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How COVID Has Changed Yoga and Fitness

November 30, 2020

In March, the fitness world changed abruptly. With health, wellness, and safety at the forefront of all our minds, fitness centers and gyms closed, yoga studios closed, and it was a new world. What followed was accelerated learning about how we each stay physically distanced without being socially distanced, understanding what ways people want to move and stay mentally balanced. Health and well-being are now more important than ever and the connection between physical health, mental health, and emotional well-being has only been underscored as we go through a roller coaster of lockdowns, work from home, business closings, and so many life changes.

The yoga and fitness world went digital nearly overnight. Many studios have closed permanently, teachers displaced, and in-studio is still limited to 25% capacity in CT. But a newer revolution is emerging. Now we can meet you anywhere, anytime, through an explosion of livestream platforms, video on demand, FB, IG, more private sessions, with more than we ever thought possible. Quite unexpected, we find that the real change is that the industry became about the customer and how to meet you where you are at physically and emotionally. The side benefit is that location is no longer a barrier.

Essentials that people sought out through yoga and fitness still remain unchanged with the presence of COVID, and in fact have only become more necessary to maintain a healthy and mindful lifestyle. In surveyed about the effects of yoga on emotional well-being, 86% report a reduction in stress as well as improved sense of mental wellness and clarity, 77% report being physically stronger, 80% of practitioners with prior back-pain report significant relief of symptoms.

Over half of people engaged in regular fitness already worked out or practiced some form of on-line fitness at home, so this trend already in motion has now grown to draw in a digital revolution that has spread to local studios. Data across the industry shows while total numbers are down, studio loyalty is up, with smaller classes and nearly all active boutique studios livestream to your home with the local instructors that you already know.

An industry of phenomenal teachers for yoga and fitness is acquiring new skills and exploring new ways to engage through these digital platforms. With a totally new customer experience, the full digital service built on the studio environment in ways that are likely here to stay:

  • Hybrid classes offer both in-person or livestream provide the ultimate flexibility to meet you where you are at.
  • On-demand content gives clients access to that favorite class and teacher and focused instructional content with local instructors that you know and that are immediately accessible.
  • Private sessions are offered person-to-person to anywhere in the world, quite literally. Form corrections can be observed through a well-placed camera to the trained eye, and teachers tap into your own awareness of the body when the teacher asks “how did that feel now?”

The new growth of options provides a beautiful combination of familiar instructors, local community, and the convenience and diversity of digital offerings. So, if you are deciding best ways to stay active this winter, here are some pro-tips to engage with a local studio digital experience.

  1. Turn on your video in group classes, even if to say hi, or a special request; while the instructor can give you shout-outs or spot helpful suggestions during a class. The real benefit we see is the inspiration and smiles that other people receive knowing they have company.
  2. Stream to your TV (e.g. chrome cast, Apple TV, firestick), along with any type of wireless ear-buds you will find can enhance your experience greatly.
  3. Use a dedicated “space” for familiarity and you will find the routine gets much easier to maintain. Blankets in a yoga session, soup-cans or water bottles for weights work well for body-weight toning sessions with some light resistance.
  4. We have seen many families enjoying a chance to work out together with yoga, dance, and just get the kids moving with you, trying new things.

If you are looking for a studio home physically or virtually, at Hartford Sweat we have deployed a full-service digital offering for yoga, barre, Zumba, HIIT, and many more options to complement the in-studio experience with Hot Yoga. With high quality sound and video equipment, teachers livestream anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. If you are a business looking to provide support to your employees, we also have business packages available to support corporate wellness in the uncertain time of work-from-home and a new era in work-life-balance.

Submitted by Tory Brogan, owner of Hartford Sweat Yoga & Fitness, located at 777 Main Street, Downtown Hartford. Do you have questions regarding yoga and fitness for your own health journey? Would you like further information about article references, or to explore related ideas, please contact Tory Brogan at: tory@hartfordsweat.net.

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