FARGO — In these days of stress overload concerning the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are eager to embrace anything that might help ease their anxiety. Enter something called “cocoon meditation,” a way to suspend reality (and yourself) for a few minutes to take it all away.

I wanted to find out what the craze is all about. It took absolutely no arm-twisting to convince my colleague, Emma Vatnsdal, to join me. (I appreciate that woman’s “can-do” attitude, whether it’s convincing her to taste test dill pickle cupcakes, do goat yoga or now, do cocoon meditation.)

Our latest adventure takes us to Fit Elements in south Fargo, where director and hypnotherapist Saree Reveling walks us through how cocoon meditation works.

“With cocooning you’re basically suspended in (aerial yoga) silks in midair,” Reveling said. “The antigravity sensation helps bring you into that state of calm.”

Reveling says her first sessions of cocoon meditation have been popular. She says mediation is particularly powerful now, as a lot of us are struggling with anxiety.

“It really helps us get back into our body and really gets us connected to our own inner truth. When we calm the mind, we activate dopamine and serotonin and also decrease our cortisol levels. So it's great for our immune system as well,” she said.

Reveling says to ease anxiety over COVID-19, the gym is observing social distancing and is vigilant about sanitizing and washing surfaces, including the silks. She says people are welcome to wear masks in the silks if they wish.

Climbing into the silk was relatively easy and right away it felt good to suspend in mid-air. The lights went off, and the soothing music started playing. Reveling’s calm voice talked us through letting go.

Fit Elements club director, Saree Reveling, demonstrates cocoon meditation for Forum reporters Emma Vatnsdal and Tracy Briggs. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Fit Elements club director, Saree Reveling, demonstrates cocoon meditation for Forum reporters Emma Vatnsdal and Tracy Briggs. Chris Flynn / The Forum

I did find my mind wandering a bit. I heard a dog bark and a siren going by outside. But within a few minutes, I found myself able to ignore anything I heard, except Reveling's voice. She says you get better at meditating every time you do it.

“It's just like when you go and you do personal training or you're working out. It takes time to build that muscle. It also takes time to build the mind muscle. So meditation is really a practice that you develop over time and improve each time you do it,” she said.

I found cocoon meditation most effective and soothing when I was able to sway the silk back and forth a little bit, like a baby rocking in the treetops. I moved around a lot, too, as I found the pressure of the silks like a massage on my sore neck muscles. I almost felt like I was doing it wrong, as I peeked over and saw Emma’s silk completely still. She told us after class she fell asleep.

Reveling says there is no wrong way to experience cocooning. She says it’s about slowing down, drowning out the world and learning how to listen to yourself.

Saree Reveling is the club director at Fit Elements in Fargo and is a certified hypnotherapist with the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, and a Reiki master teacher. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Saree Reveling is the club director at Fit Elements in Fargo and is a certified hypnotherapist with the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, and a Reiki master teacher. Chris Flynn / The Forum

“Right now, there's just so much outside noise, and sometimes it's difficult to navigate ‘What is my truth?’ Yeah, I hear this person's truth on social media, and I hear this person's truth, but what is my truth? So when we can get slowed down and get centered into our mind and our body, we can hear that inner voice that's always speaking to us.”

Reveling says learning how to listen to your inner voice can give you insights into your own life and help you feel less triggered and defensive about what other people are doing. Imagine how that might change social media forever.

All in all, Emma and I both enjoyed the cocooning sessions. And while neither one of us emerged a beautiful butterfly, we might have emerged a little more at peace.

For more information about cocoon meditation, call Fit Elements at 701-356-5200