Transcription – English – Karen Kobel

03. Karen Kobel.mp4: Video automatically transcribed by Sonix

03. Karen Kobel.mp4: this mp4 video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Karen Kobel:
Okay. So for me, I own a pilates yoga dance studio in Vancouver, and I'm sorry, I'm getting my nerves. Yeah. And so obviously we've been directly impacted for the last two years in this shutdown. Yes. Yeah. So at the beginning. Right, the whole the full lockdown. And for me personally, this is our main source of income. My husband suffers PTSD, depression, anxiety. So this is this is our our our time to shine in a business. Right. And as soon as the lockdown happened, my adult dancers and I actually jumped in to figure out, okay, what what are we going to do? Because there's no way this is closing. There's no way I'm not going to make it through this. I'm a hustler and a fighter. So we took it to the streets and actually started dancing outside of seniors homes.

Trish Wood:
And just just to be clear, to entertain them while they were locked in. Is that right?

Karen Kobel:
Yeah.

Trish Wood:
Were you at the window then doing this?

Karen Kobel:
No, we were either at windows personally going from window to window or one home is across the street from my studio and they all have patio access. So they would come out and and dance with us and stay moving and and just like trying not to cry through those moments, knowing that they weren't allowed to leave their room was quite. Yeah. Yeah. So knowing a little bit more now of the impacts of isolation on everybody, on all humans, but let alone like the elderly population, it's like it's quite heartbreaking, you know? I mean, the things we know about isolation is just a bigger increase in that anxiety or that depression or those mental health issues that people have, which I also see in my husband on a daily basis. Right. For him not having his his gym or his jujitsu. Right. These are these are things that we need in order to for some people to just get through the day. The loneliness being associated also with an increase in substance abuse. Loneliness with an increase in. Just just anguish. And it could increase obesity and cardiovascular. But for me as a business owner of movement.

Karen Kobel:
Movement, mindfulness, meditation, and not being able to serve my clients that I've served for 19 years and getting their texts and their phone calls saying like, please just send me a video, just send me anything. Because that's that in the long run is what was keeping people. Alive and surviving this whole thing. Right. Let alone myself and my family. So the the impact was like, how many times do we have to jump, leap and turn around to create a new part of the business to keep it surviving? Right. And then, you know, the the impact for my community because I am a very big community leader. Right. I mean, our space has always been about unity, wellness. Everybody's welcome, like come in the door, like everybody's body can move. Right. So for me, on that sector, when different mandates and things were being set in was very, very heartbreaking. I, I actually had to stop teaching quite a bit because I needed to just sit with myself and see and ask myself, where am I going to go from here with this business, with what they're asking us to do as business owners? But also.

Trish Wood:
What were they asking you to do as business owners? What were the ones that you were having trouble?

Karen Kobel:
So, I mean, for me, the biggest personal, like, heartbreaking issue were the passports.

Trish Wood:
Vaccine.

Karen Kobel:
Yeah. Yeah. Because, you know, like, I'm teaching people yoga. The word yoga means unity. Right. It means unity and it means community. So if you're asking me to turn people away because of this choice, like, what else are you going to ask me to turn people away for? Because. Realistically, I shouldn't be asking anybody for what they what they've put inside their body, you know what I mean? And just having to quiet the the constant conversations inside the studio walls. Right. We've done a lot of work to keep it calm, serene, safe, clean. And, you know, people who've come for five to 19 to 20 years have known me this whole time. So they know the the the struggle. It is for me to sit there and be like, can you show me this? Like, Why am I asking to see that? I like I don't need I don't need to know. I don't. And then even with my own struggle, like how many people had no idea what I was growing through because I did. Try one and then I've been going through my own health scares with that. Right. And clients assuming that like I'm good to go when I'm out and I'm socializing and in public and hey, like, you should go to this restaurant for your birthday. Well, technically, I'm not allowed. Like, oh, but you had side effects and like, yeah, I know. Like, well, what about your letter of exemption? I'm like, there are none. Like, is none. My doctor told me straight out she's been told there are none.

Trish Wood:
Right. So so I just I want to get back to your your business a little bit. So so where does it stand? Are you do you think you can rebuild? I'll ask you this and then throw the panel, because I'm sure they have a lot of questions. Obviously, it was really difficult to navigate through those days. But but where do you where do you see yourself now?

