Here’s your go-to yogi packing guide from Yoga Expo founder Kyle Michaud.
Download the app
Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
As a busy executive who seeks to keep my own personal health and wellness a top priority, especially since my cancer diagnosis last year, working for a company that supports these goals makes it so much easier to maintain this kind of lifestyle. And if you’re lucky enough to work in the wellness industry as I do for MINDBODY, well, you’ve hit the jackpot.
In today’s job market, top companies are in a tight race competing for top talent. During my six years at Glassdoor, I talked to hundreds of HR and Recruiting leaders about their challenges. What I learned is that smart employers recognize that in order to recruit the best candidates, they’ve got to create a workplace that not only offers growth and opportunity from a professional standpoint, but one that nourishes the employee as a human being in mind, body and spirit.
That means creating an environment that’s diverse, inclusive, and encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work - ideally, their healthiest selves - because a healthy and happy employee is an engaged and productive one. Also because it’s the right thing to do. We should all be encouraging those around us to pursue their best lives.
Here are some of the different ways the highest rated employers are helping nourish the mind, body, and soul of their people:
At MINDBODY, we offer regular meditation and breathwork classes onsite at our corporate headquarters which remote offices can stream live. Companies can also offer free or discounted memberships to handy apps like Calm or Headspace (my personal favorite) to teach employees how mindfulness exercises can increase focus and promote creativity. At some of the hippest tech startups, you might even find designated quiet rooms or even nap pods for employees to rest and recharge throughout the day.
Investing in learning and development programs is another way to boost the brainpower of employees. Online courses and onsite workshops can help people sharpen their skills or learn about new career paths. And providing opportunities for employees to learn from experts in their craft by letting high performers travel to a conference or bringing guest speakers onsite promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning while keeping your most ambitious people engaged.
The best companies also find ways to allocate a certain percentage of employee time to do what they see as the fun stuff - i.e. get creative (marketing), build cool sh*t (engineering), or tackle the complex problems with big impact (leadership).
Healthy and fit employees are not only happier and more productive than their less active coworkers, but they are likely to incur lower health costs for employers.
At MINDBODY, we’re lucky enough to have an onsite gym at our HQ where we offer multiple daily classes from Crossfit to Pilates. We even set up cameras so our remote offices can live stream them!
For companies who don’t have an onsite space, they can subsidize gym memberships or on-demand workouts. Restorative health services like massages, acupuncture, and chiropractic can be included in medical benefits or employer-subsidized. You should have seen the office buzz when our Wellness Team brought 15-minute chair massages on site for a week!
When you’re behind a computer for 8-10 hours per day, the carpal tunnel struggle is real. Ergonomic support services (think high-quality chairs, monitor risers, standing desks and wrist supports) make sure employees are physically set up at their workstations in good alignment to avoid unnecessary stress and fatigue.
Through years of research, Brene has found that in work relationships, if we have the courage to be vulnerable and authentically connect with each other, we experience a powerful sense of belonging which drives engagement and productivity.
Companies have a huge opportunity right now to show employees and potential candidates that they care enough to create supportive environments as they listen to the evolving demands of younger generations entering the workforce. Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a recruiting initiative; it's a cultural value. Today’s top companies encourage employees to connect with others in communities where they identify through internal support groups, informal meetups, and even online chats. At MINDBODY, we have a highly engaged #MBPride Slack channel with regular LGBTQIA+ events at our different office along with a thriving Women In Tech chapter that hosts a regular panel discussion live-streamed to our 14 offices around the globe.
Health benefits like EAP services that include mental health support, legal services, and short term disability, maternity and paternity leave, and floating holidays that give employees the opportunity to celebrate their faith are becoming standard-issue for most mid to large companies in the US.
Above all else, I think the best way companies can nourish the health and happiness of their employees is to treat them as people, and as individuals.
Managers should be encouraged to get to know their people so they can stay in tune with what’s going on in their personal lives. Maybe they’re having an off week because their marriage is in trouble, or their kid got suspended from school, or they are taking care of a sick parent. Instead of pretending our employees are working 24/7, or putting tight restrictions on when and where they work out of fear they’re not giving 110%, maybe we’d see better overall performance if we encouraged vs permitted our people to take an afternoon off to mentally reset and recharge. Or told them to fly home to work remote for a week so they could take care of a family member. Or offered to move the time of a weekly meeting so they could go to their favorite jiu-jitsu class.
