Setting the Mood for a Virtual Class

When the pandemic began in March 2020, I was almost immediately furloughed from my full-time job. With no family nearby, no roommates, and no job for a community of colleagues, I was alone trying to navigate a new routine at home 24/7. At the start, I absolutely hated virtual movement and fitness classes. The video format was invasive in my private space. Sometimes there were technical difficulties. My cat is entirely too cute and I ended up spending half of the classes petting her. My leg would hit an end table and my arm would wack the ottoman. It was frustrating trying to focus on me and my body with all of the distractions in my home, not to mention navigating the changes my body was making due to being confined in space and stress eating. I was trying to be gracious with myself but my environment to move (something that feels therapeutic) was working against me.

We are living in a world right now where virtual is the foundation and glue of our relationships, career, and wellness. It is no surprise that our physical practice is blending into the spaces of our personal and work environment. Mental and physical distractions are a result and completely normal during this difficult global season. Setting the mood for virtual fitness and movement classes is key to give your mind a change of environment within the same environment. Below are some tips on how I have navigated the creation of a movement and mental oasis within my tiny work and living space in Austin, Texas.

Light some candles/dim lights/natural light.

If I am taking a Yoga or meditation class in the evening, consider lighting some candles and dimming your lights to create a warm and relaxing room. If taking a class during the day, natural light can bring a sense of optimistic and fresh energy to your space. Open the windows and blinds. If you do not have a lot of natural light in your space, consider creating your movement practice on your porch or outdoors and socially distanced on a lawn or local park.

Designate a space.

Whatever light you choose, designate a space for your movement practice. I like to use my living room. I stack furniture on top of each other to create more space and easily return it to its location when class is over. If it is a nice day, sometimes I will go outside to keep my mind stimulated within my environment. Having a designated movement space will create a sense of familiarity and ritual. Just like brushing your teeth is a ritual, you will begin to think less about your space and circumstances and more about your movement practice.

Curate a pre-class / post-class playlist.

Whether your class is bursting with cardio or melting into a mat, curate a playlist that sets the vibe and play before and after class. This small action can mimic on-site studios and gyms whether you have been cognizant of their pre- post-class music or not! It can help get you in the mindset for class and bring your back to the real world gently after class.

Give yourself a post-class treat – eucalyptus towel/meditation/etc.

One thing I miss from taking class live is getting a eucalyptus soaked cold towel. It was a refreshing reward and treat! You can easily make this at home. Fill a bowl with cold water and place a few drops of your favorite refreshing essential oil inside. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and rinse. Roll up and put in a ziplock bag and place it in the freezer. Treat yourself to a cold towel after class! You deserve it. You can also treat yourself with a brief meditation on Spotify, Headspace, Youtube, or more! Find your treat and reward yourself for taking a class under these conditions.

Above all, create your own pre- or post-class ritual.

Consistency is key and creating a ritual that creates an environment of self-focus in your movement and fitness practice during the pandemic. These are some ideas above but what works for me will not work exactly in the same way for you. You might even have some ideas that I should try! Let me know.

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Morgan Teel

Morgan Teel

Artistic Director + Founder