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A New Approach to Online Classes Supports Out-of-Work Yoga Teachers During COVID-19

April 1st, 2020

As in-person gatherings are curbed and yoga studios close, an estimated 20,000 full-time yoga instructors are now out of work in the US alone. To save their businesses, teachers and studio owners are rushing to piece together live streaming through Facebook and Instagram Live, Zoom, and even YouTube. Most of these new, live-streamed classes are free and open to the public, encouraging “love donations” to teachers and studios through apps like Venmo, but this approach creates a slew of problems and liabilities for the teachers who rely on extra income from their classes.

While trusted organizations like the Yoga Alliance began recommending canceling all in-person yoga instruction until the need for social distancing has passed, tech startup Good Elephant launched a complete suite of services to support teachers who need to move their classes online. “The problem with live streaming is that it doesn’t take user experience and safety into consideration, and it doesn’t help teachers earn the money they need right now,” says Good Elephant founder Allison Reitz.  To survive the projected future months of social distancing, teachers and studios will need to make their online services more sustainable. The Good Elephant platform was built to handle these issues. “We have everything set up to make it really easy for our community members to jump into creating and attending online classes through our platform, including signups, waivers, payment processing, direct payouts, live streaming software, and real-time technical support. Attendees can even join gatherings securely through our app,” explains Reitz.

“Good Elephant gave me tools to make my classes available to people all over the world, and made hosting a virtual yoga class very easy and straightforward,” says Michelle Mills, a PE teacher who now offers online “Kidding Around Kids Yoga” on the Good Elephant app. The organization is helping out-of-work creators earn extra income and reach a new global audience, while preserving valuable relationships with their students during isolation. “The world needs us right now – we are the ones who are going to help our world calm down and get more centered,” says Lee Ann Maynard, Good Elephant instructor in Reno.

On Monday, local Denver startup Good Elephant launched free and pay-what-you-can online programs through their app, offering everything from yoga and meditation to art and cooking classes that promote a healthy lifestyle for those stuck at home. 

 “As a teacher, it’s really important to keep connecting with your following during this time of distancing,” says Allison Reitz, founder and instructor at First Draft and Green Spaces in RiNo. As many service businesses and yoga studios move online, Good Elephant’s engaging virtual programs stand out in a sea of one-way live streaming, where attendees feel isolated. “I’m so glad to have an interactive class that I can go to and get away from all the stress of this, while still being safe in my own home,” says Aislynn, a local Good Elephant community member.

Good Elephant was quick to pivot this week in response to the current crisis, launching a complete suite of online services for creators. “Good Elephant gave me tools to make my classes available to people all over the world and made hosting a virtual yoga class very easy and straightforward,” says Michelle Mills, a PE teacher who now offers online “Kidding Around Kids Yoga” on the Good Elephant app. The organization is helping out-of-work creators earn extra income and reach a new global audience, while preserving valuable relationships with their students. “The world needs us right now – we are the ones who are going to help our world calm down and get more centered,” says Lee Ann Maynard, Good Elephant instructor in Reno.

For those who have something to share, now’s the time to start – Good Elephant is offering a free 14-day trial on creator memberships. For those who are stuck at home, Good Elephant is a great place to find free and pay-what-you-can online classes and workshops. Download the app for iPhone and Android, or sign up at www.goodelephant.co.

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Good Elephant is a grassroots tech startup that connects communities with creators, offering inclusive pay-what-you-can classes, events, and workshops at unused local spaces, and now online. The company was founded in 2017 by Allison Reitz. To collaborate or inquire, call 775.600.2802 or email hello@goodelephant.co.