San Jose yoga teacher reinvents herself during the pandemic

1 month ago 9

Editor’s note: This story is part of the annual Mosaic Journalism Workshop for Bay Area high school students, a two-week intensive course in journalism. Students in the program report and photograph real stories under the guidance of professional journalists.

When the pandemic pushed the state into a lockdown last year, yoga teacher Bri Deckard of San Jose found herself without the studio where she taught and missing the community she had built there.

But Deckard, 30, who sees herself as open and optimistic, adapted. She learned how to manage classes on Zoom and improved her YouTube platform.

“For the most part, I’ve kept the mindset that everything will work out, that there are always options,” Deckard said.

Bri Deckard is photographed in a artist’s studio in San Jose, California on Friday September 4th, 2020 (Photo courtesy Bri Deckard/Special to Mosaic) 

The most difficult loss Deckard endured during the pandemic was when her yoga studio in Campbell closed in May 2020.

“In the beginning, we tried to continue with virtual classes,” Deckard said. “Then the two studio owners called us together for a Zoom meeting, and they let us know that they had made the decision to close.”

What hurt the most was the unsettling realization that the social bubble she had been creating around her for years had been damaged.

“My job as a yoga teacher and my personal life feel very connected, so a lot of my social interaction was through the yoga community,” Deckard said, adding that losing her social network was really hard.

To save on rent, Deckard moved out of the San Jose house she was staying in and went to live with family. And her second job as a yoga instructor at Google gave her a financial cushion, as Google continued to pay her through the pandemic.

Soon, Deckard was inspired to start teaching again — via Zoom. She was taking online classes and practicing yoga using videos on different websites.

“That lit something in me — I really crave to be able to offer yoga to people,” Deckard said, explaining why she embraced Zoom instruction.

Deckard’s platform on YouTube has also grown, ranging from 1,000 subscribers during lockdown to almost 1,300 currently.

“When I got to 1,000 subscribers, it felt like a very big milestone for me,” Deckard said.

Throughout the pandemic, Deckard started to cut back on her own resources in hopes of finding a sense of change.

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With her newfound mobility, Deckard has been able to visit Texas and is currently in Tennessee, though she plans to return to San Jose. She wants to continue to teach online classes and to create content for her YouTube channel.

“I realize now that no matter what happens in the external world, I can still offer classes online,” Deckard said. “I definitely would like to continue growing my community on YouTube because that’s been a really fulfilling process for me.”

KennedyRose Stiver is a rising sophomore at Santa Clara High School.

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