Ottawa

Housebound? Here are some online classes to keep you busy

Some local businesses have shifted gears, offering online classes in everything from Italian cooking to yoga, in hopes of helping the social distance feel less isolating.

Shuttered businesses are pitching in, offering free virtual activities to help make social distancing easier

Before COVID-19, Geoff Grace worked in a hotel by day and DJ'd weddings by night. Now he's moving the party online. (Submitted by Geoff Grace)

We're told it could be weeks if not months before social distancing measures ease up across Canada. Now some local businesses are stepping up, offering free or by-donation online classes and activities to keep mind and body occupied. 

Here's a taste.

Get cooking

 

In Stittsville, Italian restaurant Pocopazzo is offering take-out only these days, so chef-owner Emanuele Leonsorte is refocusing his energy on posting online videos to help teach Italian cooking to people stuck at home.

A father to four housebound kids, and preoccupied about relatives back in Italy, Leonsorte said he understands the value of keeping people entertained.

"People want to laugh and they want to cook still. This way we can keep them busy, and they can make their own meal at home."

Be flexible

 

Several yoga studios, all now closed due to COVID-19, are offering online classes either for free or by donation.

Lizl Fleury, co-owner of Elevate, said the idea came from students who were looking for a way to connect and relax in the midst of this crisis. Elevate launched the free classes Friday.

According to Erin Harris, owner of SoulSpeak Yoga, even though there's lots to choose from when it comes to online classes, local matters.

"Students tell us they like the familiar voices and faces. It makes them happy to close their eyes, press play and pretend they're in the studio, like normal."

 

SoulSpeak plans to post a video a day during the closure. The studio is asking for a $35 donation, with half going to its yoga teachers who are now out of work.

Stay fit

Gyms and fitness studios are also going virtual during the shutdown, offering at-home workouts involving apps you can download to track your goals. Many are designed to use household items like books and duffel bags to build strength.

Downtown gym Bodies by Phil is offering a daily workout on Instagram to maintain strength and keep healthy while housebound. Boxing and fitness studio You vs You offers a live workout on Facebook to members only, with extra workouts coming to their social media pages. The Fitness Lab is holding regular morning workouts on Instagram Live.

 

Relax

After the work-from-home day is done, local artists and musicians have plenty of options to keep you busy in the evening.

Artist and teacher Andrea Stokes is moving her classes online, and plans a series of videos teaching art skills you can do from home with minimal materials.

 

There are live concerts available to stream through Facebook Live. A new group called Ottawa Live Music Streams features a growing number of live concerts.

On Saturday, the The Brass Monkey in Nepean launches its Lockdown 2020 Live Music Series, showcasing local bands performing live to an online audience. 

 

Local DJ Geoff Grace is taking requests for a new nightly set, broadcast live on Twitch. A hotel concierge by day who works weddings by night, Grace has been laid off and decided to put his free time to good use. 

"Music brings happiness. It puts people in a good mood, puts them dancing, lifts them up. I was feeling down and gloomy so I thought, you know what, I'm going to hop online and figure this out, and see if people join."

Grace said he's already overwhelmed with requests from people who say they're tuning and holding dance parties in their living rooms with the kids, or even just listening in while curled up with a book in front of the fire.

He said he plans to perform a DJ set every evening after dinner for the duration.

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