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The Latest
Published Monday Mar 30, 2020 by Brittany Raine

Investing in Wellness: The Benefits of Virtual Workouts

Virtual Classes
Yoga
Fitness

Social distancing might just be the most buzzworthy phrase of 2020—and maybe the most discouraging.

Our world has been flipped upside down over the past few weeks/months, and we’ve had to quickly rethink any semblance of what a "normal" routine looks like. From local restaurants turning to take-out only to our favorite studios/salons shuttering their doors for the time being, our connection to community hangs in the balance of social media and Zoom meetings. 

So how can we keep our seven dimensions of wellness (and workout regimen) inspired and intact in a time like this? By staying connected through group fitness and making ourselves a priority—because this girl wants to come out of quarantine fit as a fiddle with her friends. 

Whether it’s working out from home with virtual fitness classes, making DIY facials, or finding ways to keep our extrovertedness intact, the new (wellness) norm is about getting creative with our well-being (and budget). Here are three reasons why working out with others and investing in ourselves should be a priority, especially in time of pandemic.  
 

Group fitness makes you feel good.   

Even though we aren’t physically sweating side-by-side on the reformer or squat racks doesn’t mean we can’t workout together. Many of us might be missing our 6 am barre class with our best friends, but that shouldn’t get you down (unless you’re letting lower with your leg lifts at home). Leverage the thousands of virtual, on-demand workouts on Mindbody.io and the Mindbody app and meet new workout buddies (or get your faraway family sweating). From the comfort of your home (it’s our new reality), there’s something to be said about strength in numbers, even if you’re streaming solo. By virtually working out with others, you’ll feel the benefits of real-time face time, including pushing yourself harder, a sense of accountability, increased endorphins (hello happiness!), and external motivation. Just the sight of a new studio that you’ve been dying to try or the smile of your favorite instructor through your screens will do wonders for your wellness—physically, mentally, emotionally and beyond.  

Financial and friends: It pays to stay connected.  

With all the uncertainty flying around, tapping into what supports our well-being is essential—and that includes staying connected to what kept us feeling fierce before parts of society shut down. Now more than ever we need to give ourselves, our relationships, and our small businesses a little love

By continuing to financially invest in our fitness and wellness routines, we are investing in ourselves during this emotional time. Did you know you can inquire about updating your membership if the current payment cadence isn’t working for your budget right now? Not only are we supporting what makes us feel good, we are spreading positivity and purpose amongst those closest to us. And maybe we will inspire them to join our next on-demand workout. 

Whether it’s streaming mat Pilates to sweat out that stress or zoning out with mindful meditation after a long day of working from home with your S/O, staying connected to the studios that support every aspect of our strength will help us to stay focused—not fearful.  
 

[Find Virtual Classes anywhere in the world with Mindbody]

Yoga is therapy: Group workouts are your online outlet.  

It’s not shocking that emotions are currently running high (like at warp speed)—and panic is running rampant. Empty store shelves, COVID-19 taking over the news, layoffs... the current social and economic climate is just plain daunting. Plus, we can’t leave the house to even vent to our friends the local bar. So, is group fitness the answer? When it comes to your personal wellness, we’d like to believe so. You know that feeling when you leave your Vinyasa class feeling renewed, refreshed and calm? Channel that. Now think of your next virtual group fitness class as an inspirational interaction. Even though you’re plugged in to stream the class, disconnect your mind from drama, be more mindful, and let your emotions eat up all those feel-good endorphins. Reset your mind, body, and soul. Just let it go and flow.

Use virtual classes as your outlet to yes, connect with others, but to also connect with yourself. You might surprise yourself with what you’re able to accomplish from the mat in your living room.  Embrace the good energy and gratitude post-class and spread it around, whether it’s a quick call to Mom across the country or a motivational quote on social media. We are human and though we can bend pretty far, we don’t want to break. And in times when things feel out of control, you can control what makes you feel amazing.  

We encourage you to find the good in group fitness, especially right now. From yoga and barre, to HIIT and Pilates, and everything in between, fitness can keep us focused and connected, and invested in ourselves—wherever we, whatever we want to achieve. 

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.