By Sulz, Dave on April 2, 2020.
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the kibosh on group activities, exercise classes are among the cancellation casualties.
But the Canadian Yoga Institute has found a way around the problem by taking the classes to the people – via cyberspace.
The institute recently started video streaming yoga classes to its current students – “anyone attending since January,” says Lyndsey Brees, general manager of the Canadian Yoga Institute in Lethbridge.
The centre is looking at expanding the service this month to anyone interested in taking the online classes, once it works out the logistics of how to obtain signed waivers from those who participate.
Making the classes available online involves a lot of technical aspects that are “not in my wheelhouse,” said Brees. Fortunately, the husband of one of the institute’s instructors is skilled in the technology involved and has helped in getting the service operational.
There’s also a lot of work involved in trying to provide the centre’s full range of classes, which includes pre-natal and therapy classes.
“There’s lots of different types of classes,” said Brees, noting that, at the time of the interview, they were preparing the pre-natal class.
Providing classes online is a challenge, she added, because you can’t see the class participants. The other side of the coin is that it offers a new way to reach out to people with the institute’s services.
“Who knew we would ever have to go through this?” Brees said. “It’s turned out to be an amazing opportunity for our students, something we’ll be able to offer in the future. It’s definitely opening new possibilities.”
Brees is grateful the technology exists to be able to offer classes online.
“I couldn’t imagine if this happened even five years ago.”
Another challenge the pandemic has posed for the institute, which is a non-profit charity, is that, with its doors closed to the public during this period, donation revenue from class participants isn’t coming in.
“As a non-profit, this is really hard for us,” said Brees, adding the centre is planning an online appeal for funds.
Fortunately, she noted, “a lot of our regular students have been super generous and have given money to continue to run the centre. We still have to pay our rent, even though it’s super minimal.”
The institute’s retail boutique, the Good Karma Yoga Boutique, is still open, operating by appointment or phone orders, Brees said. Contactless curbside pickup is available. The boutique can be reached by calling 403-320-8036.
For more information about the institute, go online to canadianyogainstitute.com or phone 403-394-9642(YOGA).