Innovation That Matters

Online yoga classes, real fellow students included

Work & Lifestyle

Along with yoga’s rise in popularity has come a raft of DVD and online classes offering a potentially less expensive and more convenient alternative to live, scheduled instruction. Such prerecorded offerings often focus on the fittest and most photogenic yogis, however—without the real-world masses—which may be good for education, but can be demoralizing for those who are less than perfectly toned and proficient. Enter YogaVibes, a site that offers recordings of real-world yoga classes, complete with fellow classmates in all shapes and sizes. North Carolina-based YogaVibes offers a wide variety of online classes of varying lengths and difficulty levels, taught by actual yoga instructors from top studios around the world. Rather than situating those instructors against breathtaking backdrops for glossy, fully staged productions, however, the classes featured are real ones with real students of all ability levels. The site explains: “Our classes are authentic. With few exceptions, we film real students, who come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. We know they’ll inspire your yoga practice, both on and off the mat.” A series of free vignettes are available on YogaVibes, as are an assortment of paid classes, which are typically priced at USD 10 for 14-day access. Alternatively, a Class Pass offers five full-length online classes for 30 days for USD 20. YogaVibes gives five percent of its class fees to charities including yogaHOPE, Yoga Bear and Street Yoga. It seems reasonable that just as consumers value the opinions of twinsumers when making purchase decisions, so they value the inclusion of others at—and even below—their own ability level when learning something new. The lesson to be learned? Co-consumers can remain a critical part of the equation, even in an online setting; remove them, and you may just remove part of your service’s value. Spotted by: Sarah Anne Jackson



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