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Quiet meditation doesn’t come naturally to me. Trust me—I’ve tried. Rather than calming me down, quiet and solitary meditations often provoke even more anxiety (and apparently I’m not the only one). To fix this, I often seek out alternative forms of meditation (like a screaming meditation) as ways to reap the benefits of meditation, without subjecting myself to a form that doesn’t necessarily work for me. So, when I stumbled upon Chorus, which brands itself as “meditation, kinda,” I knew I needed to check it out.
Chorus offers on-demand and live classes, building on the community aspect of yoga classes that often isn’t present when you’re practicing a guided meditation. Practitioners can leave comments on the class page, and the instructor often begins the class by greeting students by name. The Chorus Method—the practice that the company offers—is a three-part pranayama breath synced to the rhythm of music. The breath pattern involves a belly-focused inhale, followed by a chest-focused inhale and, finally, a deep exhale. This three-part breath is repeated over and over again throughout the class.
Tell me more: What exactly happens in a Chorus meditation class?
During a midday break when my eyes started to strain from staring at my computer for far too long, I tried one of the company’s 10-minute, on-demand classes, called a “Chorus 10.” Branded with a renewed energy theme (which I desperately needed), the class felt like SoulCycle-meets-Headspace. The instructor, Ellie, coached me through the breath pattern to the beat of the music, her instructions matching the counts of the song. Belly, chest, release. Belly, chest, release.
One of the aspects of a quiet meditation that I struggle with the most is the wandering of my thoughts. If a meditation has little guidance throughout it, I’m either spiraling into my anxious thoughts or falling asleep—there really is no sweet spot for me. However, in this class, the combination of Ellie’s coaching to the beat of the music helped me focus exclusively on the breath. And—to be honest—it was exhausting. While she would speed up the breath pattern to match the beat, I often found myself falling behind the rhythm, unable to keep up with her rapid inhales and exhales.
The speed (and depth) of the breath makes the practice a bit louder than the traditional silent meditation. (Pro tip: Notify your housemates of your planned meditation session, so they don’t think you’re *actually* struggling to breath.)
But, the weirdest (and most wonderful?) part of this Chorus meditation class was the tingly feeling. Yes, a tingly feeling. I’ve had shivers up my spine during a yoga flow and felt an almost tangible calmness rush over me during Savasana, but I never had experienced this sensation before. On its website, Chorus attributes this sensation (which is very normal) to the increased flow of oxygen into your body.
Why does “meditation, kinda” work?
At the end of my 10-minute class, I felt more alert, awake, centered—and massively confused. How did this rhythm-based class work when other quiet meditations failed? By focusing on words and music, Chorus claims practitioners are better able to ease into a meditative state—rather than forcing their brain to get there. Those sharp inhales and exhales? They cause oxygen to move through your body in a way that Chorus says increases your energy and brain capacity. So, if you feel like quiet meditations aren’t for you, give this rhythmic class a try. You may be pleasantly surprised (oh, and secretly bopping to Beyoncé along the way).
See also: The 12 Best Meditation Apps of 2021