Star Kolb offers online yoga classes and teaches small, in-person classes held outdoors on a by-donation basis. Individual private lessons are available for a sliding-scale fee. [Photo courtesy of Star Kolb]

There’s an ongoing pandemic, an economic recession and – heaven help us – it’s an election year. We could all use some techniques to reduce stress and improve our wellness – like yoga.

Yoga involves controlled breathing, meditation and holding specific poses called asanas. It is widely practiced for its mental and physical benefits.

Yoga instructor Star Kolb was involved with the yoga studio Moab Yoga before it closed in the wake of the pandemic and is now teaching yoga classes online on a by-donation basis. The classes are held over Zoom, the online video conferencing platform that has taken the place of many in-person meetings since the pandemic hit.

Kolb said her classes focus on meditation and yoga basics like dissecting asanas into smaller movements and putting them together. Her classes are for all skill levels, including people who are recovering from injuries. Kolb added that she has gone through injury and recovery herself, and applies insights she has gained from the experience to her teaching.

Kolb said she has studied yoga across the world in India, Thailand, Santa Fe and Los Angeles as well as Inbody Yoga Academy in Salt Lake City. She started teaching yoga in 2007.

She said she has been doing six to 10 classes weekly and sends out a weekly email with info and links to the classes offered that week. Kolb said her typical schedule includes classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 10 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m., and Mondays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.

Kolb said she typically has between 10 and 20 people attend the online classes and that, as with in-person classes, people can hang out and chat after the class. She said she has two attendees who are related to each other – a niece and an aunt – who both take her classes, even though the aunt is in Moab and the niece is in New Zealand.

“It’s been pretty personal,” she said, adding that doing yoga at home can help people feel “grounded” in their own space.

She said the Zoom classes show her pieces of her students’ lives in a different way, as she can see their homes in the background and the occasional “toddler streaking by.” (She added that participants can turn their video off if they prefer to not be visible to others.)

While online classes might not be ideal, Kolb said, “we’ve had to embrace it” and “some beautiful things have come out of it.”

Without access to a studio and yoga props, Kolb said her students have creatively improvised using things like rolled blankets and pillows—even a can of paint—to do the poses and exercises.

“We’ve been able to be creative and that’s worked out well,” she said.

A nice thing about Zoom, Kolb said, is that students can record the sessions and rewatch them.

In addition to her online, by-donation classes, Kolb is offering private lessons with fees based on a sliding scale.

Kolb is also part of a group of yoga instructors taking turns hosting in-person yoga classes by donation at Old City Park at 8 a.m. on Sundays. She hopes to offer small, in-person classes this fall.

Kolb said that a website for her classes is currently in progress and, until then, she encourages persons who want to attend to contact her directly by calling 406-291-6408 or emailing mindivine@gmail.com.

Local yoga instructor hosts virtual classes

“We’ve been able to be creative and that’s worked out well.”

– Star Kolb

When: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday at 10 a.m.

Tuesday and Thursday at 8 a.m.

Monday and Thursday at 4 p.m.

Cost: by donation

Contact: 406-291-6408, mindivine@gmail.com