Health & Wellness

Bonding Exercise

Benjamin Wilkinson, owner of Common Bond Yoga in Springfield, teaches a yoga class. The studio is live streaming every class for free on YouTube.

“It’s so incredible to realize that all the things we’ve been training for, that I’ve been teaching, that my students have been working on, literally have never been more important than now.” 

– Benjamin Wilkinson

SPRINGFIELD — Common Bond Yoga is doing its part to bring a little peace during this stressful time. For the past three weeks the studio has been live-streaming all of its classes for free on YouTube. Expanding outreach online has always been a desire of Benjamin Wilkinson, Common Bond’s owner, and the outbreak of Covid-19 has been the catalyst to making that happen. 

“It’s been on the back of my mind, so it wasn’t that difficult a transition for me when it became very clear that our social and ethical responsibility was to limit in person engagement,” he said. “We made that quick decision and we’ve been spinning our wheels ever since.”

Founded in 2018, Common Bond is part of the Stop Drop and Yoga LLC. Only the second yoga studio in Springfield, Common Bond’s mission is to learn to breathe, stretch and improve lives for those who seek to improve mental, physical and emotional well being. 

Common Bond is made up of a team of people who are teaching classes in and out of the studio. For the instructors coming into the studio, it is done one at a time and Wilkinson said there is over a six-foot distance as he helps behind the camera. 

Along with bringing yoga to Springfield, Common Bond has viewers tuning in from as far away as San Francisco and Norway. 

“Everyone’s been super positive and encouraging,” Wilkinson said. “The main thing I hear is, ‘Thank you for making this available for free and putting it out there during this time.’”

Although he does have Venmo and PayPal available for donations, Wilkinson has been encouraging people to join their Patreon page. For $3 to $11 a month, patrons can help keep content free, and receive special benefits in addition to the free YouTube sessions. 

His biggest challenge has been translating what makes Common Bond special onto Instagram and YouTube, but Wilkinson wants to be a resource for people during this trying time.

“We don’t know what people’s lives are like, we can’t see through the camera to the other side,” he said. “It’s been my intention and desire to share whatever I can with people who need it, however they need it.”

Even for people who have been doing yoga for a while, Wilkinson noticed how quickly students have started to forget their tools. He said even the simple act of pausing, taking a deep breath and then choosing what to do next or how to respond can positively change the outcome in front of them.

“It’s so incredible to realize that all the things we’ve been training for, that I’ve been teaching, that my students have been working on, literally have never been more important than now,” he said. 

Physically, he’s already noticed a shift from more time on social media and video conferencing, and how uncomfortable his body feels.

“It’s even more important right now to use movement, especially movement connection to other humans, to get that anxiety and stress that resides in your body out, so there’s no longer-term consequences down the road,” he said.

For those new to yoga, Wilkinson said the “most important place for anyone to start is exactly wherever they are.” He said there’s no prerequisites or expectations, especially now that the classes are online. He’s even gotten emails from viewers who have taken advantage of the isolated classes.

“I can’t even see you. No one else can see you and nobody cares,” he said. “Yoga has always been that way, we don’t care what you look like we just want you to feel better. We want you to continue to be you, we’re going to continue to be us, and hopefully there’s a way we can figure out a way to do it together.” 



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