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 first spoke to Julia Clarke, founder and teacher of Mountain Soul Yoga, YOGA + Life contributor and author of Restorative Yoga for Beginners: Gentle Poses for Relaxation and Healing.
How did coronavirus impact your studio/practice?
Julia Clarke: Vail was a very big hotspot when coronavirus first broke out. We had a very high number of cases in early March and, as a result, everything began to shut down pretty drastically. We closed our doors on March 13 and then moved classes online the very next day.
How did you respond and shift in order to ensure your business continues to thrive?
JC: Our main goal was to be able to provide daily yoga classes for our members and students, so we could maintain a sense of continuity. We started with offering one class a day via Zoom, but then our organizing software developed video capabilities, so we switched over to using that. Vail has gone quite some time without any cases and things are starting to open back up, so about three weeks ago we reopened the studio to offer classes in person. We’re working on having more than one a day, but this has been working for us so far. We offer about 10 classes a week; a great thing about them is that they’re all live streamed, so if people aren’t comfortable coming into the studio yet, they still have access to the class.
What are you trying to move towards to accommodate an evolving yoga community?
JC: We have to be constantly pivoting when things change. We’ve implemented virtual pricing for people that don’t feel comfortable coming into the studio yet, or would rather just practice from home. The livestreams have been really helpful for a lot of people. We have a member that’s from Chicago who visits often. Now they can participate every day from home. Each class, we usually have some one from each time zone. It’s really fun and pretty cool to see the community come together like that.
How do you see your company changing going forward?
JC: This has really provided us an opportunity to start over. I’m grateful for the ability to scale everything back and slowly rebuild. Things have been put into perspective, and what was important to us before, isn’t as big of a focus now. We’re not trying to return to how we used to be, but instead shift our priorities. Before all this the market was saturated with yoga studios. Now it’s hard to tell which ones will be left, or if we will be a part of the group that reopens its doors. With potentially fewer studios and smaller classes sizes for the unforeseeable future, I hope we can collectively elevate the value of yoga within our communities, because I believe we’re playing an important role.
Look for weekly updates about classes on mountainsoulyoga.com.