Namaste outside: Raleigh instructors launch mobile pop-up yoga studio to maintain social distancing

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Two fitness instructors in Raleigh have launched a new, innovative mobile pop-up yoga studio, The Yoga Collective, to get clients back on the mat while social distancing outdoors.

"It's been hard but it's also been really beautiful as we've been doing our classes this week to kind of see people to see the excitement when they see each other," said co-founder Katie Clemons. "It's been four months since they've gotten to do yoga, next to their best friend, even if it's eight feet apart, you're still getting their energy you're getting to be together so it's really awesome."

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Clemons developed the concept and launched the business with fellow fitness instructor, Jolene Johnson, after studios shut down in March amid the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina.

"Katie and I are both full time fitness instructors," Johnson said. "We both teach in hot yoga studios and a reformer studio and I also teach cycle. So, fitness is our lives and it was really hard for us when we saw that taken away not only from us but from our students. So, we really needed to find a way to continue to offer that in a safe space."

The two first offered virtual classes then came up with the concept of The Yoga Collective. They bought a VW van and felt it was meant to be when they went to see it and the personalized license plate on the van was the name of Johnson's daughter, Willow.

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The two now roll around Raleigh and pop up in parks and outdoor spaces in their VW van setting up a small merchandise lounge outside the van.

"We love the idea of having a whole pop up community where a pop up coffee shop can come in or somebody who has a little bit more retail can pop up and kind of have all that together. We would love it. We really just want to focus on building community," Clemons said.

The Yoga Collective limits outdoor classes to 24 to maintain social distancing. They will host a grand opening celebration and 'Collective Market' July 11 at Transfer Co. Food Hall in Raleigh with two classes at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. along with local vendors including a tarot card reader, jewelry and pottery. The Grand Opening classes are $20 and include a drink after class while the market is free.
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