A local yoga studio continues into its 26th year of service in Morgantown, having adapted to and overcome struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inner Life Yoga Studio has offered its talents to the Morgantown community for well over two decades now, practicing the methods of Iyengar yoga across West Virginia. Iyengar yoga is a version of yoga invented and instructed by B.K.S. Iyengar, beneath which business owners Siegfried Bleher and Kimberly Williams trained in Pune, India.
“Many other studios chose to close their doors,” Williams said. “What we quickly learned — what I learned — was to offer yoga classes online.”
The studio, located at 1137 Van Voorhis Road, also offers training services for yoga instructors across the state, hoping to further the teachings of Iyengar yoga and spread it to a new generation of yoga enthusiasts.
Like countless other businesses across the country, Inner Life was forced to change itself in order to cope with the unique pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inner Life’s current weekly schedule now offers classes both in-person, online and lessons that mix both, instructing small groups in-person with the rest participating through Zoom. Though these methods have helped Inner Life keep its doors open, they have also presented their own range of challenges.
“When you have people going through a lesson at home, they don’t have access to the stuff they’d normally have,” Williams said. “Most people don’t have professional yoga equipment, and you’re missing out on the hands-on aspect of personal instruction.”
The situation is equally difficult for the instructors, who are unable to help and personally assist online attendees. Likewise, instructors now have to divide their attention between the Zoom call and their in-person students, doubling the effort it takes to ensure everything is going smooth and safe.
Whenever individuals do come to in-person classes now, the studio requires that they bring as much of their own equipment as possible and are run through a brief screening of questions and having their temperature taken before the lesson begins. Likewise, routine hygiene is required.
Another change to Inner Life was the introduction of new blood and new ideas to their group of instructors. Traditionally, Inner Life has consisted of a core of veteran yoga instructors that singularly practice Iyengar yoga.
“We had to reevaluate our situation,” Williams said. “What we decided to do, after many years of teaching one style, to broaden our horizons to other forms of yoga. We also wanted to open our doors to a new, younger generation.”
Recently, the studio has widened its pool of classes to include other yoga disciplines and has brought on new student-instructors. These instructors include Cassidy Wetz and Briana D’Alessandro, both of whom are current students of West Virginia University.
“I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me,” Wetz said. “It’s been a great experience being able to teach for them while also learning and gaining new experience. They’ve really helped give me a new perspective on things.”
Inner Life offers a sweeping array of different classes each week, usually with multiple sessions happening each day. These sessions cover all levels of experience and a variety of different techniques.
Individuals interested in the studio and its lessons can find more information by visiting its website.