Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, businesses everywhere have closed their doors, some possibly for good. In the search to find out how the Colorado yoga community was fairing, I spoke to five resilient teachers and studio owners that all pivoted to do their best to continue supporting their students. In this new weekly series, we will highlight these owners and their practices, show a little love for Colorado yogis and try to navigate these unprecedented times together.
We spoke to Gina Caputo, founder of the Colorado School of Yoga and the Yogini On the Loose. She is a world-traveling yoga teacher and teacher educator.
How did coronavirus impact your studio/ practice?
Gina Caputo: Back in mid-March I had my suitcase packed, car loaded and was heading out to the airport when I got word that the first yoga festival of my travel season was cancelling due to COVID-19. From there, it was like dominos and one after the other, festivals, teacher trainings and continuing education workshops evaporated in a matter of weeks. So the impact has been that the work that I love doing, am accustomed to doing at this time of year and was counting on doing to survive financially, all disappeared because of the risks involved in such close-proximity work.
How did you respond and shift in order to ensure your business continues to thrive?
GC: I was able to shift a mid-course Advanced Teacher Training online and found it to be incredibly fruitful. My co-teacher and I rose to the occasion, and we were so proud of how all the students did as well in spite of some early apprehension. We were able to bring those students to the completion of a course they had already invested in to everyone’s satisfaction and even surprise. The other shift has been to create professional, quality, on-demand home practices every week. I have loved being able to be immediately responsive to how people are feeling by producing new home practices that address those feelings and getting it out there within a week’s time. And lastly, I was never big into IGTV and Instastory videos, but I immediately shifted into doing those just about every single day with “It’s A Workable Day In The Neighborhood,” “Stoop Sits” and now the “Daily Dice Reality Riffs” as ways to maintain the threads of connection that started to feel thin with quarantine. I’ve been grateful for the big push out of my comfort zone into different ways of thriving and being of service.
What are you trying to move towards to accommodate an evolving yoga community?
GC: I want to keep my sensitivity and empathy at an all time high right now and keep really watching, listening and feeling what people want and need to feel both supported and empowered to move forward. Not just yoga teachers, but all beings. I’d love to be a trusted resource for people anywhere in the world to feel welcome and seen in their practice right now, including brand new beginners. I want to loosen my grip, or soften my focus on, what has been and put more energy into creativity, possibility and responsiveness to what arises in folks through all this, without framing it in the past.
How do you see your company changing going forward?
GC: I’m self-witnessing so much more creativity and authenticity with more space in my head and my days. I will not be rushing back in to fill that up for fear of “not making it” or becoming “obsolete.” I don’t want to squander the opportunity The Shift (as I call it) has given me. I know I will be continuing my home practice creation on my new platform and expanding that into courses and continuing education, too. And after being “forced” to try it, I am now more confident than ever that the quality of live online education can be every bit as potent as real life. It’s not for every teacher, and it’s not for every student, but now that I’ve been through the experience, I see that it is not only possible, but for some, more supportive of their learning to be at home with space to digest and process. So, I’m looking to continue teacher trainings in a live online format and am requesting that Yoga Alliance, like many accredited universities worldwide, will shift into supporting this format equally to live in-person.
To see what else Gina is up to, find links to her online home practices and sign up for her weekly newsletter, visit ginacaputo.com. You can also follow her on social media at @yoginiontheloose.