A few months ago we set out to transform the way that yoga instructions are delivered, using cutting edge technology that enables a new type of practice at a time when the majority of yoga studios around the world were unable to hold in-person classes.
Downward Dog Yoga Centre has been a Toronto fixture since 1997 and took on new ownership in 2019 with Karen Parucha at the helm. As the lead yoga instructor at StartWell’s coworking campus, Karen already taught 2 private in-person classes per week for our members when the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic happened here in Ontario. In conversation with her our media production team realised an opportunity – we could use our sun-drenched 16 foot cyclorama in Studio B to provide a uniquely minimalistic set to shoot yoga and meditation practitioners, and with our professional broadcasting studio setup the production value would raise the bar for the Centre who was previously experimenting with self-taught classes on laptops using Zoom videoconferencing sessions live.
A goal of creating an on-demand digital yoga studio for Downward Dog was quickly established. We wanted to present visual perspectives that an in-person class couldn’t offer – giving people at home a clearer picture of how to perform certain movements and immediately advance their practice. The content captured would have to relate an intimacy that related a feeling of being in-studio with the teacher and we wanted to empower people to choose the classes they wanted whenever it was possible for them to practice.
The media production team at StartWell Studios immediately got to work testing lighting, camera techniques, different microphones and so on – recording hours and hours of exemplary content before settling on a format that uses Hollywood-grade Super 35mm 6K production equipment allowing us sync multiple cameras, colour-grade footage and EQ audio on-the-fly, avoiding the need for post-production. The technology and techniques we put together enabled a new way of recording yoga practice that lets us publish as soon as a shoot is wrapped or actually live-stream on our own platform when needed.
To truly give Karen’s yoga studio a digital home for this amazing new content we are producing, our team created a Netflix-style video-on-demand service which has just gone live as Downward Dog On Demand. Members signing up to the service get unlimited access to the 20+ hours of instructions already uploaded to the platform and new lessons we’re producing on a weekly basis through 2021. Thanks to responsive web design, the service is available on virtually any browser so members can stream classes on demand from their mobile phones, laptops, tablets or smart TVs and native apps for things like AppleTV are in the works.
Its been an exciting few months working with Karen to create a truly digital yoga studio where anyone anywhere in the world can benefit from Downward Dog’s classes and we can’t wait to see how people enjoy the upcoming productions we will be releasing through Downward Dog On Demand next year.
Subscriptions to the service cost just $25/month and come with a 14 day free trial – we highly recommend visiting downwarddogondemand.com and signing up to this entirely new yoga studio that’s always open for you wherever you are in the world.