Bodhi Tree Guesthouse and Studio, 8950 Lavelle Road, is home to a zen atmosphere and a multitude of different kinds of classes and luxuries. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bodhi Tree and its staff have made accommodations to fit the needs of their customers.
Liz Chamberlain, a certified yoga instructor, has been working with Bodhi Tree since 2008. She has been hosting outdoor yoga classes for safety reasons, but heading into the colder months, she’s working on a new plan.
“I'm feeling like a lot of the people that would have been here outside were just on the Zoom call instead, and so I felt confident that if I make that switch, they'll stick with me into that transition,” Chamberlain said. “So I think that's my plan: it's changing, and I'm just trying to keep my mind open and just do what feels right. But right now it feels like Zoom is the right thing.”
Chamberlain hosts a variety of classes every weekend. Fridays start with morning teacher-assisted self-practice of Ashtanga yoga. Power Flow is on Saturdays through Zoom. Sunday finishes the weekend with a Slow Flow class through Zoom during the day and a Group Meditation Zoom at night.
The classes aren’t the only activities Bodhi Tree puts on every weekend. Chamberlain said there are several other options going on around the studio and through Zoom.
“We've had gym classes, basically since the third week of March, this whole time,” Chamberlain said. “And, in addition to weekly, we have drop-in classes. We do have some yoga classes on the schedule, and there's an option to join the Zoom class for free, which it's exciting for me that that's available because I think a lot of people are experiencing financial distress right now.”
Erin Pfahler, a registered yoga teacher at Bodhi Tree, teaches a Slow Flow class on Fridays through Zoom. Pfahler offered her input on how classes have been affected by COVID-19.
“(It’s) honestly been up and down,” Pfahler said. “I would say right when the pandemic hit, there were a lot more people (who) needed something to do. They went from being at home more and then people who were coming to the studio were like, ‘Well, I definitely want to still practice yoga.’”
Turnout, overall, was hit by COVID-19, but that did not stop Chamberlain, Pfahler and the rest of the Bodhi Tree staff from continuing to provide their classes for their regular attendees and anyone who wanted to join.
"Virtual yoga classes with Erin during the pandemic have been so helpful in continuing my yoga practice, and without them it, would have been very difficult,” Dan Karney, a frequent Bodhi Tree class attendee, said. “Erin is great with verbal cueing, so that makes practice easy to follow even when virtual. Obviously, we would all like to have in-person classes, but that is not feasible at present."
Chamberlain and Pfahler offered words of encouragement for anyone who might be hesitant about trying yoga and anyone who is motivated to check out their Zooms or studio.
“Yoga is a lot of things,” Pfahler said. “It's mind, body and spirit practice, so it's not just about the physical poses.”
The instructors also encourage yogis and newcomers to check out their YouTube channel for more yoga at home.
“I've been telling people that maybe haven't done yoga, at least with me before, or maybe not at all, they can visit our YouTube channel and actually see what the classes are like before participating,” Chamberlain said. “So you can go to the YouTube channel, pick a video and watch some of it and get a feel for what the class will entail before you jump in.”