In my experience, if you hire the right people who are intrinsically motivated, take the time to get to know them and what's important in their lives, and try and create a working environment that actively supports and nourishes them in mind, body and spirit, you'll not only have a high performer on your hands—you'll have a healthier, happier human and isn't that what life's all about?
With extended periods of working from home, new social distancing measures for nearly every brick and mortar type, and seemingly little certainty as to when “normal” may return to our daily lives, a new age of fitness is upon us. From a dramatic rise (out of necessity) for virtual workouts, to people taking up running, cycling, powerwalking, and more like never before, we’re all diving headlong into new modalities of staying fit. In fact, in a recent survey, Mindbody found that roughly 33% of people have been exercising more since COVID-19 hit. (Insert “gaining the COVID-19" joke here...)
So, with increased exercise and all this running around, it’s safe to say that we’re also going to be experiencing some chinks in the armor, as it were. Some aches and pains in places we didn’t know existed. A lovely dull sensation here and there. Or a sharp and stabbing assault on a hip flexor... (speaking from very personal experience.)
This is precisely why we are so excited that our friends at RAD Roller have been helping us out. We recently used a few of their products to relieve pressure from sitting all day in our uncomfortable chairs, recover from our first 10-mile run, and align our bodies, so we’re able to work out tomorrow—and the day after, and so on, and so on, and so on...
Here are our experiences live and direct from the Mindbody HQ (AKA: our own homes):
Oh, the pressure of working from home. It’s definitely getting to all of us. Since I started working remotely, I’ve felt more pressure than EVER... in my back and neck.
When I worked in the office, I had a perfectly ergonomic desk setup. But now, I find myself hunched over my laptop on the couch most mornings—and at the end of the day, my neck and back feel it.
Pre-COVID, I had been to some yoga classes that involved roller balls (shout-out MELT at Yoga Branch Studio in North County, San Diego). I remember noticing such a difference in overall pain and tightness from the start of class to the final Savasana, just from rolling some magic little balls on a few points on my body.
So... when I saw RAD Roller’s Point Release Kit, I knew I had to try it. I read the reviews—most notably, one that mentions an ex-girlfriend's cold, dead heart—and was sold even further. I ordered it right away, and it was on my doorstep in days—a beautifully packaged block, three rounds, and a RAD Roller.
My first thought was, “WOW.” And my second thought, “What the hell do I do with this?” I started unfolding large posters with drawings of people using the product. Not gonna lie, I was a little overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, these drawings were super informative and easy to follow, but I just didn’t know where to start. So, I did what any sane person would do—I went to the internet.
After one quick Youtube search, I found a whole library of videos on RAD Roller’s channel. Because my goal (for now) was to focus on my back and neck, I chose this one and this one—and it hurt, so good. After following those videos just one time, I already noticed a huge difference in the tightness and mobility of my spine. I started doing these exercises, along with more I found on their channel, nightly to relieve my back pain and loosen up sore muscles after working out.
I cannot tell you how much of a difference this made.
I started incorporating the Point Release Kit into my at-home yoga practice. I typically flow every night before bed to wind down at the end of my day and stretch out my sore muscles. And often, I’ve felt like I needed a little extra help—especially since I’ve been feeling that extra pressure lately.
After just a couple weeks of using this kit in my practice, I already feel so much better. The biggest difference I notice is I’m sitting a lot more comfortably. I knew I was tense, but I didn’t realize just how tense everything was when I was just sitting or lying down. I feel more relaxed overall, settling comfortably into my makeshift WFH couch desk.
Magic little balls to the rescue.
Getting back into in-studio fitness is a hard thing to do post-COVID lockdowns. The classes and studio procedures are unfamiliar, and the workouts are hard. Like most people, I have been doing at-home classes, and it’s not quite the same. It’s easy to skip out on a cardio blast or come out of that plank early because no one is holding you accountable.
After getting back into in-person classes, my body felt really sore (my back and neck, especially, since I wasn’t used to working out this intensely). Enter: RAD Roller. It completely helped my body get back to feeling great again.
The RAD tools designed for the back all have a unique feature in common, the spinal recess. It’s a groove that allows you to avoid contact with the delicate bones of your spine and keep the release where you want it—in the muscles. It comes in all the right intensities, so you can pick the right level for you.
