Flexibility helps Serendipity Yoga Studio survive the pandemic

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Flexibility helps Serendipity Yoga Studio survive the pandemic

July 26, 2021 - 21:34
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One of the benefits of practicing yoga is increased flexibility. Apparently, that applies to yoga businesses, too.

On July 17, Homewood yoga teacher Liz Smith marked the reopening of her Serendipity Yoga Studio in the US Bank building at the corner of 183rd Street and Dixie Highway.

Serendipity owner Liz Smith, with help from Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld and her young friends Talia and Liliana Santos, cuts the ribbon to mark the reopening of her yoga studio in a new location following several months without a permanent home because of the pandemic. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Serendipity owner Liz Smith, with help from Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld and her young friends Talia and Liliana Santos, cuts the ribbon to mark the reopening of her yoga studio in a new location following several months without a permanent home because of the pandemic. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

She was forced to close for indoor classes when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a statewide shutdown of schools and businesses in March 2020.

But while the studio was closed, yoga went on.

“We just got really creative,” Smith said. A week into the shutdown, Smith regrouped. “We went completely online.” The response from teachers and students was positive, and classes remained full.

“The stress of COVID drove people online,” she said. “I had students who said, ‘I’m just going to do yoga three times a day because I am home and this is keeping me sane.’” 

In June 2020, when the first COVID-19 surge ebbed and state-mandated social restrictions were eased, Smith shifted again, adding outdoor classes to online offerings.

A shower of confetti marks the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Serendipity Yoga on Saturday, July 17. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

A shower of confetti marks the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Serendipity Yoga on Saturday, July 17. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Izaak Walton Nature Preserve allowed her to hold classes there, and when indoor classes were allowed to resume, the Homewood Science Center provided space.

“In November, everything shut down again and we went back online,” she said.

That flexibility kept her students and teachers together through the challenges of the pandemic. Instructor Alyse Shields, who credited Smith for adapting at each turn, appreciated the chance to teach online, even though it wasn’t quite the same as the in-person classes.

“We still got to connect to people,” Shields said. 

Smith began looking for a new home for the studio in recent months and demand increased for a return to in-person classes. 

“I had my wish list. I needed windows that open, high ceilings, more space,” she said. While strict COVID-19 precautions are lifted, the yoga studio had to give students the ability to maintain social distancing. And, good ventilation helps prevent transmission of the airborne virus. 

Serendipity Yoga and Wellness is located at 18300 Dixie Highway. The entrance is at the northeast corner of the building.