By Rex Stromness
On March 19 of this year, everything about the world and our business at the Yoga Center of Chico changed. We were first encouraged by Governor Newsom to shelter in place and eventually to close our doors until he deemed it safe to re-open. While some businesses remained immune to the global pandemic that we are experiencing, yoga studios all over the country have been greatly affected and many were forced out of business. Traditionally, yoga is done in a studio in fairly close quarters with deep steady breathing and sometimes with great physical effort — exactly the opposite of what we are encouraged to do during the pandemic.
Because of this, studios that have survived have had to shift to an entirely new paradigm in offering classes. Specifically, switching to on-line classes has been what has saved many studios including the Yoga Center of Chico. It has turned out to be a way to present live classes to an unlimited number of students who are in the comfort and safety of their homes or even yards.
It has also forced us to examine how to move forward into the future even after the pandemic has passed. While nothing can take the place of a live in-studio yoga class where the instructor has the ability to observe and adjust students verbally and manually with permission, we are clear that part of our schedule moving forward will include on-line and outdoor classes. For us as instructors, it has been an adjustment to be in our studio, in front of a lap-top computer presenting a class to students all over the city, county and even the state. There isn’t the direct observation of the students and the beautiful sense of community before and after classes that we all sorely miss. But there are some advantages such as being solely focused on teaching specific asanas and other practices directly without having to be concerned and distracted by students needing assistance. And, as stated, it has enabled students to continue practicing with their teachers at home during this unusual, unprecedented time. We have to look for positives.
While no one can predict how this situation we are in will unfold, we do know that practices such as yoga, meditation, kirtan and mindfulness are vitally important to many. We plan on staying open, offering in-studio classes with limited numbers and proper spacing, and doing our best to continue providing yoga in the best way possible.