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Yoga on Main giving people at home a way to continue classes

ONLINE — Susan Kurty, owner of Yoga on Main in Wintersville, teaches a yoga class remotely from Florida through the online video communication platform Zoom. Kurty is teaching classes remotely for free during shutdowns due to the spread of COVID-19. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — With much of the nation shut down and people being asked to stay home due to the spread of the coronavirus, Susan Kurty wanted to make sure people in the area could still have access to the benefits of yoga.

Kurty, who owns Yoga on Main in Wintersville, is hosting classes online through the video communication platform Zoom. People can participate in the classes from home through a computer, iPad or similar device to view the class.

Yoga on Main has more than 300 students and was created to fill what Kurty saw as a void in the area. Now, with people at home and out of work, the connection with the students is as important as ever.

“Our area really didn’t have a whole lot when it came to yoga,” Kurty said, noting the studio opened about a year ago. “When I opened, I really wanted to grow the yoga community — and we have. We have ended up becoming kind of a family. When this whole thing happened with the coronavirus, everybody was shook and everybody is still shook.

“So, my thought process was to try to keep it as normal as possible while (students) are stuck at home. Keeping up with their practice is not only good for their bodies, but also their minds, which need it desperately right now.”

While other studios doing similar classes are charging, Kurty has elected to to make hers free since several of her students find themselves out of work because of government orders closing non-essential businesses due to COVID-19.

“I know my clientele, I know my students, and a lot of them don’t have a job right now,” Kurty said. “They are in service industries, whether it be retail or restaurants or bars. People don’t have that expendable income that they have normally to pay for classes.

“I want to practice, and if I’m going to practice, why not practice with the people I care about?”

While many are going through a hard time, Kurty’s connection to yoga came from her own difficult time in the past. Now, she’s hoping it can help others like it helped her.

“I found yoga through a severe injury from a four-wheeler accident,” she explained. “Mine was, at the start, a physical need, but it definitely became a need for my brain as well. Pain will play with you and you need an escape from pain in order to process. It touched me in both ways.

“Right now, the most important thing people can get from the yoga is breathing, relaxing, trying to move past and move through what’s going on and maybe growing a little bit. It think that, if nothing else, it gets people’s minds off of things.

“It’s something to look forward to. It is a scheduled class. (Students) are thinking about it and excited about it. It breaks up the monotony that exists if you just stay at home.”

The online classes began this week. Monday’s session had 42 participants, which Kurty said is on par with the regular attendance of a typical in-person classes.

“It’s been really great,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of feedback. (Students) are saying it’s bringing life back to a little bit of it’s normalcy, which is really what we wanted to do. When you come to yoga three to five times a week, and it keeps you sane, for lack of a better term, to have that disappear along with everything else that you’re used to in life is a lot.

“It’s men and women both. I have doctors and teachers.”

Kurty hopes that with people staying at home in isolation and looking for something to do, the local yoga community can grow and be introduced to even more people — which she said is already beginning to happen.

“It already has been (bringing new people in),” Kurty said. “I have had several people reach out to me that don’t know me, had not known the studio, and just really wanted to know how to get in because they need this in their life. I think that is an awesome thing.

“Moving forward, when we survive this thing, I think it will even make our yoga community larger and stronger.”

Kurty was in Florida when the pandemic began creating problems and has been teaching remotely from there. She will return to the area this weekend and continue teaching from her home.

Kurty is hosting a morning session at 9:30 a.m. and an evening session at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays through at least May 4.

One of the studio’s other instructors will begin hosting classes in the near future, and Kurty expects things to continue to grow in the coming weeks.

Those interested in the classes can visit www.goyogaonmain.com to for information on how to contact Kurty.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)

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