“My first client was an 84-year-old grandma”: This yoga instructor teaches classes outside her clients’ windows
Yoga teacher Ashley McEachern has started a lockdown-friendly personal training business, providing exercise classes outside her clients’ windows. Here, she tells us how it works.
—As told to Liza Agrba
“Since university, yoga has been an anchor for me. It’s a source of therapy: a place I can go for an hour or 75 minutes, to drop out of the world and take care of my body, mind and breathing. I’ve also taught yoga for more than 10 years. Every time I teach a class, I know I’m helping other people get through whatever they’re struggling with in their life. Just being able to sit in meditation for 10 minutes without their kid pulling at their hair or having a nagging deadline can be a game changer.
“I gave birth to my second child in late February, and two weeks later, we were in a global pandemic. Still, I continued carving out time to do yoga every day. Without it, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now. It gave me the strength, courage, confidence, and mindfulness—all that juicy stuff—to be okay during this really messed up time. One day, at the end of October, I was doing online yoga and looking out the window, wanting so badly to just see a human and be outside. I suddenly realized I could teach in person by standing outside my clients’ windows. When I have an idea it just bubbles and boils under my skin until it explodes. I started telling friends about it and putting the pieces together. I’m not against online yoga. I just think there’s a need for real human connection, and it’s quite nice seeing someone through a window.
“A student who was in one of my online classes, which I set up during Covid, reached out to ask if I could teach private yoga to her 84-year-old grandma. This lady is an avid tennis and golf player who was looking for a way to stay fit when the tennis season was over. She was my first window client.
“The first day, she was nervous and invited her daughter to join. Mind you, I think a lot of people are nervous about something like this. After all, you’re having a stranger coming onto your property after being alone for eight months. I stood outside the window and taught the class over speakerphone, while the client did the workout inside. It was her first time doing yoga: I asked when she last stretched, and she said it had been 50 years. She kept saying how nice it was to see somebody smiling during these times. To have somebody show up at their house, and smile and laugh—because there’s lots of joking and laughing when I teach my yoga classes—was perhaps even more powerful for her than the fitness component. A part of me wonders if fitness is the medium to get people connected again. I now see her for a yoga class every Saturday morning at her house. It’s the highlight of my week.
“I got six other teachers on board immediately—four…