Karen Kobel:
So I see myself moving forward into we are in our fifth year now and two and a half of those years have been spent in this time. So I feel like if you can make it through that, you can make it, you can make it. And our new chapter will be moving into Kahlena movement and wellness center, as opposed to just a movement studio. So we've just started bringing in more some trauma based therapists, some massage therapists, some acupuncturists. We're we're moving forward into the next sector because we understand the healing process that's about to happen for a lot of people. This is not just about movement. This is about the wellness piece that really, really, really needs a lot of attention if we're not actually going to pay attention to the research and the science of health and wellness and what it actually is and what it's supposed to be like, yeah, that's where we're that's where we're moving forward to. And that's also because that's where what our clients are needing, they're needing more.

Trish Wood:
Okay, panel.

Preston Manning:
Thank you for this. Just two questions. Did the government of British Columbia ever do in, to your knowledge, any formal impact assessment of its isolation, social distancing, vaccine mandate, policies that impact on seniors, the impact on youth, the impact on families, the impacts on business? Is there any sense that they did that kind of impact assessment, that they're aware of the extent of the negative damage that's arisen from these policies?

Karen Kobel:
I don't think so. I'm not sure. I've not seen anything. I've not found anything yet myself.

Preston Manning:
Yeah. And if you were asked to put a try to put even a rough dollar figure on what these shutdown measures have cost your business over two years, what what would be the ballpark figure?

Karen Kobel:
I'm going to I'm going to put it up there to the 200,000.

Preston Manning:
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. With no prospect of compensation or.

Karen Kobel:
Even with, like the small amounts of, like, the grant benefits or those kinds of things, like, yeah, we were offered some things, but in if you calculate how many months you're closed for versus that small amount of money, it probably only covered one month's rent.

Preston Manning:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Thank you.

Karen Kobel:
Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story. I was wondering.

Trish Wood:
What.

Karen Kobel:
Kind of a response did you get when you were.

Trish Wood:
Out.

Karen Kobel:
Dancing for the seniors? We'd all think it would be very positive. But were there was there any negative response from anyone, public health officials or anybody like that? No, we I mean, to be quite honest, that was that was probably one of the best moments of. It was so amazing. And because the one home is across the street from the studio, I see the people every day walking now. And and it's a different connection, right? It's a connection for me that wasn't there before. But also it's also a commitment for me to stay in touch with them. Right. It's not just that those three months and then it's over like we all we all need to keep supporting each other as we go forward because there's more of us that need healing. Yeah. Thank you. That was really well said.

David Ross:
Yeah, thank you. Karen, I want to. You were very inspirational. I know you've been through a rough patch, but as a business person to I just applaud your your creative thinking and and your resilience. And, I mean, I don't expect you're out of this yet, but I'm just very impressed that you've your you're pivoting your your business to basically even expand what you were doing before, you know, in terms of mindfulness and physical exercise. But now you're going to the whole person for mental health and and into that arena. And I just I just think that's very, very remarkable and very admirable. You know, as I have listened to Canadians sharing their stories as as regrettable as it has been for, you know, for these negative impacts that that so many people have endured. You know, many have, you know, have really kind of approached this. And I'd really would like to find out what the what the secret ingredient is, because I think that that could be really encouraging for a lot of Canadians, you know, to to see through the difficulties and look for the opportunities. And and and so anyway, I guess the old expression is that tough times make make good people. So anyway, thanks very, very much.

Karen Kobel:
You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Trish Wood:
Yeah. I'll bet the the dancing for the seniors is something that you will not soon forget and probably is a gift for you, right?

Karen Kobel:
Well, yeah, 100%. Yeah.

Trish Wood:
I know a lot of people wanted to volunteer during the lockdowns and there was no way even to do that for most people. Every rule and regulation prevented the community from rushing in to mitigate. For people who are struggling. It's quite you didn't volunteer to teach you couldn't was really that I think was the frustration for many people who wanted to do good things too. But you found a way, right?

Karen Kobel:
We'll find more.

Trish Wood:
Thank you so much, Karen. Very, very grateful. Good luck to you.

Karen Kobel:
Thank you so much, guys.

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