PRO Sports Club extols the virtues of Pilates, but like most fitness centers, you have go to them to take the classes. That means dealing with traffic, using a locker that you hope no one breaks into while you exercise, and then dealing with traffic again on the way home. That’s if you have a studio or fitness center that offers Pilates classes. If you do have classes in your area, but your work requires you to travel, you miss classes while you’re on the road or flying around. Online Pilates and yoga classes would eliminate all of those problems. You could join your class from your home, your office, or from your hotel.
Denise Posnak founded MYBOD Wellness Online Pilates and Yoga to combine Pilates, yoga, and technology and offer just such classes via either Skype or Google+. All a student needs is an exercise mat and a laptop with a Webcam and microphone. Instructors can observe students and correct errors in form just as they would in a face-to-face class. Students can take their classes one-on-one or share the cost of the class and invite family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors to join them.
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Posnak sees advantages for her students beyond eliminating worries about theft and taking extra time out of their lives to drive to a class. Students who must travel can logon for their class wherever they are. Students who work irregular schedules can schedule their classes around their work schedule. Students who take their classes in their own space can set the thermostat to the temperature they prefer, play the music they prefer, and use aromatherapy candles or incense if they prefer. Posnak also believes students may be more focused on proper form because, as they take their class one-on-one or with family members or friends, they are less distracted by worries about what strangers in a class think of their bodies or their coordination.
From a business perspective, this new model for Pilates and yoga classes has advantages as well. Posnak is not limited to drawing students from her immediate geographical area. Her students can live anywhere in the United States. One of the reasons that Posnak hit on this tech business model was because she had lived in many different areas of the country and had developed friendships with students and fellow instructors in each of the areas where she had lived. Moving her classes online enabled her to reconnect with the people she missed. Posnak does not believe that online classes can be a model for all forms of exercise. Instructors of active classes such as Zumba or hip hop could have trouble checking the form of their students using a Webcam. Forms of exercise that are done in a small place, such as Pilates, yoga, and barre exercises, seem ideally suited to Posnak’s new fitness business model.
Her advice to other small business owners is to explore how to employ technology in their businesses with help from tech savvy friends or consultants.