As we continue to struggle with the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s hard not to get tired of the pandemic pivots. Physiotherapist Lara Heimann dreamed of growing her yoga business, but it took a lockdown to open her social media platforms while also closing down her inpatient presence.
“Nineteen years ago, I started my business in a garage studio with four to five clients at a time. As a full-time physical therapist and part-time yoga teacher, I was looking for little ways to maintain my professional presence and make some extra money for my growing family didn’t think I’d grow this business into an international brand over the next two decades.
During that time, I worked with thousands of people (from stroke sufferers to professional athletes), opened a local public studio, launched international retreats and teacher training programs, and created a podcast and online subscription platform. Realizing that I couldn’t reach that many people internationally with just personal teacher training courses, I developed a robust 200-hour online yoga teacher training course and started it in January 2020. With 180 people enrolled in the first cohort, I was very happy with that Success and excited to see how I can continue to grow.
Two months after the training started, Covid-19 hit us hard. Understandably, in my yoga community, as in the rest of the world, there was an initial panic. With so many of our online offers between the streaming service LYT Daily and our Level 1 training we were already on our way in the digital direction, so we decided to close the public studio after almost 9 years and to completely to switch to virtual offers.
While I missed the presence of others and the personal connection that yoga creates locally, closing the studio was the way to go and luckily my practice has made me very adaptable to all kinds of changes. I teach core connection, tenacity, grace, resilience and adaptability on the mat to better prepare us for life’s challenges, and this change in my professional life has been sustained by the embodiment of these LYT yoga principles. With the pandemic pivot, I felt well equipped to operate from my home studio.
I was already comfortable in front of a camera and was able to really hone my skills for connecting with people online in other ways, including on my social media platforms and on my podcast. Since the beginning of the pandemic, my social platforms have doubled, my teacher training almost quadrupled, and my podcast listener has grown to nearly 48,000 downloads per month, not to mention my online offering has increased tenfold. We filmed and started a level 2 training to continue offering training at a higher level.
With over 600 teachers who have now completed the online training, the LYT community is closely connected and supported. Despite a year of uncertainty and chaos, my business has been a haven and a thriving center for education and empowerment. Ironically, the online connection felt more intimate in a different but beautiful way. My teacher training students share their exams and triumphs and we all encourage each other to master the challenges with collective support and individual adaptability. LYT interns and teachers often comment on how the training and community not only brought them strength, confidence and peace, but also really changed their lives. Graduates of the training have made lifelong friendships that may not have existed in their “busy” lives before the pandemic.
The pandemic has given us the opportunity to grow even faster than expected. Yes, there have been some adjustments and bumps along the way, but one of the most important things I’ve learned is to be personally and professionally adaptable, which is a necessary skill to face all of life’s challenges. “
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