When I lived in Dallas, I joined a small yoga studio I loved so much I would go every single day. I bought the professional mat, auto-renewed my membership, and was all in. I could feel it in my bones if I missed a day (literally).
The music, the instructors, the owner, and the other members are some of the best people I’ve met and some still show up on my Facebook feed since I left Texas 6 years ago.
I haven’t been able to find that in the Bay Area, which is shocking since CA is home to some would argue the best yoga studios have to offer. I couldn’t find it. That’s how you know a place is special.
Now with COVID and everyone staying home, I probably won’t step foot in a studio for a while. Good thing is that there are a ton of online classes and apps out there that are actually really great. Sure, no one is there to check your form (unless you count Olivia who will literally lift my leg when I’m trying to do a standing split because the instructor on the video has perfect form), but it definitely gives me a sense of accomplishments and dare I say “zen” when I do yoga at home.
Yoga has a ton of benefits. Not only does it make you strong (hello Goddess pose), but it has a way of making you feel very present and calms your mind. With COVID and cases going up, stress is pretty up there, and I’ve actually done some nighttime yoga before bed that has helped me relax and ultimately get better sleep.
I’ve used a few apps this year that I’ve really liked and with free trials, it’s a pretty easy sell. Check out the list and maybe give them a try!
FitOn– this one I’m using right now. I recently upgraded to the premium for better music and extras like meal planning, recipes, and downloads. The classes are under 30 minutes, which works for me. I can do a power yoga class while Olivia does her first 30-minute zoom class. They have celebrity instructors as well like Gabriel Union and Julianne Hough.
Peloton– I don’t have a bike. Don’t know where I’d put it, and quite frankly, am not a fan of spin class. BUT, the app has a ton of yoga classes with fantastic instructors. I had a 30 day trial period and used it almost every day. I didn’t end up subscribing but still have it downloaded on my phone just in case I change my mind.
In addition to the yoga apps and classes, I’ve also gotten really into meditation. I do them mainly at night in bed because the chaos of the day doesn’t really give me the space to quiet my mind and relax. I’ve attempted it a few times, only to be taken out of it by a 3-year-old tackle.
There are a lot of meditation apps out there- Calm and Headspace are fantastic. I have done trials with each, and have to say I like Headspace better. Andy’s voice is calming and the app is easy and relevant for meditation and sleep, specifically. I like the funky cartoon design of Headspace, although Calm’s website is very, well, calming.
I think if I were to choose one meditation app, it would be the ones on Amazon Audible. Y’all they are so good and free for Prime members. My favorite is the Crystal Bowl Breathing one by The Big Quiet (who was at the Oprah show in February. Thinking about how I was there with 20K people while the coronavirus was starting its introductions is something else).
It’s 10 minutes and I’m usually asleep before it’s over. My second favorite is the “Honor Yourself” clip by, wait for it, P. Diddy. Didn’t think Piddy could put me to sleep, but I have tested it more than once and I can assure you, he does.
So there you have it, folks. If you haven’t tried yoga, now is really a good time to test out the practice. No, it’s not a cardio, heart rate, burn calories kinda thing, but what it lacks in calorie loss, it gains in mental health. Try the meditation apps and sessions too. Stress is high these days, and I’ve really noticed a difference in how fast my mind can calm down on the days I push play.
To read more about the amazing benefits of yoga, check out my post on the Zulily blog!