Family fun: Nevada County family makes yoga videos while under stay-at-home order
Once shelter-in-place orders went into effect, the Szabo family’s life completely changed.
Both parents suddenly lost their sources of income. Kristi Szabo is a hairstylist at a Nevada City salon and Ashton Szabo is a yoga teacher at a Grass Valley studio. Their daughter, Sequoia, an 8-year-old second grader at Nevada City School of the Arts, would need to be home schooled. Overnight, the family found themselves sequestered in their Alta Sierra home for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.
Welcome to the new normal.
But as the hours and days passed, the family of three began thinking of ways to make daily life more interesting, and possibly reach out to others who might be feeling bored, isolated or down. Having produced online yoga and meditation classes and trainings in the past, Ashton had already amassed some fairly sophisticated video and sound equipment. That was a good place to start.
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“I realized that every yoga teacher was now putting things online due to COVID-19,” said Ashton. “But we wanted to do something different — something fun where parents could be creative with their kids — and kids could be silly. Our intention was also to get people moving and to play together as a family.”
MAKE IT FUN
Through their production company, “Happy hOMe Productions,” the Szabo trio has since created a series of fun and whimsical videos on YouTube, some geared for children, and others designed for the whole family. While Kristi is in charge of hair, make up and wardrobe, Ashton and Sequoia collaborate on developing each story line and oversee the technical aspect, including fun special effects. Mostly using a set format, each video opens with a plot line and is followed by a yoga posture lesson. The two are then linked together during the final segment.
Examples include “Super Hero Yoga,” “Pirate Yoga,” “Ballet Yoga,” “Easter Bunny Yoga,” “The Story of Ganesha and Murugan,” “The Cul-De-Sac Fighter” and the Twilight Zone-inspired video, “The Corona Zone: The Monster is Due on Altawood Way.”
A recent favorite is “The Joy of Yoga and Rob Boss with Rob Boss … and Rob Boss,” featuring the Szabo three dressed up as Bob Ross, the American painter, art instructor and television host. Sequoia, Kristi and Ashton all appear sporting Ross’s signature beard and permed hair. Ross was the creator and host of “The Joy of Painting,” an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS. Two videos still in production include a spoof on the movie, “Groundhog Day” and another based on Richard Simmons, the fitness guru most notably known for his “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” line of aerobics videos. Most of the Szabo family videos can be found on Ashton’s Facebook page (Ashton Szabo) or on Happy hOMe Productions’ website at http://www.hahopro.com.
A FAMILY BONDING EXPERIENCE
Despite missing her friends and being confined to her home, no one appears more enthusiastic about the video series than 8-year-old Sequoia.
“They are so fun,” she said. “I get to spend time with my family — and we get to dress up!”
Ashton couldn’t agree more.
“Working with Sequoia on production and film composition has been a learning experience for us both — she’s been very proactive,” he said. “We love sharing these videos with the community. The response has been amazing, especially from the parents. They tell us that their kids sometimes want to watch a video 10 times. This is a wonderful way for families to connect. Hopefully this inspires other parents to do weird, fun stuff with their own kids. For us, we just feel blessed to be together during this time.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4203.
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