A new bend on yoga


In a confluence of the ancient and the digital age, you can now a enjoy a virtual yoga class experience — participating in instructor-led yoga from your home by streaming studio classes on your computer.

Online yoga is not entirely new. But for the first time, a local studio — Yoga Haven, on State Road in Vineyard Haven — has joined with StudioLiveTV, a website that features online yoga, pilates, and other fitness classes for a small fee.

Right now, the locally based streaming options are limited to classes by Yoga Haven and Fly Yoga founder Sherry Sidoti, but in the future she intends to add classes by other Vineyard instructors. “I have hopes to support the other teachers and health professionals on the Island,” Ms. Sidoti said. “They can come into the studio and record their classes. The long-term intent is to invite other teachers on Martha’s Vineyard to participate in the program.”

So far, the experiment is proving successful. A number of people have tried out a first-time free class and signed up for single classes, packages, or unlimited monthly passes which allow access to thousands of StudioLive classes by instructors throughout the country.

“We record every class I teach,” said Ms. Sidoti. “We’re constantly building the library of classes.”

The online option gives people the chance to keep up with Ms. Sidoti’s classes even when they aren’t available to attend in person. “I have a lot of Islanders who have to stop coming to classes in the summer because their schedule won’t allow it,” she said. “This also allows access to my summer clients in New York City, Los Angeles, and elsewhere to stay consistent with classes.”

The video connection was established after one of the StudioLiveTV organizers — who was following Ms. Sidoti on Facebook — asked the Vineyard yoga instructor to write for an online magazine. Ms. Sidoti didn’t have the time to write consistently, but the organizer followed up with her later, and they decided to form a partnership.

“They have about 30 studios that they represent,” Ms. Sidoti said. “They build up a library of classes before they go live. We built up the Yoga Haven library from the end of the summer through December, when our classes became available online.”

Two tiny cameras, providing alternating viewpoints, are mounted high on the wall of the studio. “It’s not like an instructional DVD,” said Ms. Sidoti. “I feel like it gives you the sense of being in the space.”

“It’s not like your typical exercise viewpoint,” Ms. Siddoti said. “You can’t see individual students close up. It’s more the feeling that you’re participating.”

Ms. Sidoti is enjoying the opportunity to view the classes after the fact. “I never plan my classes,” she said. “There is this connection that happens when I’m teaching where I’m more of a conduit. The teachings move through me. After the class, I forget what I taught. It’s exciting for me to be able to watch it.”

Anyone can access the classes through the Yoga Haven website yogahavenmv.com or directly through the StudioLive site studiolivetv.com. Pricing is as follows: single class, $4.99; 10-class pack, $39.99; monthly unlimited (requires 6 month commitment) $9.99/month.