Yoga, they say, is a way to transform both your body and your mind; the physical, mental and the spiritual. Perhaps not the most obvious space for an online platform – but it is a €20 billion industry, and Berlin startup Muuyu believes it has the answer.
Founder by yoga teacher Matt Devine, the company aims to redefine how yoga is both practiced and taught online. The platform, which launched this week, allows yoga classes to be held live and in real time via webcam with up to a dozen students at a time, and with instructors from anywhere in the world.
That is different from other online yoga platforms, the startup claims, which only offer classes through pre-recorded videos.
The platform includes teacher and student profiles, class listings, scheduling and a dashboard for users to manage their accounts. A search function enables students to find specific teachers, classes or yoga styles, and once signed up it’s just a matter of logging in at the right time.
There are no contracts of sign-up fees and classes are booked individually, with payment via credit card, PayPal or the Muuyu Wallet, an online version of the class card used at many yoga studio which allows users to add money to their account to be used later.
Devine, a Zimbabwean who was formerly the CEO of Australian mobile content company VAS, said his original vision for Muuyu was as a platform for yoga teachers to grow their businesses by combining scheduling and networking tools with HD video streaming. But later, he added, it developed into a new way for yoga fans to better connect with like-minded people.
“I started off wondering how I could travel the world and continue to connect with my students and practice yoga no matter where I was,” he said. “The online options at the time seemed so limiting until I realised that it wasn’t about accepting or rejecting what was available but in fact redefining it to enable me to make the connections I needed.”
He has optimistic plans for Muuyu and its eight-strong team, with the idea of branching out into other exercise or educational activities, “helping people to redefine their connection to themselves, their technology and the world they are creating around them.”
The aim is to have 10,000 teachers and a million students on the platform within three years. The question is whether casual yoga fans will be persuaded to take it online, if they are not interested in singling out specific teachers etc.