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This is a post from our (always amazing) Mindbody community.
It was Sunday, and the adrenaline was high. I added a few things to my getting-ready routine to aid in my confidence: eyeliner (damn that unattainable wing), my favorite leggings, and my new, fresh-but-not-intense perfume. I had already done all I could do to prepare, but in anxious-millennial fashion, my mind raced with all the lovely, worst-case scenarios that could happen. God, my imagination is good at that.
As I threw my hair into a low pony, I started to practice a breathing technique I do when I’m about to speak in public. In for six, hold for six, out for six. Times six. It has been my go-to, doing the job of lowering my cheetah-fast heartbeat and bringing my breath back to baseline. I wasn’t technically public speaking, but I thought this technique could assist. Turns out, it didn’t.
As a yoga instructor, I live for the face-to-face student connection. I love when I get to experience someone new – they come to my class, and they leave with a light atop their head, as if they’ve just discovered something lifechanging (because they did!). I love observing a student’s progress - gently helping them into a deeper version of a pose, or watching them nail something they’ve been working on for months. I love stepping onto the cold, hardwood floors of a studio, feeling the energy of a thousand practitioners with my bare feet.
Maybe it’s my ego talking, but I also love who I am when I teach. I love everything about it. I can oftentimes lean towards feeling inadequate or like an imposter (I believe it’s actually a skill that keeps me humble and hungry), but not when I’m leading a class. When I’m teaching, I know it’s to serve a higher collective – it's not about me, and that allows me to comfortably step into confidence.
That is, until I went virtual
Back to Sunday. The breathing technique wasn’t working. Reassuring myself I had everything ready to go – sequence formulated, playlist laid out to a T, living room staged, camera angle dialed in – wasn’t working. I was, as my late Italian grandmother used to call it, plagued with the “nervoso”.
There I was, about to teach a class to 25 virtual students, and my cheetah heart was pumping full blast. I felt like I was teaching my very first class. And in a sense, I was.
There was so much more that went into a virtual class than I was prepared for, most of which I learned while teaching my first one. For example, a teacher should test whether the participants can hear their voice over their music (didn’t do that). A teacher should also make sure the WiFi connection is strong, and turn off any unused devices (didn't do that, either). One should definitely make sure their pets aren’t able to open doors and come billowing into the staged yoga “studio”. But *sigh* - we live, and we learn. Did I mention how freaking hard it is to teach and take the class at the same time?
My new name is Huffaluffagus.
The moral of this story is I made it through. I was supported by a beautiful yoga community I love so much, and even some close friends from all over the country. There were a few bumps, but I realized halfway through how incredible this opportunity was to share my class with folks outside of my studio’s city limits. I realized how much we need social connection as humans, and how important it is to be part of a collective. I was so impressed by how quickly Mindbody’s customers created new ways to bring yoga to their communities in times of struggle.
Yes, it was scary. Yes, things happened that weren’t planned. But with every virtual class, I’ll get better.
To instructors: don't let the events of today’s world keep our work frozen. We have to continue doing what we love outside of our comfortable studio – or gym – spots.
To students: losing the studio experience is devastating, and to teachers, it comes with a whole host of stressors naked to the human eye. Take our virtual classes, share our work with the world by tagging @mindbody on Instagram, and go easy on us when the house cat makes a special appearance.
Find out how you can show support for your favorite studios here.
Times are strange right now, as you all know. We’ve all heard the phrase “new normal” about a million times already, and all the while, things are still changing every day. If you asked me a few months ago what I’d be writing about right now, I would never have guessed I’d be interviewing someone about what it’s like to get a haircut.
Nonetheless, we’re all doing our best to band together and help each other out right now. You may have noticed salons and spas offering messages of support, video tutorials for DIY beauty, and now, waitlists and announcements of reopening their doors. But as we all know, this isn’t the “old normal” anymore, and there will be changes.
Here’s what you can expect to be different when you finally head back into the salon or spa:
As salons and spas begin to reopen, they’ll likely have to make changes due to new social distancing requirements. When you enter the space, you’ll probably see a complete rearrangement. Stations will be separated by at least six feet, and some might even be removed to allow for more space. Salons that don’t have that much space to spare are putting in temporary walls or partitions.
On top of that, there may be fewer appointments scheduled at the same time (and definitely no walk-ins) to limit the number of people in the building. Say goodbye to waiting rooms and lobbies—you’ll likely be asked to wait outside or in your car until the exact start time of your appointment to prevent too many people crowding the front.
In addition to their increase in space, salons and spas will likely up their cleaning standards and procedures. We surveyed active consumers on the Mindbody app and learned that among the many changes beauty and wellness businesses can make upon reopening, following rigorous sanitization guidelines is the most important. You’ll probably see social posts or confirmation emails that outline new cleaning protocols, and you may notice some signage hanging around the building to reassure that the areas have been disinfected. Employees, and even guests, will be wearing masks and/or gloves, and you may even get a spritz of hand sanitizer at the door. According to Salon 124 Group, getting these supplies is turning out to be one of the largest obstacles for reopening.
In between each appointment, they’ll thoroughly disinfect the area before the next client arrives. Not only that, but each time you move to a new station (like from shampoo to haircut), they may also wipe down the station as soon as you get up to make sure it’s clean for the next guest.
After a good haircut, we all want to check ourselves out. And now that we’re all more cautious of germs and bacteria, we also want to literally check ourselves out at the end of our appointments. Out of the various fitness, beauty, and wellness businesses on our platform, consumers feel most comfortable returning to hair salons, and 62.7% said hair cutting, coloring, styling, barbering, or blow-drying would be the first beauty service they book once restrictions are lifted. An extra, important layer of comfort can be added in the form of contactless payments.
Many salons and spas will likely be incorporating some sort of contactless checkout process to limit touch points. They may end up taking your payment information at check-in via text and removing the front desk, so you don’t have to interact with another person face-to-face.
All-in-all, you can expect changes—and lots of them. Whether it’s increased retail offerings, curbside pickups, virtual consultations, at-home appointments, or video tutorials, many salons and spas are getting creative with how they offer support to their clients. Above all, they want to help us feel beautiful, confident, and somewhat normal during this time—and for that, we’re so thankful.
Want to hear about a real salon experience firsthand? One of our own got her hair done at a reopened salon in Georgia—here’s how it went.
Are you a salon owner yourself? Check out the Reboot Kit for Salons, Spas, & Wellness Businesses for extensive info and advice on how to prepare for reopening.