After using the RAD Roller, I did not expect my body to feel so good. I use it almost every day now and cannot live without it.
“Please remember to stretch, Will.” This is my wife after every single run I take. Roughly 50% of the time, I totally adhere to her advice (which I also read now as a plea). I’ve been running for years, but actively take time off when a new modality strikes my fancy—yoga and mountain biking, really.
But when COVID-19 hit, I decided I was going to finally start my training for a marathon. Starting small, I logged 4-5 miles a day with times ranging from 6:45/mi to 7:45/mi depending on my rum intake from the night prior. This blossomed into 8-10 miles/day at the same paces. And THIS quickly resulted in aches, pains, sprains, and tightness in areas I didn’t even know I had.
Luckily, around this time, and with having enough time on my hands to actually care about recovery and making sure I can sustain my running (and not injure myself), I got into rolling. I came back from a quick 10-miler (shut up, Will), to find an All-In Kit waiting for me courtesy of my friends at RAD Roller. TO say I was stoked would be a semi-understatement. Not even waiting for the sweat to dry, I ripped into the kit, grabbed the RAD Rod, and went to town on my quads. “It’s OK to cry, Will...” I kept telling myself.
After a few rounds with the rod, my quads were feeling, well, flushed and refreshed. So I decided to keep going and broke out the various rounds in the All-In Kit. I started with the Green massage ball and, proceeded to dig that bad boy into my hip socket (a recent pain point from my extended runs.) After more tears welled in my already-red eyes (it’s a good hurt, remember), I treated myself to quite literally a little pleasure. See, there’s this little black ball in the kit that, when you rub it in your hands or cheeks in just the right way, feels like what I imagine wellness heaven feels like.
I don’t go a day without using RAD in some way. From bored on Zooms to actually getting down and dirty on the floor, my body is in a constant state of alignment and refreshment.
From hyperextending my glutes while a collegiate athlete to tearing my calf last year in the middle of a workout class, if it’s a weird fitness-related injury that makes hilarious cocktail hour talk, I’ve done it. Suffice to say, I (and my legions of physical therapists) know the value of soft tissue recovery.
My current dilemma is related to my core. I’m a Pilates instructor, and teaching virtually means you work out while talking the whole time, which is extremely taxing on the abdominals. (It’s seriously tough, so thank your favorite instructors for being there for you!) It’s not uncommon for me to hit my weekend rest days with extremely sore abs and obliques. Unsurprisingly, I was stoked to try out the Centre, Rad Roller’s inflatable massage ball designed for the abdomen.
I’m not gonna lie and say my first use was pleasant, since it turned out that my abs needed A LOT of TLC. I started by just doing a few passes over the most tender parts of my core, spending just a few seconds in each spot while wiggling my body to keep the ball in motion. Over a few days, I was able to stay in each spot a bit longer and began exploring other parts of my body that could benefit from a soft-touch release.
The best spot? My wrists, hands, and forearms. I’m a writer by trade, which means they get a lot of abuse from typing, and don’t get a lot of recovery love. The Centre is soft enough that I can passively roll back and forth throughout my workday, and help loosen up some tight spots in my hands. Added bonus? It's a great way to use excess energy during your umpteenth Zoom meeting of the day.
I was not designed for the work-from-home life. My extrovert self misses my team, lunchtime walks, the ability to be in the same room for epic brainstorming, and most of all—our onsite massage therapist, Rob Chang.
At the beginning of shelter-in-place, I wasn’t ready to admit that I could be working from home for a while. I refused to set up a home office and instead hunkered down 8 hours a day at my dimly lit dining room table on a hard wooden chair. The weeks went by, and the work was stressful. I wasn’t prioritizing self-care, and it started to catch up with me. I gradually started to pain in my back where I’ve never felt it before, so much so it felt numb at times. My resistance to adjust to working from home was coming back to bite me—Rob Chang would not approve.
I finally gave in and got myself a desk, some monitors, an ergonomic chair, and even a footstool, but nothing helped to fix the damage I had already done—until I found the RAD Roller. Working with this little wonder after work each day has been a game-changer. A quick roll on my back and shoulders, followed by some pressure point work in the sweet spots is all I need to feel better at the end of a long day at the “office.”
Want to see what the hype's about? Shop online at radroller.com