This article is written in partnership with Yoga Wake Up—a mindful app that replaces your usual alarm with easy, audio-guided yoga and meditation from bed. Result? A relaxed, happier version of you…and we sure could use that right about now! ~ ed.
I moved to Israel a few weeks ago (yes, in the middle of a global pandemic).
The plan to move had been set months ago, back in another time, when things like handshakes and going out for coffee were still socially acceptable.
After landing, I immediately entered my required two-week home quarantine. For 14 days, the only human I saw was my boyfriend. I obsessed over the news. I paced our apartment. I got noticeably paler. I would sit on our small patio for hours, just to inhale the fresh air and stare at a slice of the sky.
Last week, my quarantine ended—but, according to Israel’s rules, we can’t go more than 100 meters from our home, and only for small amounts of time.
So I still pace. I still only see my boyfriend. I still obsess over the news. I still spend hours on the patio. And I’m still getting paler.
All of this isolation and confinement and day after day of awful, heart-wrenching news has left me stressed and missing my former life. I miss running. I miss long walks with my dog. I miss friends and family and eating out. I miss life without all this fear, life without the daily uptick in deaths, life without gloves and masks and washing my hands more times a day than I can count.
Some days, the stress and sadness and suffocation feel so intense that I crave any way to relieve it.
This is why I was genuinely thrilled when Elephant asked me to try out Yoga Wake Up.
Yoga Wake Up is an app that provides audio-guided meditations and yoga sequences. It’s a small company, run by a lovely, quirky, innovative couple: Lizzie and Joaquin.
Get bite-size chunks of chill with Yoga Wake Up* >>
*Try it FREE, for 7 days on iOS or Android
As the name implies, Yoga Wake Up is primarily focused on helping us start our days energized, calm, and mindful. This sounded damn good to me, as I’m not sure there’s ever been a time in my life when I’ve needed that more. And there’s also never been a time in my life when I’ve missed my yoga practice more.
I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for years. It’s a deeply essential part of my routine and well-being. It keeps me sane. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me healthy and flexible and strong.
It’s been tough to be unable to take classes at a yoga studio during this time. It’s been hard not to have the practice and the community and the guidance. And, while nothing can totally replace that, Yoga Wake Up is the closest you can get to the real thing.
Yoga Wake Up has a wide selection of audio-guided sequences and meditations to choose from. The classes can be anywhere from 3 to 40 minutes, with most falling in the 7-to-20-minute range.
Many of the classes are specifically designed for morning-time, and one of the coolest things about the app is that you can make it your alarm clock. You just choose a class to wake you up the next morning, pick a starting time, and set your yogic alarm.
The app breaks the classes down into sections to help you find one according to what you’re looking for.
They have a section that’s all sequences to do from your bed in the morning, and another section that’s all sequences to get you out of bed and flowing on your mat.
Then there’s the “Meditations” section, with dozens of guided meditations ranging from anywhere between 3 and 20 minutes. There’s a “Family” section, with sequences and meditations for moms and their kids (such as “Morning Yoga Basics for Kids” and “While Your Baby Sleeps”). You can also select classes according to your mood, your goals for the day, or scroll to find your favorite teachers (there are at least 50 to choose from).
Yoga Wake Up has recently added an Afternoon section, with classes designed to wake up your body, reset your mind, and bring peacefulness into the rest of your day. The “Recharge for Vitality,” for example, is a meditation that uses mindfulness and deep breathing to help reduce chronic stress.
The app also has a Bedtime selection of classes, including “Yin for a Quiet Mind, Open Heart,” “Yoga Nidra: Sweet Dreams,” and “Soothe Yourself to Sleep with Savasana in Bed.”
I’ve loved exploring their offerings and finding classes that are perfect for my mood or level of energy. I’ve loved the format of the classes, and I’ve also liked every single instructor.
I don’t really like doing online video yoga classes and have never gotten into doing YouTube yoga or video yoga sequences. I’ve found them largely unsatisfying and unhelpful.
But Yoga Wake Up’s audio sequences have been a different story. When I’m doing a class, if I close my eyes, I can easily pretend I’m in a yoga studio. The teachers take their time; provide clear, detailed instructions; and also offer helpful alignment, breath, and mindset tips along the way. I’ve not once gotten confused about the pose I’m in or how to transition to the next (always a concern of mine when doing yoga online).
Though each class is designed to be a stand-alone practice, I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve often found myself doing multiple classes in a row. It’s been addictive—in the best way.
Most importantly, Yoga Wake Up has given me the calm and the sanity and the break from a screen that I’ve so desperately needed. It’s forced me to move my body—even when I don’t feel like it. It’s gotten me out of my worrying head. It’s reminded me to breathe, to be, to hold space for myself in these chaotic times.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest taken between two deep breaths.” ~ Etty Hillesum
In a matter of weeks, our lives have become bizarre, unrecognizable versions of their former selves.
We are isolated and confined. We are bored and stressed. We are stir crazy and scared. We have had to rapidly reckon with our new reality and adjust our lives accordingly.
There is little in the outside world that we can control right now (though we can do our best to stay inside and donate if and when we can). We can’t change the fact that we’re isolated. We can’t change the fact that things are scary and hard. We can’t snap our fingers and have things go back to normal.
We don’t have control over any of that.
But what we do have control over is how we handle this, how we process it, and how we take care of ourselves as it unfolds.
The choice to start my day with meditation, with yoga, and with deep breaths has been empowering and sanity-saving. The calming voices of Yoga Wake Up’s instructors have guided me toward mindfulness, led me through yoga flows, and encouraged me to release stress.
Let’s give ourselves the tools to find our way through this crisis as calmly, healthily, and mindfully as we can.