If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.
I'm talking to wellness professionals to learn how COVID-19 has impacted their lives, as well as how they're adjusting how they teach to make quarantine a little healthier for all of us. Today, I chatted with Joanna Cohen, a certified yoga instructor in New York City.
What do you teach?
I teach vinyasa yoga at Y7, primarily. I've been teaching for four years.
Why did you start teaching?
I started teaching because, at the time, it felt like there was nothing else in the world I could do that would hold me to being the best version of me. Sharing yoga — which is essentially helping people understand themselves better and have a stronger connection to themselves and the world around them — seemed like the most purposeful way to spend my time.
What do you love most about teaching?
The connection to my students. There is something about what happens through yoga that forges extreme trust and deep bonds between teachers and students, and this is absolutely my favorite part of being a yoga teacher.
What is the current state of your studio.
All Y7 studios are closed until further notice.
What virtual classes are you offering? How can people find those classes?
I'm teaching IG Live classes! People can follow me and access them on my page @joannagcohen. I'm also sharing some tidbits about the philosophy of yoga and how it can help us right now — all of that is available on Instagram!
What is your biggest takeaway regarding COVID-19?
The specifics of this situation has caused me to change my thinking process drastically. When I think about going outside, for example, the question in my head isn't just "what will I get from this?" but "will this affect others negatively?" The same thought crosses my mind with so many considerations now — do I really need this item right now, or does someone else need it more? Do I need to collect this money, or would it serve someone else better? Things like that.
So my biggest takeaway is: Why isn't this always my thought process, and can I (we) take this type of community-focused thinking into the future beyond COVID-19.
What long-term affects do you see COVID-19 having on the wellness industry?
I think it is going to take a long time for this industry to bounce back. We were making great strides in developing it to be a stable career path (with benefits, healthcare, etc.) for so many wellness professionals, but the financial hit studios and companies have taken will drastically impact that progress.
What is one thing you want the world to know about the wellness industry, especially in light of COVID-19?
If we don't have our health we don't have anything — so keep investing in your personal physical and mental wellbeing. So many of your favorite instructors are out there to help. Reach out to them!
If you are a wellness professional interested in sharing your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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