroverts Can Stay Connected During Social Distancing] 

Get into the wanderlust spirit with your group by not only dressing in workout gear that is inspired by the city you’re “visiting” (florescent floral for Miami, all black everything for NYC), but plan your virtual happy hour or dinner, around that city (or country). Make a cocktail (or mocktail) that emulates the region you just worked out in—or your Zodiac sign if all else fails —and cheers over Zoom with your crew. Try planning ahead and find recipes for your virtual meal with friends that is well-known to the place you just booked. Thank goodness for grocery delivery. Not only will you have something to look forward to, you’ll feel even more connected to your friends (and fitness) during isolation.  


Prefer to fly solo?  

Whether you have two left feet and want to stream Hip-Hop Cardio on-demand or you need to disconnect from video conferencing with Vinyasa, the best part about virtual Mindbody classes is that you can do them on your terms.  

Virtual workouts and classes are your chance to try something different or take your workout to the next level because, guess what, no one is watching (or judging) you—well, except for the dog.  

[See Why Right Now is the Perfect Time to Try Pilates, For Instance] 

Challenge yourself to a new workout or a class with a kick-ass fitness instructor that your friends told you made their abs sore for days. Wear your craziest yoga pants with your hair in a crazy bun. Be comfortable and confident and hold yourself accountable. And if you’re scrolling through social, post an after-class selfie and motivate your followers to do the same. Tell us where you traveled to and tag #mindbody. You might learn to love fitness (and yourself) a little more when you do it alone.  


Don’t “overpack”—your workout gear that is.  

Studios from all over the world are going virtual to keep their workout community’s positive, and are welcoming new students, near and far. If you’re worried about what to “pack” (as you travel from bedroom to the living room for class), most studios have modified their classes to work for the equipment you may or may not have at home. Perfect example: Pilates. Use to the reformer? Never wore grippy socks a day in your life?  

Studios are taking their traditional in-studio experiences to the (yoga) mat—and believe us, Mat Pilates is a killer core workout. Don’t have a ballet barre at home? We bet 99% of the population doesn’t. Barre3 is streaming virtual workouts (minus any fancy equipment). You’ll feel the muscle burn without the barre. If your “travel” calls for weights and you don’t have any at home, get creative! Use that heavy book that you were going to read on the flight to Australia. Pack your hiking backpack with some gear for added weight. Raid the pantry for a few pounds. You might just find what you need isn’t so far away.  

From your go-to studio around the block to taking your workout routine to faraway lands, virtual classes on Mindbody enable you to get your workout on, anywhere. While it won’t take the place of the vacation you’ve been planning for months, on-demand workouts can take your mind off the madness and transport you to somewhere you want to be, even if it’s Pilates on the back porch. Just remember to take a deep breath, stay grounded and have gratitude—we are getting through this together. Have a virtual class we need to know about? Share it on Instagram and tag @mindbody! We'll share the love. 

Brittany Raine MINDBODY
Written by
Brittany Raine
Consumer Content Program Manager
About the author
A free-spirited farmgirl from New York, Brittany traded her job as a journalist and newspaper editor for the San Diego sunshine. Brittany now leads the curation of all creative content. There are rumors she was Middle Earth's warrior elven queen in a past life.
woman with crystal bowl
The Latest
Published Tuesday May 19, 2020 by Shanila Sattar

Top Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression and The New Normal

Meditation
Renewal
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

Inhale. 
 
 
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. 
 
 
Exhale. 
 
 
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.  


Long-term anxiety and stress can harm our bodies 

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.  


We are holding our breath

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.  


Breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety

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


Top breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and stress 

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. 


Belly breathing 

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. 
 
 
  
  

6-7-8 Breath 

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. 


The Box Breath 

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. 

If you'd like to try a guided breathwork class with me, click here to find one that works with your schedule! For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody

Shanila Sattar
Written by
Shanila Sattar
Founder, AlwaysPlay Studios
About the author
Shanila is a sound healer, breathwork coach, women’s researcher, and speaker. She trains sound healers and breathwork facilitators through her mobile studio, AlwaysPlay Studios, and is the founder of the Integrative Wellness Leaders based in Los Angeles. She practices integrative wellness - considering a person's emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout Los Angeles. Shanila mentors women who are wellness entrepreneurs and on their confidence journey.