This Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond, here at Gymbox we’re helping to raise the bar when it comes to mental fitness and well-being, with the launch of our new class – Digital Detox. In today’s always-on, hyper-connected world, we’re more stressed than ever, and it’s never been more important to make time to switch off. Our constant use of digital technology is a factor being blamed for boosting our stress levels, giving us restless nights and reducing our effectiveness at work. The pressure to check feeds and messages 24/7 can lead to self-confidence issues, anxiety and depression if not kept in check. Our resident blogger, Hayley, unplugged for the afternoon and had her own Digital Detox.
Amid the DJs, the neon lights and the thumping bass all found in a Gymbox club, Digital Detox is an oasis of Zen. It’s billed as guided meditation, yin yoga and sound baths with one important rule: absolutely no phones. That might not sound like a challenge but the group of people frantically sending one last message before we entered the studio said otherwise. The idea of being without your device for even 45 minutes, to some people, is not even worth thinking about.
The whole point of this class is to have a complete break from screen time, reconnect with your body, breathe and basically come away awash with good vibes.
I’m not exactly a meditation sceptic as such, but I’m generally more into hardcore HIIT or intensive dance classes - I need my body to ache and to look like a sweaty mess before I think I’ve done myself some good. But after a heavy weekend and just generally feeling a bit limp, I thought Digital Detox could be just the ticket.
The studio was dimly lit and smelled scrumptious thanks to an infuser pumping out essential oils. The mats were in a small circle - the class was going to be quite intimate - and next to each was a bolster cushion and two blocks. While we waited for the instructor to arrive we were invited to just lie down and relax - without our phones of course.
We began the class by lying on our backs and doing some breathing exercises while Tara, our instructor, dabbed some Frankincense on our palms that we inhaled and added a bit to our ‘third eye’ (your forehead). Frankincense has long been used for medicinal purposes and is said to relieve anxiety, stress, and joint pain. We then did some gentle stretching incorporating sitting position, cow pose, cat pose and holding the butterfly pose for six minutes. The bolster cushion and blocks are there for those who don’t want to stretch too deeply (Tara’s diplomatic way of saying ‘for all you with creaky limbs) and the poses felt restorative and easy.
Essential oils are a big part of the class and the next one we had was peppermint - known for its cleansing and invigorating properties. We stretched some more, opening our ‘pathways’ and really trying to focus on our breathing.
Next up was orange blossom oil, which we were told to also rub on our lower back and stomachs. It’s a lovely sweet and warm scent and its benefits includes enhanced awareness of your sexuality, calming stress and helping insomnia. What’s not to like?
We then did four minutes in the ‘happy baby’ pose (lying on your back while grabbing your ankles) or if you felt a bit looser, in frog pose, which is a bit more challenging.
We finished with some tapping (pretty self-explanatory, using two fingers to tap certain points of the body) in order to release energy and focus, then ‘brushing’ - which is what it says on the tin, effectively using your hands to brush all the negative vibes from your body.
And no meditation class is complete without the obligatory ‘ohm’ moment. Whenever I have had do this in a yoga class before I have always felt a bit daft and want to smirk, but here, it felt totally fine.
All that positive energy literally oozing from my pores must have done the trick!
If you want your heart thumping or complex and very fast-paced yoga this isn't the class for you. But if you want to reset, rebalance, and be still for 45 minutes, it’s ideal.
Check your timetables for your Digital Detox