Still Rising: Root2Rise continuing to Uplift Patrons during COVID-19 Pandemic

Local businesses are facing challenges while trying to adapt to the unprecedented actions that have taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners have had to come up with innovative ways to “keep the doors open,” such as Leah Porche and Shantelle Abshire, owners of Houma’s Root2Rise yoga studio, which is now offering its services completely virtual — and currently for free. 


Fortunately the two had already been discussing streaming classes before the outbreak occurred, so the idea wasn’t too foreign to them. 


When the online program started, teachers were still coming into the studio and using other teachers to display poses. However, once the Stay at Home order went into effect, teachers started instructing from their respective homes. 


Originally, the classes were going to be on a set schedule as well. 


“As things started unfolding, we realized that it was really a lot to expect from our teachers to be able to handle everything going on and to be able to teach a live class regularly,” Porche said. “Now we’re just asking our community to utilize the recorded classes, tune in when we have a live class and bear with us as we make our way through this uncharted territory.” 



Although Root2Rise is going through a learning curve since going completely online, the partners say the response has been great. Abshire said in three days they went from 300 people in their Facebook group to over 900, and people from New Orleans, New York, Australia and California are taking their classes. 



“But at a local level, people that never have taken our classes are signing up, taking classes and getting a moment to just find their bodies and some movement and some peace through breath and exercise,” she said. “And we’re keeping it simple because that’s what we all need right now.”



The Root2RIse teachers are all highly trained, Abshire noted, with each having at least 200 hours of training. “They have traveled for trainings and we also have a yoga school here at Root2Rise,” she continued. “Our teachers learn anatomy, how the breath and movement in yoga positively affects the nervous system, and they understand the logistics behind how you speak and teach to empower people.” 


All of the skilled and well-trained instructors’ classes are being offered for free right now too. 


“One, because we know this is a trying time for people financially and emotionally. And we really believe in yoga as something that’s an empowering tool, it can really help people to calm and ground and just be in a better head space than we might be without yoga,” Porche said on why the classes are free.  



“And then, just knowing that the quality of our videos is not amazing. We have mishaps; we are recording outside with iPhones and no microphones. So they’re not studio quality classes,” she continued. “We’re not there yet. We plan to be there one day, but at this point, to charge people in these times just feels wrong for us.”

Currently, their platform is moving towards being donation-based. 


Although it is virtual, the studio continues to maintain their connection with its community. “The page itself is a space for people to comment, share and just connect,” Porche said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things most people are missing right now is that connection they’re used to with other humans.” 


Porche and Abshire ask that anyone who wishes to join the studio sign up here. 


“Even with our name, we encourage people to establish roots before rising. This is what we’re doing here,” Abshire added. “…We hope we can rebuild through this together. We’re kind of hopeful that our community will expand because of this situation.”