New yoga business owners some of many facing uncertainty

Brittany Mason (left) and Saskia Seeling opened their yoga and meditation business at the beginning of February. With increasing rules to stop the spread of Covid-19, the future of their studio is in peril. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Brittany Mason (left) and Saskia Seeling opened their yoga and meditation business at the beginning of February. With increasing rules to stop the spread of Covid-19, the future of their studio is in peril. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Saskia Seeling and Brittany Mason nervously laugh at the suggestion they were trained for situations like this.

The co-owners of Akasha Yoga only opened their doors on February 7 and were starting to see increasing numbers in their yoga, meditation and sound healing studios on Princes St near the Octagon.

Then everything changed last weekend in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, and people have been reducing their public activities, such as yoga and meditation.

‘‘We didn’t quite expect this situation,’’ Ms Seeling said.

As well as the weekly classes, the studio hosts community events at weekends.

‘‘Being just opened we were getting really excited starting to see numbers building, and then it was almost overnight no-one,’’ Brittany Mason said.

They said they were starting to see about five people per class, but now they were lucky to get one customer visit in a day.

They were now shutting it down and moving all of their classes to an online platform, Ms Mason said.

‘‘We’re a bit nervous given this new case with the high school kid in Dunedin.

‘‘The fact he was out in the public unknowingly with this virus. We’re a bit nervous ... we’re just talking we might ... close the doors altogether.’’

She said if the virus was starting to spread through the community, they really could not risk having people come to the studio.

‘‘The responsible option now is to physically close the doors, but we will take classes online so we will still offer the calm that is very much needed.’’

The pair had begun trying to find out what financial support their business would get, as it would not qualify for a wage subsidy that required businesses to prove they were 30% down in revenue on the year previous.

‘‘I’ve made contact with our financial adviser and [we’re] still waiting for a response. Trying not to panic ... the stimulus package, it won’t really help us at all.

‘‘Being a new business we, haven’t even been able to pay ourselves. We’ve been paying our teachers.’’

jacob.mcsweeny@odt.co.nz

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