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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.
It’s safe to say, the way we conquer our daily routines has changed drastically over the last few months. The way we perform our jobs, how we socialize—even the way we workout—have flipped from in-person, group settings to virtual platforms to keep us safe and healthy. There's no denying that navigating this new normal has certainly come with its ups and downs, to say the least. In fact, a recent survey revealed one-third of Americans said this pandemic has caused more stress and anxiety in their lives, which isn’t surprising given the circumstances.
With anxiety levels at a high, people need relaxation, self-care, and movement more than ever. Enter yoga.
Yoga has long been touted for its amazing ability to calm the mind and help folks stay in-tune with their body—which is probably why more and more people are embracing an at-home practice.
Whether you’re looking for a powerful Vinyasa class to help kickstart your morning or yearning for a gentle, evening flow to wind down after a busy workday, taking a yoga class is now more accessible than ever. With 91% of group fitness studios offering or planning to offer live stream and/or on-demand classes, those who are ready to get their asana on have plenty of yoga classes to try all over the country.
While there’s no place like om, most of us could go for a little virtual vacation right now. I know I could! Ready to get a taste of what yoga classes are like all over the country? Here are the U.S. cities with the most virtual yoga classes available.
It seems poetic that Chicago hits our number one spot on this list because it was the first city in America that was introduced to yoga back in 1893. Swami Vivekananda presented yoga at the World Parliament of Religions and made a speech on the concept of body, spirit, and mind. It seems the presentation made a lasting impression on the city.
Try getting your Zen on with one of these studios:
• The Lab Yoga
• Bottom Line Yoga
• Bare Feet Power Yoga
Everyone knows that Washington DC is where you can visit some of the world’s most famous monuments, memorials, and museums. But you may be surprised to learn that it also offers one of the most robust libraries of virtual classes to help yogis sample some classes at the nation’s capital.
Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America—in fact, you can folks speaking 145 different languages and thousands of restaurants serving up food from more than 70 countries. If those facts have you working up quite an appetite, feel free to indulge. They also have plenty of virtual yoga classes available to help you torch some calories.
Did you know one of the first businesses to open in the City of Brotherly Love was a brewery in 1683? If you’re familiar with the ever-evolving trends of yoga, then you have most likely heard of or participated in beer yoga sesh. Get ready to try yoga the Philly way by cracking a cold one and doing some downward dogs in the comfort of your own home at the end of the day.
New York City is home to 8.4 million people, making it the most densely populated city in the entire nation. With that many people, you know there must be a ton of yogis looking to relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Start spreading the news and flowing with some of the most dedicated yogis in the U.S.—there are a ton of virtual yoga classes to choose from in the Big Apple.
Get ready to make some virtual yoga neighbors. Did you know that Columbus, Ohio is considered the heart of the country? The reason for that is because nearly half of the America’s residents live within a 600-mile radius of the city. Ready to put your heart and soul into your at-home yoga practice? Then check out what this city has to offer virtually.
San Diego is known as one of the happiest cities in America—mainly because of the beautiful weather, picturesque beaches, and the abundance of yoga classes available. While a vacation to this area may not be in the books for this year, you can certainly flow with the best of them by booking a virtual class at a San Diego studio.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the yoga studios offering virtual classes to help you stay fit, healthy, and calm during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these offerings inspire you to either start a new at-home practice or are helping you seasoned yogis continue your path to wellness. Interested in seeing what other cities are hosting a bevy of online yoga classes? The options on Mindbody are endless—literally!