Meet Clarisa Strack van Schyndel from Coco Pilates

Coco Pilates Boutique Reformer Classes

Clarisa, owner of Coco Pilates, believes in helping you to find your balance. Not only on the physical needs of your life, but also in finding a sense of peace and an escape from the rush.

‘Our approach to fitness is all about health.  When your body can move and function happily, without pain, it will help you achieve the life goals you set for yourself’.

The way Clarissa was able to successfully navigate the sudden change from operating as a boutique Reformer studio to running online Pilates class is extremely inspiring. We took some of her time to ask a few questions which we believe could help other studios in similar situations tremendously!

How has your studio been affected by the lockdown?

O wow, I’ve had to change my approach completely. My studio, Coco Pilates, is a boutique Reformer studio where I teach private and semi private clients. That was until Covid-19.

My first thought was that I would have to close. After all, my clients have come to me because I teach them on the reformer. Thankfully a good friend said something to me that changed the game; “your clients came to you for you”.

Over a period of 2 weeks, from March 16, I gradually started moving clients to virtual classes. This decision was made before lock down due to my pressing concerns for the health of clients as well as my own family, as my studio is at home. I was an emotional wreck, but figured if I don’t try this then what’s the point? My role as a teacher is to help people and, at this moment, that’s the best I can do to help everyone.

Once lockdown started, it gave me some time to clear my head and buckle down to  this new virtual reality. With the help of my husband, we rearranged the studio to set up the virtual streaming studio. My husband is my rock, he has helped me so much!!

So, at the moment, Coco Pilates is not a reformer studio but a delightful virtual studio still offering mainly private and semi private classes. Every day still has its challenges from the occasional bad internet connection to having to juggle household tasks, time with my son as well as teaching, not to mention the strain on my body from doing about 7 classes a day. It’s uncertain what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, I won’t stop trying!

Which app are you using alongside Bookamat to stream your classes online? And do you find it working well for you and your students?

In the beginning I used WhatsApp video call. After lots of trial and errors, I’m currently using Zoom Pro for streaming and Bookamat for scheduling.

Has your studio gained more students during this time for your online streaming classes?

For the past couple of weeks my focus has not been on getting new clients, more so to streamline the process of existing clients.  I have also put a lot of thought into what my principles are as a teacher. Pilates is a practice that needs to be performed under close supervision. I have gained 2 new Private clients and I’m really happy about that.

In the coming week I will decide when I will add group classes. Group classes will be 8 clients per class and I would need to do an assessment with clients before they join a group. ALWAYS safety first!

Any advice or motivation for studio owners going through tough times currently?

  • Stick to your values as a teacher.
  • Don’t give up just because you can’t figure it out. Ask for help – you are a great Pilates teacher not a tech expert.
  • Do what is best for you and your clients, live-stream or pre-record: we all have different situations.
  • Try to have fun with the process!!

‘Stay positive, your clients need you’

Check out her website for Coco love, Coco events and much more: www.cocopilates.co.za

Photography:  www.jamesstrack.com

It’s incredible to hear the stories coming out of these hard times and to witness the successful transition that many are making. While we eagerly anticipate the day we can return to in-person classes, we believe that there will still be interest in online classes post-Covid19. We remain totally committed to the fitness industry and supporting our clients as best as we can as we navigate these unprecedented times together.

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