Angela Houghton

Moab Yoga instructors have moved their practices online in order to respect physical distancing. [courtesy photo]

Angela Houghton knows nothing compares to a real live human being across from you, responding to you and guiding your yoga practice.

Still, as the owner of Moab Yoga, she’s been pleasantly surprised by how transitioning many of the studio’s yoga classes online has gone.

“My preference is to practice without a computer or video,” said Houghton, “but it is nice to be challenged and learn new things by using online resources.”

Houghton herself has attended virtual classes with instructors in far-off destinations, but she has been surprised by “how much fun” she’s had teaching online.

“When we first closed our doors, we definitely took time to regroup,” said Houghton. She spoke to all of the teachers to see what they were comfortable offering and to students to see if there was a desire to continue classes in this new format.

After a time, Houghton began offering informal online classes to family and dedicated students and received such a positive response that she felt confident making the transition online.

“It’s such an awesome opportunity to stay connected to a community of people who has supported us for years,” she said.

Not only that, but the online classes are bringing new faces in as well.

“We’re definitely seeing people who have been uncomfortable coming to the studio to practice in that public space are showing up online,” she said, commenting that online practices can help a newcomer get a yoga practice started or a returning student maintain a practice in a stressful time.

“For some people, it’s incredibly helpful to have the structure of a class,” Houghton said.

She said that students have expressed to her the importance of online classes with a specific time and a familiar teacher.

“It's really sweet,” she said, “It's not only a great way to keep in touch, but also to stay active and move our bodies and help manage stress.”

While the response from customers is enthusiastic, Houghton is feeling the financial strain like many small business owners.

“It’s challenging, the studio is suffering in a huge way,” she said.

Houghton keeps a bright, optimistic tone even when discussing those struggles, however.

“I've learned so much just in a short amount of time as a business owner,” she said. In her hours of studying the studio’s financials, she’s made discoveries and realizations about the way the studio has been “spending money for years.”

“It’s a really big deal and I’m grateful to have sort of a fresh start,” she said, noting that whatever happens with local public health orders and other restrictions, her business will emerge from this time looking different than it was before.

The studio’s online classes are still evolving, Houghton said.

“It’s definitely not the schedule it was before,” she said, but noted that she appreciated that each class could be flexible and meet student’s needs.

“Uncertainty abounds for our business along with many others. Our goal is to creatively serve our students during this time,” she said.

“People’s routines are so shaken up now, but that means that, in a way, today is a great day to maintain or start a yoga practice.”

A schedule of classes goes out weekly in the studio’s email newsletter, which can be subscribed to online at www.moabyoga.com.

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