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Live-in Guru

Check out the August issue of Fit Columbus to see other virtual fitness classes Columbus has to offer.
As students stretch their hamstrings and wiggle their toes in preparation for the Saturday morning basic “Yoga-Well-Being” class, Sipra Pimputkar limbers up her equipment – a two-way video chat program.

Pimputkar, owner of Yoga-Well-Being Movement Arts, is changing the yoga game in Columbus. She has made it virtually accessible to anyone in the world.

The cyber session is projected on the wall, allowing the in-studio students to see the web visitor. The online participant’s view is dominated by the instructor’s station. While the studio can serve a maximum of 20 students, an additional nine members can log in online.

On this particular Saturday, a student from Sweden was participating.

That student, Boel Wadman, was part of the reason Pimputkar decided to install this technology in the first place. Wadman had taken classes with Pimputkar before returning to Sweden, where she struggled to find yoga classes she enjoyed. When Wadman told Pimputkar that she was considering quitting her practice altogether, Pimputkar introduced another option.

“It is amazing to see Sipra and her class, and be virtually in Columbus, and actually train quite hard. Sipra notes if I fake it,” Wadman said. “I have done it almost every weekend since this Christmas.”

After attending a class, it becomes clear why the live-streaming service could be a godsend to some students. Many get as spiritually invested as they do physically in the Yoga-Well-Being sessions.

Part of Pimputkar’s mission seems to be cultivating balance in people’s lives – a balance that goes beyond lifting your leg and bending your torso so both are parallel to the floor.

“We want to be a one-stop-shop where all your physical, psychological and spiritual needs are met with activities that satisfy the whole being,” Pimputkar said.

This is evident in the variety of courses offered at Yoga-Well-Being. In addition to Hatha yoga, students can take Kundalini, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and a restorative “Mellow Yoga” class.

The studio also hosts Zumba all year-round, and seasonally, hula-hoop classes, Capoeira, cardio kickboxing and, upon request, contemporary dance. Yoga-Well-Being’s diversity of offerings goes beyond the mat, too. Pimputkar hopes to reinstitute monthly book clubs and movie nights, and this month (July 19) she offers a “Sound Meditation” course, open to the public, which will also double as a produce share.
A self-taught yogi, Pimputkar considers this practice a life-long learning process. She has been instructing at fitness establishments throughout Columbus for the past 30 years, developing a dedicated following.

“What I found rewarding with her classes is the way she personalizes them towards who is attending, and also takes time to talk to everyone before class,” Wadman said. “Sipra is also a wise and interesting person, and she shares some thoughts every class, leaving at least me more happy and fulfilled than after a normal yoga class.”

Testiment to this philosophy is her online class. She is not going to let students moving overseas – or terrible traffic or an unexpected work delay or kids – keep them from their asanas. •

Yoga-Well-Being
1890 Northwest Blvd., Suite 340, (614) 432-7553, www.yoga-well-being.net

Price Drop-in costs $15, but the studio offers several packages (including family/roommate passes and Ohio State University discounts) for lower per-class rates. The online classes cost the same as the in-studio classes.

Note: In an effort to eliminate confusion about the format of the class, students are required to attend some classes in-studio before they are able to access the classes online.

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