When coronavirus forced the closure of her Nishi Gallery yoga studio, owner Odona Farska decided to keep her 600 students happy by providing three weeks of free online classes.
The positivity the yogi projected through the livestreamed service has since been proven to have mental health benefits for those suffering in the pandemic, according to a recent study.
Conducted in partnership with the Federal University of Santa Maria, UNSW Sydney, Kings College London and Western Sydney University, the University of South Australia lead study found that yoga improved the mental health of people living with a range of mental disorders, with the benefits increasing with the amount of yoga they practiced.
UniSA PhD candidate Jacinta Brinsley was the lead researcher.
The exercise physiologist uses evidence-based exercise intervention to treat psychiatric patients with chronic illnesses.
A part-time yoga teacher, Ms Brinsley suspected the health benefits of her practice extended beyond the physical. But her science degree meant proving it before prescribing it.
The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, examined 19 studies across six countries, where individuals had been diagnosed with mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.
"Our research shows that movement-based yoga improved symptoms of depression for people living with a range of mental health conditions including anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and major depression.
So, it's very good news for people struggling in times of uncertainty," she said.
Ms Brinsley said during self-isolation with people finding themselves working from home and unable to physically catch up with their friends and family, it was likely there'd be more instances of people feeling lonely and disconnected.
"Exercise has always been a great strategy for people struggling with these feelings as it boosts mood and health.
"But as gyms and exercise classes of all kinds are now closed - even jogging with a friend is strongly discouraged - people are looking for alternatives, and this is where yoga can help."
University NSW Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum said while the results were promising, some challenges still remained.
"Importantly, the most vulnerable in our community are often the least likely to access exercise or yoga programs despite the potential benefits," Professor Rosenbaum said.
"Our results have significant implications and demonstrate that you don't necessarily need to go for a jog to benefit from movement".
The Australia National University health researcher Dr Liana Leach was recently involved in a separate study which aimed to examine the relationship between mental health and internet access, particularly lack of access because of affordability issues.
The research found access to the internet was poorer for those with mental health problems than those without mental health problems and concluded that as Australia and increasingly delivered services online, issues of equity and affordability should be considered to ensure that those who most need support and assistance are not further disadvantaged.
From her home, Ms Farska's live-streamed classes have been so well received she intends to continue them after she welcomes students back to the studio.
"It's such a great way for people who can't come to class for health problems or whatever reason to connect," she said. "Not taking away from the benefits of face-to-face - I think we still need that - but it's better than nothing."
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. If you're looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also sign up for our twice-daily digest here.