File Photo.

Yoga studio doors remain closed in Sylvan Lake

Allowed to re-open in Phase 2 Balance Studios and Shift Yoga have decided to keep their doors shut

The doors on Sylvan Lake’s yoga studios will remain closed despite being able to open in Phase 2 of the government’s relaunch plan.

Shift Yoga and Balance Studios have closed their doors of the businesses amongst the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic had for businesses.

Jennifer Belanger, sales manager at Cobb’s Block, says the pandemic was the last nail in the coffin for Balance Studios.

“A lot of businesses were struggling before this just with the oil and the economy in the last however many years and then COVID-19 hit and just made it harder,” said Belanger.

She explained before the pandemic hit the studio was looking for new ownership, with the ideal scenario being a co-op with several different teachers and experts all using the space.

The space, which was built as a multi-functional facility, could house classes for dance, meditation and taekwondo in addition to yoga to fill the day’s schedule.

Belanger says this solution is still something Cobb’s Block is searching for as they look to be able to re-open the studio in the future.

“Yoga definitely isn’t going out of style and Sylvan Lake is very much a yoga community,” Belanger added.

When the studio first closed memberships were closed out through online classes, which she says, is common within the industry right now.

Shift Yoga also made the switch to online classes the day after the government made them close their doors on March 17.

Nikki Schafers, co-owner at Shift Yoga, says the pandemic was the starting point of the closure, but they continued to move forward with the online platform.

“We tried to not put our attention on what was happening, but rather where can we go with what’s happening, how can we continue to be a service for our students,” said Schafers.

“We had to take action in someway, we couldn’t just wait to see what happens,” she added about the decision to close the studio’s doors.

The virtual studio is being run with a full schedule with instructors from all over western Canada, as well as guest spots from across the country and as far as Kenya.

Co-owner Erin Payne says the switch has been a “positive direction” by giving everyone access to the studio.

“There’s people who live further out of town who couldn’t always get into the studio and so we’ve got great feedback from them that they are really enjoying the online space,” said Payne.

Parents who also struggle with finding childcare to attend classes are providing positive feedback as they can participate with their children at home.

Schafers says they were able to drop their prices significantly and include a “household” price without having the commercial space.

“We know that there’s a lot of people who have been affected by COVID-19 and they might not be in the greatest financial position so … there’s a lot of opportunity for them to still get the benefits of yoga,” she explained.

She says she sees it being a “long time” before yoga gets back to what it was and the human connection humans crave is still somewhat missing.

“I do miss being in a physical space with lots of people and this is the next best thing,” said Schafers.

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