By Lillian Boyd

With social distancing directives altering how people stay active, local studios and gyms are modifying their classes so that people have the option to exercise from their living room while remaining connected with their instructors.

iHeartYoga, located in Dana Point Harbor, is offering low-cost online yoga classes for those looking for a high-quality home workout. Classes will be offered daily for $8 for non-members, and iHeartYoga members can access any of the class offerings for free.

A schedule of classes can be found at iheartyoga.org/schedule. iHeartYoga’s Facebook and Instagram pages will have the most up-to-date content.

iHeartYoga is one of several health businesses that has modified operations to offer classes online. Photo: Courtesy of iHeartYoga

“On March 18, we made the difficult decision to close our Dana Point Harbor Studio, donation classes in Lantern Bay Park, postpone four Mexico retreats, and cancel numerous local events such as Yoga at the Rooftop Laguna Beach and Bend and Brew at a new surprise location,” said Elsa Stuart, founder of iHeartYoga. “Strong businesses find new and creative ways to reinvent themselves in challenging times, and we gathered as a team and built a new offering quickly called iHeartYoga Live.”

Stuart says staff turned the yoga studio into a video production studio and now live-stream 18 classes per week. 

“Our students expect really high-quality yoga from us, so we really invested into everything from video equipment, schedule automation, lighting, and creating an environment so our amazing instructors could deliver really great content without having to worry about everything behind the scenes,” Stuart said.

Stuart says her team created iHeartYoga Live as a way to remain connected to the iHeartYoga community and remind everyone that health is not a given, especially during a time of such uncertainty and social distancing.  Secondly, she wanted a way to keep investing in her instructors by paying them for content on iHeartYoga Live while most fitness instructor income has essentially vanished.

“Concentrating on your health is now more important than ever,” Stuart said. “We want all of our students to rise from this pandemic stronger than ever, and iHeartYoga Live is our offering to help everyone keep a strong yoga practice until we open iHeartYoga back up again.”

Studio A Pilates & Yoga, another Pilates studio in Dana Point, has partnered with ZOOM + FitGrid to bring live virtual classes taught by Studio A instructors. The live stream fully integrates with MINDBODY, a program that enables users to create accounts. Access to unlimited virtual classes are available for purchase in two-week increments for $39, or single class drop-ins for $8.

For those who hope to incorporate other aspects of lifestyle health, CrossFit Dana Point is offering incentives for participants in their “21 Day Lifestyle Challenge.”

The challenge is open to everyone, including non-members and participants not in “CrossFit” shape. Minimum registration is $25 (or they can pay more). If you complete the challenge, at the end of the 21 days, you get 100% of your money back in the form of a gift card from one of the eight local spots.

The eight local businesses are Project Social in Dana Point, Bear Coast Coffee in Dana Point, JD Flannel Donuts in San Juan Capistrano, Artifex Brewing Company in San Clemente, Cocoa Parlor in Laguna Niguel, The Shwack Beach Grill in Dana Point, Restore Hyper Wellness in Laguna Niguel and Hobie Surf Shop in Dana Point.

“We know it’s a hard time for many of us small businesses, so we wanted to band our community together to help in any way we can,” said CrossFit Dana Point owner Zak Kepner. “There is strength in numbers!”

As far as the challenge tasks, Kepner says that most are encouraging people to do small things such as making your bed, drinking water, stepping outside, eating one serving of veggies, reading, connecting with family/friends, fitness, etc.

“So, really, anyone can participate and win their money back; that’s the goal,” Kepner said. “We do not make any money from this; 100% of a participant’s registration goes directly to the local business they choose and given back to them as a gift card.”

Anyone who is interested can email info@crossfitdanapoint.com, message CrossFit Dana Point on Facebook or Instagram (@crossfitdanapoint), or text/call 949.342.5139. Once a person contacts CrossFit Dana Point to register, they will receive the challenge checklist and scoring sheet, as well as payment info.

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