Michele Beebe of Cut Bank has been a Yoga instructor for nearly 30 years. Although her studio is closed to comply with COVID-19 directives, she is offering free ‘live’ classes though Facebook three evenings a week and a morning class on Saturday.

Once you are in an exercise program that you love, it is very frustrating and sort of sad to have that program removed from your daily routine. That happened to many people when we were all asked to stay at home more, which made getting out for exercise classes a definite “no-no.” 

But Michele Beebe, yoga instructor for close to 30 years, did not want this stay at home time to stop her students from not only enjoying her yoga classes, but inhibit the benefits exercise and yoga was giving all of them. 

So, she opted to bring yoga to them, and anyone else interested in taking her class, via a live, online feed she established through Facebook.

“Following the science, we know that social distancing definitely reduces the spread of disease, so I had to make the tough decision to temporarily close my studio. I may have to close it down entirely for awhile, because it is not financially sustainable without students. But I will open it again at some point in another location because it is important to have a Yoga Shala or yoga home in our community,” said Michele.

The online classes she is offering are free and are live on Facebook and super easy to join. “Just do a friend request on Facebook to Michele Beebe. Once I have accepted, you can simply log into Facebook, find my page and do yoga with me,” she said.

Her yoga class schedule is: Monday, 5:45 p.m. and the class is Vinyasa Flow; Tuesday, Beginning Yoga at 6:15 p.m.; Wednesday, Vinyasa Flow at 5:45 p.m.; and Saturday, Vinyasa Flow at 10 a.m.

Michele suggested checking and verifying the class schedule on her website, omyogamontana.com. If for any reason she has to cancel a class due to her work or a family situation, she said that will be posted on her website. Also, if you have any questions for Michele regarding yoga or her classes, you can email her at omyogamontana@gmail.com

“Anyone can try yoga,” she said. “The key is to modify and I talk about that in class and give people options.”

Participants only need to have a yoga mat and “bare feet,” Michele said. “Yoga blocks are helpful too, but a person could use books too.”

While Facebook is a workable format for her live classes, Michele is exploring other options too, like Zoom or Facebook Messenger. “I had one or two classes that froze up,” she confessed, “which has more to do with unprecedented Internet traffic than it does any technical difficulties. If you have that problem, completely log out of Facebook and log back in.”

For Michele, yoga has always been a source of strength training for her. “People believe it is a flexibility exercise and it certainly does help with that, but it is mainly a strength training exercise using one’s own body weight. It really helps tone the core, belly, back and side. And it is great to do at home because you don’t need equipment.”

She added with a laugh, “Yes, your cats and dogs will be all over you and your mat for awhile, but eventually they will know, and when you are on the mat, they will just lay down close. They like the peaceful energy that abounds with yoga.”

Michele said that having yoga in her life has helped her through some tough times and she truly believes it can help others struggling with all the stress, tension and unknowns associated with the pandemic.

“In my life, yoga has kept me from going over the brink into anxiety, depression, substance misuse and obsessive compulsive disorder. I find balance and peace with my asana practice (physical practice), which prepares me for meditation. All I know is, yoga has healed me on many levels and it helps me stay healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.”

She continued, “Yoga can help us through this pandemic by giving us a physical practice we can do in our own homes to stay healthy and strong, to sleep better at night, to avoid blood clots, high blood pressure and many other lifestyle diseases. Then, we begin to do yoga ‘off the mat’ by treating people well, eating clean foods and becoming more connected with God.”

 When life returns to whatever will be our new normal, Michele hopes to continue teaching yoga classes not only in-person, but to offer online classes too. For now, however, she is happy to be able to offer a stay-at-home yoga class to help strengthen body, mind and spirit, something all of us need during these uncertain times.  

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