Meditation can be referred to as an active effort to train your mind to focus and let go of certain thoughts and stresses. Engaging in meditation can boost your awareness of your surroundings, strengthen your inner voice, and reduce stress. At Exhale, we believe in building and maintaining a strong sense of wellbeing from the inside out. In order to achieve what we want to in both our fitness goals and in all other walks of life, it is important experience that inner balance and concentrated self-awareness.

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By: Robert MacDonald, exhale’s National Director of Healing and the ultimate mindfulness expert

We are bombarded with a million tiny stressors from all directions throughout the day. Sometimes stress is minor, and sometimes it can be significant. But the reality is that we accumulate stress moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day. This is something we can’t change — it’s part of being a human being. But we can learn to manage stress and even master it.

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Life is inevitable, but stress is not. The way that we react to difficult situations becomes the moment where we can choose whether or not to allow stress to surface. To help you strengthen your resistance to stressful thoughts and feelings, we’ve developed a defense plan that works like a charm.

Move it Whether you’re sweating it out or stretching it out, physical movement is a great way to channel whatever energy you’d normally put towards stress, into something productive and healthy. Release your tension and try some Power Yoga for a dynamic and positive sweat session or Chill Yoga to wind down and mentally disconnect. Stressed for time? HIIT 30 is a half hour of non-stop movement that will leave you feeling exhilarated.

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By: Dr. Robert MacDonald, National Director of Healing 1. SIMPLE MEDITATIONUse this quick mindfulness technique to help focus (or refocus), and notice how your energy shifts towards empowered positivity. Take ten seconds to close your eyes. Inhale and exhale. Visualize a color (or a mantra of your choice) – picture it in your mind’s eye. Let it fill you. Then open your eyes. 2.  AFTER-WORK RESET: Perfect for your after-work commute, this super-simple meditation helps you reset from the work day. 

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By: Robert MacDonald, exhale’s National Director of Healing and the ultimate mindfulness expert

We are bombarded with a million tiny stressors from all directions throughout the day. Sometimes stress is minor, and sometimes it can be significant. But the reality is that we accumulate stress moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day. This is something we can’t change — it’s part of being a human being. But we can learn to manage stress and even master it.

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We’ve all heard it a million times: getting enough sleep helps you lose weight, manage stress, and combats the big bad guys like heart disease and depression. But it’s not always easy to get some solid shut-eye — that’s why we’re hoping this bedtime meditation from our resident mindfulness expert, Robert MacDonald, will do the trick.

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I’m the first to admit that, in many ways, I was in pretty bad shape.

And I mean more than the 35 pounds I’d gained.

Despite the assurances of my A-list book agent, my latest book proposal hadn’t sold (I’d had 8 previously published), and a relationship with a business partner went deeply south.

More than that, over 18 months I waded through a sea of loss and death, all involving those closest to me in one way or another:

-My next door neighbor (who had become an unexpected mother-figure) -My best friend from Yale’s partner (I got the call in the middle of the night -My post-college best friend’s soulmate -My best friend of the last few years’ fiancée (I was there when they met and -I ended up co-planning the funeral) and finally … -My own father, all passed away.

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veryone wants to feel refreshed and fab on a daily basis. A good night sleep (at least 8 hours) recharges and refuels you so you wake up with a strong body, sharp mind and slay-the-day attitude. Read below for 5 benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, and our 5 tips to help you get there! 

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As you walk into the Recovery class, intensions set and an open mind, you are immediately brought to a level of calm. The class begins with an inward reflection. You are instructed to take inventory of how your body feels. The outside noise is silenced, and little-by-little you awaken the energy from your head to your toes. Throughout the class, the focus shifts from mindful meditation, to active stretching, and restorative foam rolling. Throughout the progression of these healing elements of the class, your body and mind undergo a transformative recovery experience. Muscles are limber and relaxed, the mind is centered and calm, and from the inside out you feel completely restored.   Now that the mind and body are set to a state of balance and revitalization, it’s time to apply the elements of recovery to the imperative care of your skin. The Detox Facial offers a very similar experience of awareness that stems from the inside outward. Beginning with the pre-facial moment you have to yourself in the zen lounge, all tension immediately begins to dissipate. Deep breathing and mindful stillness in advance of your detox prepares you mentally and physically for the restorative therapy. Throughout the 60 minute therapy, your skin undergoes a series of cleanses, 3-layer chemical peel, exfoliation a vitamin C mask, and more. Throughout the facial, you can feel the sensation of toxins leaving the surface of your skin. With a combination of soothing steam, warm compresses, and a soothing environment, you have no choice but to fall into a complete sense of tranquility and wellbeing.   Both The Recovery Class and the Detox Facial are brand new offerings at Exhale, and both fully encompass the importance maintaining a routine that not only challenges, but restores and revives your wellbeing from the inside out. Toxins, tension and strain inevitably build up within us over time. Taking the time to clean the slate and refresh your wellbeing is a total must. 

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by Edward Vilga There’s an ancient parable about blind men encountering an elephant for the first time. Each feels a different part of the animal––tusk, side, legs, tail, etc.––and each has a completely different take on what he’s experienced. Depending on one’s version of the story, they either come to blows or remain baffled, each person convinced they’ve tasted the absolute truth, yet each confined to his limited experience. The same can be said about experiencing yoga for the first time — you may have heard a lot about its benefits — ranging from increased flexibility to sweaty calorie burning and strength building, to deepened serenity — but you aren’t quite sure where to begin. In fact, yoga classes at Exhale range from offering something deeply sweaty (like POWER), to emphasizing graceful and expansive movement (like FLOW), to exploring stillness and ease (CHILL). How is it that so much can fall under this very broad “Yoga Umbrella?” Indeed, it’s fascinating that something as rigorously demanding as Power (where students could be holding forearm plank for a minute or attempt a challenging push-up variation) to Chill (where 90% of the class is spent lying down and using props), can share the label of YOGA. And yet, oddly the distinctions seem to be relatively minor, given the stronger commonalities the classes share. First and foremost, in any yoga class, there’s a strong and continuous emphasis on BREATH. While in other Exhale classes such as Barre or HIIT, the breath might be mentioned, it’s not usually a continuous part of the instruction. In yoga, however, it’s absolutely central. In Flow and Power, I’m calling out “Inhale” and “Exhale” pretty much every moment, particularly in the sun salutation flow. In Chill, I’m continually bringing the breath into the class’ awareness while holding a deeply still pose or while offering a guided meditation. Blog_0415 Another hallmark of what “makes yoga, yoga” is obviously an emphasis on stretching and increased FLEXIBILITY, even though that can look quite different in each type of class. (One aside: by far, the most common objection I hear about someone NOT taking yoga is that they aren’t flexible enough; ironically, that’s EXACTLY the reason they should begin practicing. No matter what your starting point is — even if when bending over, your fingertips are in a different zip code than your toes — yoga will meet you where you are and allow you to expand and lengthen over time.)

Young woman doing Uttanasana exercise

Interestingly, increased flexibility can be obtained no matter the style of yoga practice. In POWER or FLOW, one warms the body up through movement, allowing for deeper stretching, particularly towards the end of a class. In CHILL,

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