Central Vermont yoga studios grapple with financial stability, safety concerns, and accessibility during the pandemic. At the same time, they offer space to practice and connect, online and in person.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, some local studios have closed, either permanently or temporarily. Some moved to virtual or hybrid platforms. And a few still offer limited-size in-person classes while following safety protocols.
While yogic philosophy stems from ancient Indian traditions, local studios embrace the meditative and physical aspects of yoga to help residents destress and move toward a healthier future. In central Vermont, where the majority of yoga practitioners identify as white, middle-class, able-bodied women, inclusivity, as well as acknowledgement of yogic lineage is an ongoing conversation.
Lindsay Armstrong, owner of Embodied, closed her in-person studio on Main Street, Montpelier during the pandemic. She still operates under the name “Embodied” as a staff of one, teaching virtual classes.
Armstrong says “In a time when we so clearly need it, virtual yoga spaces offer us the opportunity to study and deepen into our practices, to move our bodies and minds, to integrate our experiences more fully, and to nourish our nervous systems and our capacity to hold all that is being asked of us. They offer connection — with community, as well as with our own personal constellations of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and experience, and it continues to be a joy to share in this way!”
On Site Classes
The most recent COVID-19 guidance from the state, released in December 2021, makes no mention of social distancing requirements. But those studio owners who have stayed open maintain mask-wearing, daily cleaning, air filters, ventilation, and smaller classes.
“Sangha is a yoga family, and that is what I think of when I think of the studio and the folks who have been coming regularly,” said Sorsha Anderson, owner of Yoga Lab, on State Street in Montpelier. “This is a place where some of us, I know I do, come to connect with a true sense of community and remind myself of my own humanity and the pieces of ourselves that are bigger than our everyday lives.”
Christine Morris, owner of Rooted Yoga on Main Street in Barre, also offers in-person classes. “Being fully present and mindful in all aspects of our practice, allowing whatever comes up to come up so that we can more fully address these things and integrate these lessons into our lives, is important on and off the mat. These aspects all affect our wellbeing,” Morris said.
Embodied Vermont, Online
Embodied offers virtual Vinyasa Flows and Kripalu classes. Owner Lindsay Armstrong facilitates yoga with a social justice lens as well as weaving ethical principles of ahimsa (non-harm) and satya (truth) into practice. It is the only website with a statement on Black Lives Matter and acknowledgment of unceded Abenaki territory.
“Sharing practice virtually has offered the opportunity to challenge and expand my capacity and intention to hold space in a way that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually respectful and responsible, offering a trauma-informed approach to an ancient and multi-faceted practice of liberation,” said Armstrong.
Hot Yoga, Montpelier
Closed due to the pandemic. According to owner Regina Librizzi, there are currently no plans to re-open.
Lotus Yoga, Barre
Offers virtual continuing education programs for mental health professionals and yoga practitioners; live streaming, on-demand, and in-person classes will be available beginning January 31st
Falls River Yoga, Northfield
“The practice of Vinyasa-based yoga honors the breath and sets the foundation for a dynamic, purpose-driven, and heart-opening flow,” says the River Falls website; it offers in-person vinyasa flows and pranayama (breathing exercise) classes.
Rise+Vibe, Online and Montpelier
Rise+Vibe’s online platform livestreams classes as well as offering a virtual library of workshops and teaching training. In-person teacher training opportunities occur monthly in Montpelier. Chrissy Lefavour also founded Montpelier-based Grateful Yoga, an Ashtanga-inspired studio, which now offers online classes only.
River House Yoga, Plainfield
According to the River House website, “We are gradually adding in-person yoga classes back on the schedule.” River House offers classes online and in-studio. The community studio website recommends checking the schedule for class sign-up.
Rooted Yoga, Barre
Christina Morris: “We teach the full eight limbs in order to honor the roots of yoga so that we can try to establish a decolonized future of the yoga practice, even if we are just a small slice of that.This is important to be mindful of when choosing where and who you choose to practice with if your aim is to honor the roots of the practice.”
Rooted Yoga offers in-person yoga classes, including Yin Yoga, Gentle Flows, meditation, workshops, reiki, shamanic healing, and Ayurvedic body care at the studio. Rooted Yoga is currently developing an online library, which will be available in the near future.
Yoga Lab, Montpelier
According to its website, “Yoga Lab does not offer virtual classes at this time.” It offers in-person classes, such as Vinyasa, Power Hour, and Primary Series Ashtanga.
Owner Sorsha Anderson adds, “Any mindful breathing helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the involuntary response to perceived dangers and stress.”