Yoga teaches patience, acceptance and mindfulness, but Savanna and Joshua Flowers had little time for contemplation about how to keep their yoga studio afloat when shutdowns began in March.
“Pretty much immediately, I had to pivot to set up a full online studio,” said Savanna Flowers, who owns Blooming Flowers Yoga with her husband.
Since the studio closed in March, she and her husband have been leading virtual classes which their members can watch via Namastream, an online video streaming platform for yoga instructors. They’re also making their instruction available via private class.
Sandy Connery, a co-founder of Namastream, said the platform’s business grew 1,100% when COVID-19 hit in March.
Although gyms were allowed to reopen Monday at 25% capacity, Flowers said she’s holding off on resuming in-person classes until more is known about the spread of COVID-19.
“We are believers that patience is a virtue,” Flowers said. “The consensus with our members is they’re not ready to come back anyway. Most are still quarantining and in self-isolation. Many are at risk.”
Even when classes someday resume, Flowers said the virtual component that she’s established during the shutdown won’t go away.
“This pandemic forced me into doing something I’ve always wanted to do anyway. It kind of nudged me into growth,” she said. “When we finally do open the studio, the online component will be a big part of the membership basis.”
Like Blooming Flowers, YMCA of the Golden Crescent also began to offer virtual classes in response to the COVID-19 shutdown, said Aubrey McWilliams, the gym’s marketing director.
“We haven’t ever done virtual classes before,” she said. “Now that people enjoyed them, and we kind of got the hang of how to do them, we’re working through the options of how to do them.”
McWilliams said the virtual classes will continue as the gym operates with limited capacity. As to whether or not they will be a permanent feature, she said she’s exploring options for streaming platforms and how to incorporate virtual classes into the YMCA’s membership options.
Flowers said the online platform not only allows her to offer tiered membership levels to her students, but also expands the market for her classes. Now, she said, students who won’t wake up for a 5:30 a.m. class can have it accessible at the click of a link. Her studio has also had a handful of students sign up for virtual classes from outside the Victoria area.
From a more personal standpoint, Flowers said recording her classes will serve as virtual diary of her yoga practice.
“Recently, I became a licensed massage therapist. It has changed my teaching in profound ways,” she said.
She said she’s excited to see how her teaching will change in the next few years as she practices her new skills and applies them to classes.