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Woman Meditating Indoors
Wellness
Published Tuesday Mar 17, 2020 by Julie Sacks

How to Meditate: A Beginner's Guide

Meditation
Perspective
Personal Growth

Meditation will change your life if you let it.

The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace.

If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.

 

What is meditation?

Meditation is the practice of concentrating on a single point of focus, with the goal of releasing tension in the mind. The most popular types of meditation are Vedic meditation, Transcendental Meditation™ (derived from Vedic), Kundalini, and mindfulness. Though different, all have the same objective: to help you become more present in your life and help alleviate stress.


Schedule time every day

The key word here is practice. We must practice daily, even if it’s just one to five minutes of meditation to start. Then, build up to ten, even 20 minutes.


How to start practicing


1. Start by focusing on your breath to help your body be still and quiet your mind.

2. Turn the ringer off on your phone. (Use your phone as a timer if you need too, but put it face down so you’re not distracted.)

3. Take a moment to stretch, move around, and get comfortable enough to sit for a few minutes.

4. Sit, with your spine straight and your hands on your knees; close your eyes.

5. Focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your body. Breathe deeply through your nose in for five seconds and out for five seconds. Be aware of the cool air coming in and warm air going out of your nostrils.

6. As you breathe in and out, you’ll find your mind may wander, which is fine. When you are aware that your mind has wandered, let any thoughts go and keep your focus on the breath, bringing you back to the present moment.

7. Focus on one thing you would like to improve upon or achieve today, then bring yourself back to a few deep breaths in and out.

8. Start to see yourself manifesting this improvement or achievement. Once you see this clearly, bring yourself back to your breath for a few deep breaths, in and out.

9. Start to move your hands, and feet, stretch and open your eyes.


Right away, you’ll feel more relaxed and calm. The more you practice each day, you will find yourself reacting much less to the outside noise. Your inner calm can help bring you greater happiness, now and in the future.

Julie Sacks
Written by
Julie Sacks
Founder and CEO, Vie
About the author
Julie Sacks is the Founder and CEO of Vie.
man working out
Fitness
Published Wednesday Sep 23, 2020 by Sara Lesher

5 Things Instructors Are Doing to Improve Their Virtual Fitness Classes

Fitness
Virtual Classes
Mindbody Community

By now, we all know the benefits of virtual and online fitness classes, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the struggles. To adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, studios and instructors all over the world had to get crafty, many with little-to-no experience with live streaming or recording workouts at home (so, if you haven’t, make sure you send your instructors a quick thank you—because they deserve it). Now that we’ve realized virtual fitness is here to stay—and we’ve all had lots of practice—the virtual experience is getting a whole lot better. 

Here’s what your favorite studios and instructors are doing to improve their virtual fitness classes right now: 


1.    Making classes easy to access 


Everything seems harder than it must be right now...which is why jumping through hoops to get into a class should be the last thing on your mind. As with most things, the simpler, the better (unless we’re talking about the actual workout). Studios are working on creating a one-button experience to join a class. You sign up, get an email, press ‘join,’ and you’re in. And if something happens with your WiFi and you end up getting kicked out, no worries. One button click and you’re back in, without even missing a circuit. 


2.    Quality video, quality workouts 


If there's one thing more annoying than not having easy access to classes, it’s bad quality and connection. We’ve all found ourselves in online classes where you literally can’t follow along due to poor connectivity causing instructors to freeze every five seconds. Or if it’s an on-demand class that doesn’t buffer, you’re stuck looking at a spinning wheel as your heart rate decreases at the worst possible time. Not fun.  

Now, studios and instructors are doing their absolute best to make sure they have top-notch WiFi and streaming services so we can work out without delays. Better cameras, lighting, and space setups are just a few of the investments instructors and studios are making to make virtual workouts as close to the in-studio experience as possible. 

3.    The sound of music... and the instructor’s voice 


For most, working out with music is a must. But figuring out how to balance tunes with the instructor’s voice can be a challenge. In the studio, they have state-of-the-art speakers blasting playlists throughout class, and oftentimes they have headset mics—all adjusted to the perfect volume so you can sweat to the beat, without missing a beat.  

But at home, it’s a little more difficult. Now that instructors have had some time to work on it, they’re figuring it out. Some instructors suggest playlists for you, others have mastered the perfect music to voice volume ratio, and some have invested in some high-quality mic setups for their home studios. In yoga instructor, Dani Schenone’s words, “Instructors are Jedi masters at the music-to-voice volume ratio at this point. When necessary, external microphones offer an amazingly clear experience. I record my classes and listen back, noticing any audio issues I need to address the next time around.” We’re getting there together, and again, thank your instructors. This isn’t easy. 
 

quality video quote


4.    Setup and prep 


With instructors improving their own spaces for filming workouts, we need to be doing the same as attendees. An instructor’s key to creating a good virtual experience is making it all replicable—creating a space and using equipment that’s realistic for anyone to mimic at home. If they're using weights, they should let you know ahead of time, and maybe even give some household items you can use as alternatives.  

Instructors are people too, and they know this. They’re coming up with tons of creative ways to make the experience easier for you, whether it’s propping up their cameras so you can see their entire setup and body, notifying you of equipment needs early in the booking process, or teaching classes that can realistically fit in most spaces. 
 

props quote


5.    Keeping us engaged—and motivated 


Have you seen the videos of teachers trying to keep their kindergarteners engaged over Zoom? Fitness classes are not much different. Signing up for group fitness classes means more motivation and encouragement, so we can’t skip out on the hard moves and cut our workouts short when we’re feeling tired. Instructors, though, have an interesting challenge—keeping that spirit up through a computer or phone screen. And right now (as always), they’re stepping up in several ways: 
    •    They’re always on time, beginning and ending class right when they say they will. 

    •    They talk through all the moves, so you don’t constantly have to be looking at the screen, and demo them at least twice in case you missed the first one.  

    •    They shout out words of encouragement and call people out by name, just as they would at an in-studio class.  

    •    They give tips and pointers for perfecting your form, even if they can’t always see you. 

    •    They have a positive attitude throughout the class and are consistent with their delivery, so we always know what to expect.  

    •    They’re our superstars, and we love them for it. 

 

mcalister quote


Shifting from IRL to virtual fitness has not come without its own set of complications, but let’s not forget about the struggles of the people on the other side of that screen. Our instructors are working hard out here to make these classes better because they genuinely care about our health, well-being, and sense of community.  

Virtual classes are here to stay, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better. Thank you, instructors. 

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).