Yoga East Healting Arts Studio adjusts for ‘optimal’ class experience during pandemic

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Yoga instructor Maggie Salem, center, and students Sira McNeil, left, and Susan Dirnberger practice breathing exercises during the Hathaway Flow class Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau.

Brooke Holford ~ Southeast Missourian

Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau has been increasing efforts to promote “physical, mental and spiritual health” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Sue Nesler said Yoga East is offering all regular classes through Zoom, the online video-conferencing platform, and has adjusted the studio to make it safe for students.

After the pandemic hit, Nesler said the studio wanted to provide a virtual option because they wanted to meet the needs of all of the students, and some may not feel comfortable coming into the studio.

Yoga East still wanted to provide a group experience, Nesler said, and help members of the community get connected.

“I think we are losing connection as human beings right now because of COVID, so the more we can stay connected and have those connections that are real life — in real time, and not on social media — the better,” Nesler said.

Sira McNeil smiles and rests during the Hathaway Flow class Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau.

Brooke Holford ~ Southeast Missourian

Nesler said this time is also a good opportunity for somebody who is interested in yoga to begin in the comfort of their own home, with a qualified teacher.

“[Yoga] is really about relationships — whether people have been a member of this community for a long time, or are considering trying yoga — the relationship the student builds with the instructor, and the relationships students in the classes build,” Nesler said. “It’s a group experience, and you can still have that in the comfort of your own home.”

Nesler said while the community connection is an important part of the class, yoga can also contribute to physical, mental and spiritual health, which is more important than ever during the pandemic. In fact, Nesler said breathing exercises done through yoga can impact inflammation levels, and how the body responds to certain toxins.

“I hope these classes help students gain, or regain, a sense of the present moment, and a sense of connection to their body, and to their mind, as well as any spiritual connection that they resonate with, because that just helps us become more of who we already are, Nesler said.

The studio, located at 827 Broadway, has undergone changes to negate any issues in the building, Nesler said, including: a plastic shield at the front desk, mask requirements until students get to their mats and an air scrubbing machine in the studio that cleans the air 12 times an hour. There are also limits on how many people may enroll in an in-person class in order to follow social-distancing guidelines.

Yoga instructor Maggie Salem demonstrates a pose for Susan Dirnberger during the Hathaway Flow class Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau.

Brooke Holford ~ Southeast Missourian

Nesler said Yoga East is trying to “hit home” on all aspects of human need, whether it’s virtual or in the studio — they want to provide the most optimal experience for students.

It takes more than offering virtual classes to provide the best experience, Nesler said. She looks at feedback from students on camera angles, background music and sounds, and lighting, among other things.

“We got that feedback because we wanted to figure out how to give the students the best possible experience, and make sure that it was consistent,” Nesler said. “Looking at how we can improve so we can give them the most optimal experience has been a really big deal for us.”

Nesler said the price to attend an online class is the same as in-person classes, and almost all of the regular class sessions are offered through Zoom.

To inquire about classes at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau, call (573) 388-7272 or visit www.yogaeasthealingarts.com.

Yoga instructor Maggie Salem demonstrates a pose while student Sira McNeil mirrors her move during the Hathaway Flow class Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio in Cape Girardeau.

Brooke Holford ~ Southeast Missourian



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