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Yoga classes go online in Smithers

Yoga Cowgirl and Full Circle Yoga offer live video sessions
Greg Gourlay participates in Yoga Gowgirl’s inaugural online class March 20 from Cochrane, Alta. (Contributed photo)

In times of stress and anxiety, common advice is to breathe deeply, relax and get some exercise.

One of the best ways to do all three of those things is to take a yoga class. The problem is, due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, all the yoga studios are closed until further notice.

Now, however, at least two of those studios are taking it online.

Naomi Nyuli, who runs Yoga Cowgirl at her Black Horse Ranch near Driftwood Provincial Park kicked off virtual classes Friday morning.

For the experiment, Nyuli downloaded a free version of the video conferencing technology Zoom and offered the class for free on a recently created community support Facebook page.

She said 30 people took her up on the offer and she was very pleased with the result.

READ MORE: Community support group explodes on Facebook

“It was really neat how it all went, it was just a really great way to create a community connection,” she said.

“We were trying, for this class, just to focus on… being OK with where we’re at, being as we are without seeking happiness from external sources.

“We’re in uncertain times and yoga kind of gives us the space to just breathe and open our minds and our hearts and get centred together and learn some tools to help manage stress and anxiety and just to kind of calm down.”

Now, Nyuli is investing in the pro version of Zoom and will be offering classes Tuesdays and Thursdays for a modest fee of $6.30 per class or $21 for four sessions (GST included).

“I want to keep it as cost effective as possible because I know that we all are experiencing economic impact,” she said. “I want it to be very accessible.”

THE LATEST: Keep up with all the local, provincial, national and international pandemic news with our special coronavirus web page

Full Circle Yoga is also getting in on the virtual game and also did a trial run on Friday.

“We’ve been able to move fairly quickly to finding an online platform and software, said owner Phillipa Beck. “We’re using software that integrates with a class management system that we already have been using, so the yoga industry is fairly dialed in to online classes already and we’ve been able to hop on to that.”

She said the trial run went fairly well.

“There were definitely some technical glitches, but everyone did get a practice in and the feedback I got was good,” she said.

Next week, Full Circle will be doing a second trial to work out the technical bugs, as well as, designing a schedule and fee structure. Beck said people who have already purchased passes will be able to use them in some way, but hasn’t worked out the details yet.

“We’re really committed to offering something for people now that everyone’s socially isolating and using technology to connect with people and just provide an alternative to the fear, the angst, the worry,” she said.

“Yoga practice is all about calming down and getting in touch with our better nature, so that’s what we’re promoting.”

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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