Since temporarily closing the doors of Frenchtown’s Yoga Loka on March 15, founder and certified yoga therapist Bonnie Pariser has been streaming online yoga, meditation and relaxation sessions for individuals who may be desiring an outlet to relieve high levels stress or anxiety brought upon by the pandemic.
Videos of online classes are also being offered for free and at reduced prices. “People can just do it on their own, and pay for a drop-in class as they feel they’re able to afford,” Pariser explained. “People are having economic difficulties, and not having a job should not keep you from practicing yoga.”
“It is about your dedication to the practice,” Pariser said. “In our industrialized society, there’s always a price fixed to something, but the original way of paying for your teachers’ instructions in ancient times was … to support the teacher in some way — whether you’re cooking for them or making clothes for them. And I’m trying to have people to go back to that way of understanding how to support a teacher, which is by supporting the practices that they’ve offered to people.”
Participants can continue to book online classes in blocks ranging from four classes to month-long passes at prices varying from $66 to $320, or register for newly added classes for free or at reduced “drop-in” rates that vary between $5 and $20.
She added that she believes it is “more important than ever” for individuals to have ready access to yoga, meditation, and relaxation classes. “Not just for everybody’s mental health and their exercise, but also it just gives a very different perspective on things,” Pariser said.
The virtual classes, which are 60 to 90 minutes in length and are typically have five to 20 participants, have been a “very positive experience,” Pariser added.
“People are just happy that they can continue their yoga practice. I’ve had some people who have come three or four times a week for class, and not being able to do that would make a significant impact on their mental and physical health,” Pariser said.
“And people have said it’s actually a lot less stress to be able to do the class at home, because you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing, you can’t look at what the other people are doing, you can play your own music, you can show up in your pajamas … And everybody’s pets are with them, too!”
Looking forward, Pariser expressed optimism that she and those attending her classes can and will continue to support those impacted by the coronavirus for the foreseeable future.
“I know we’ll be able to continue at least until the doors open again, and beyond. I feel confident that everything will hold steady,” Pariser said.