Well this has been a long and complicated path to getting here for us, as we recognize that yoga is an intimate subject to study, and that there is no real substitute for the one-on-one experience of being in a class with a teacher in which a connection is formed and maintained over a long period of time. Where teachers help students track their progress, give advice and helpful practices to work with, and in general support the student as they grow and transform in the company of the practices, themselves, and other students. We were curious about the process and transmission of yoga, however, and the potential for the sharing of the practices through a new medium. So we asked ourselves some soul-searching questions: Is it possible to bring integrity to the process of online yoga classes? Is it possible to bring the intimacy, personal connection and teaching through to you wherever you are with the highest intent to serve and help? Can our teachers, who thrive in the classroom setting teaching and connecting with actual live human students (not models or paid students, and not just us by ourselves with a mic doing yoga and you following along at home) really bring you into the room, as though you were at a real, live class and not on a sound stage somewhere?
We decided the answer was yes. But how would we do it?
If it is possible to keep the connection and relationship held in the highest integrity, we'll try our best. And while perfection is not what we are striving for here--please note the absence of hair/makeup, and no fancy clip-on microphones, no staged lighting or prearranged students in the room, no super high-tech zoom shots and cutaway editing, no fancy yoga pants, oftentimes no music so you can use your own, no editing out of our teaching gaffes or mistakes or oops! occasional profanity or things that didn't go over well, no moving the camera when someone got in the way of the demo, in other words NO PERFECTION--what we are striving for is an authentic experience of being in a classroom as though you are a student here, with all the incredible humanity that accompanies that experience.
But Why? Isn't having the studio space itself enough?
We believe in accessibility, and know that even a single studio class can be cost-prohibitive to many students. Even with our best efforts and intentions, most bricks-and-mortar yoga studios, including ours, simply cannot offer a low-enough in-person price for a lot of folks to be able to come practice yoga regularly. We do not want yoga to be simply a practice for the privileged, and wish to offer the highly skilled, compassionate and detailed instruction that you have come to expect from The Bhaktishop to anyone, inside our warm and beautiful space, right wherever you are.
We wish to stay in touch with our many, many students that no longer live in Portland that miss the special beauty of practicing here, with teachers they love, with a practice in which they feel safe and cared for, so that we may continue to maintain the connections we have deeply forged. Also for the many visitors, family members, and friends that have taken class here and been touched by the skill, experience and wisdom and have told us, “There is no place like this where I live, I wish I lived closer.” This is our love letter for all of you.
We are also here for you as a resource for when you travel, get held up at home with a sick kid or no childcare, or on the days when you get stuck behind the train and just miss class starting, or when you wish SO badly to be able to take that exact class again, just to hear the chanting or do that hip-opening sequence again.
What will it be like in these classes?
We hope that you will feel included, like you are there in the classroom, maybe with a teacher that still has bed-head, maybe in a class with few (or no) students visible in front row or frame to watch, or with someone standing squarely in the camera frame for a moment, or a visible student that isn't perfect or even practicing at the same level as what is being taught, or occasional sound difficulties like sirens and idling engines outside (just like at your house!) or lighting changes with the seasons or when we dim the lights at the end of class or tape classes in the early mornings, or teachers teaching from out of frame so you just hear their voice and don't always see the lesson or hear the question, or people accidentally wearing their pants inside-out, or all the ways in which real, authentic, unscripted, messy yoga practice is just perfectly, humanly, imperfect. We hope that you will forgive us for not spending tons of money on making it perfect, but rather appreciate us and extend to us your good faith for striving to make it REAL. We are working on improvements every day, but the raw, real, sometimes unpredictable life of small studio yoga comes alive in these classes, just like at your house. Only without the cat. Or the phone. Or dinner to make. Or maybe with all of that stuff. Because yoga is truly everywhere. And because practicing is good.
Who are we to think we can just up and teach yoga online?
We are not famous, nor do any of us strive to be. We're just regular, sweatpants-wearing neighborhood yoga teachers and committed students that wish to bring you the very best we have to offer at a price you can handle and at your convenience. We strive for honesty, clarity, healthy balance and sustainability in practice, and hope to offer for you these tools as we have come to know them and love them. We aim to be a resource for you on all levels with our growing library of fly-on-the-wall live classes, personalized tutorials and how-to clips, mini-anatomy lessons, personal practice windows, multiple styles and voices, tons of level-appropriate classes and class lengths to choose from, teacher training workshops, and more.
Our goal here is to help you create connection to self and source from wherever you might be. We are all evolving, emerging and growing, and we do hope that you will join us on the imperfect journey of yoga, whether it is stretching, balancing, chanting or meditating together. Yoga is about relationships, and we hope to cultivate (or continue!) a relationship with you, too.
We heartily welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any of these; we'd love to hear from you about what is working, what you wish for more of, and how we can continue to be of service to you no matter where you are. Join us, won’t you?
Click here to see the site and browse all the free clips and classes and mini-sequences that we have posted so far, in addition to the 50+ full length classes and workshops that we have up and running for you! For just $15/mo you can have access to Monthly Unlimited Classes online, with 8-10 new classes or more being added every month. Or you can just get single classes for $3 each as you need them, plus bundles of workshops and trainings for teachers!
Here's a little preview of what we are up to:
Lots more to come, and we can't wait to hear from you.
Yours in service,
Lisa Mae and The Bhaktishop Family