In conversation with Poppy Evans, Manager of the Santosa Wellness Centre, finding out how studio classes post-Covid are shaping up.

After nearly 18 months of disruption, studio classes reopened last month. How has it been for the Santosa studio?

In a word, tough! Everyone on the team is so pleased to have regular classes and groups back in the studio, even though it is with restrictions. The first groups to start-up are close to Santosa’s heart and they include the Edinburgh Community Yoga’s Woman Zone outreach class who are meeting here every Tuesday. It feels very special to welcome ECY back to our space as one of the first regular classes. I think it helps having the Cafe space for studio groups to meet up in, safely with the 2m distancing and have time to socialise – with Shahana’s great food. 

Are teacher’s and students keen to come back to in-person classes after a year or more of online?

They seem to be, yes. Zoom classes have been a lifeline for teachers and students alike throughout the last year and it is amazing how teachers have adapted their classes to delivering using video technology. I think a lot of studios have been concerned about what the future holds – will enough teachers choose to hire their space for their classes, or is it better for them to continue delivering online, with lower costs?

Personally, as a yoga teacher, I feel that you can’t replace the in-person, teaching/learning experience and shared practice. Thankfully, the response we’ve had during the last few weeks since reopening, shows that the majority of teachers feel the same.

What are the current restrictions for group indoor yoga/exercise classes? Everyone is very confused – is the 2m distancing rule still in place?

At Santosa, we have to keep up to date with all the different restrictions that apply. The Cafe operates under one set of guidelines, the shop has another and the Sanctuary therapists operate as ‘close contact services’ so another completely different set of restrictions and guidelines. It is challenging keeping up with all of these different restrictions, but it is essential to ensure all the team, our customers, clients and students are safe.

The studio classes operate within another set of guidelines (!) and Yoga Scotland is doing a fantastic job communicating the Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines clearly and simply for teachers and students. It really helps us as a studio to keep up with the regulations as they change.

So, the 2m distancing is still required?

Yes, it is but we’re hopeful that this will change very soon. With the 2m distancing restrictions, the studio has space for 6 student mats and one teacher.

What other restrictions remain in place for group classes?

Nothing has changed since last autumn. Students must bring their own mats and equipment and come ready for the class rather than using any changing areas.