Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu takes “energetic-driven” classes online as clients and staff practice social distance

A photo of Thomas Leverett conducting a class virtually
Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro-Leverett have moved classes at Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu online as social distancing requirements persist. (Courtesy Thomas Leverett)

Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro-Leverett have moved classes at Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu online as social distancing requirements persist. (Courtesy Thomas Leverett)

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Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro-Leverett have switched to offering classes at Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu online as social distancing requirements persist. (Courtesy Thomas Leverett)
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Online classes at Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu can be purchased a la carte. (Courtesy Thomas Leverett)
Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro-Leverett, the husband and wife duo behind long-time South Austin fitness institution Del Sol Yoga & Kung Fu, expected to be working on building their new studio in full force this spring, not making their first foray into teaching online classes. But after 15 years, they have learned to adapt, Leverett said, a necessary skill for a local business to weather the storm of COVID-19.

“We had to just shift gears fast,” Leverett said.

With students unable to visit Del Sol’s Cedar Valley space, Leverett and Castro-Leverett have taken their classes to video, pre-recording classes taught by themselves and other Del Sol instructors that can be accessed for 24 hours to give participants flexibility. Leverett said Del Sol has lost some business, but overall, has seen support from longtime members and others who feel cooped up and are looking for an exercise outlet. To cater to both groups, Del Sol is offering online classes both as part of memberships and a la carte at $10 per class. Class types include vinyasa, yin and ashtanga yoga, as well as kung fu and Tai Chi.

Leverett said moving classes online has also had a surprising and positive side effect: past Del Sol students and instructors who have since moved around the world are joining in and reconnecting.

“All of a sudden, we see people registering who we haven’t seen in 3 years or 4 years,” Leverett said. “It’s been kind of a sweet deal.”

Leverett said Del Sol’s online classes closely mirror its in-person offerings, with both yoga and kung fu classes emphasizing energy over posture. He said two practices form a “natural synthesis,” especially since he and his wife developed their practices alongside each other.

Leverett began practicing kung fu around the same time Castro-Leverett started learning yoga in the ‘90s, when he was a middle school teacher and his wife worked in sales. After the birth of the couple’s daughter, when Leverett had completed his requisite 10 years of training to start the process of becoming a kung fu instructor, the pair set out to start their business. After shifting through two rented locations, the pair has been planning to build their own studio from the ground up off Fitzhugh Road in Southwest Austin.

“It’s my wife and I’s dream forever,” Leverett said.

Although progress on the new studio has stalled in light of the coronavirus, making their hoped-for Feb. 2021 opening uncertain, Leverett said they are still keeping the faith and chipping away at the process. In the meantime, they are feeling grateful for the support of the South Austin community.

“I don’t feel any dread. It feels like we’re going to make it out,” he said.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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