You may have seen a few weeks ago a survey that included yoga among the fastest growing industries, along with self-tanning products and hot sauce. (I leave it up to you to decide what that means about America.)
Well, according to a story this week at the Washington Post, there’s a downside to all this growth: The competition can choke off established studios, especially ones that have a narrow range of classes or offer a limited choice in yoga styles.
Yes, an Ashtanga studio gets center attention:
Already, Schumacher looks around the yoga landscape and sees many studios scraping by and on the verge of closing. Several seem likely to follow the lead of Ashtanga Yoga Center in Tenleytown, which is shutting down May 31. The studio, founded by David Ingalls in 1997, was once the only place in the city to do Ashtanga, as well as the morning Mysore practices the style is known for.
A few reasons factored into Ingalls’s decision, including the $50,000 a year he has been paying in rent and the increased difficulty of attracting students to a specific form of yoga. “Every time a new studio opened up, there was some attrition. One or two people would say, ‘That’s right in my neighborhood,’ ” Ingalls explains.
The other problem? His landlord let a second studio, Hot Yoga, move into the same building in October.
Adding to the pressure are low-cost coupon options, such as Groupon and Living Social. They encourage students to “studio hop” — a phenomena I’ve absolutely heard about here in Los Angeles. Another problem: all the teacher trainings offered now, which create competition as the number of teachers grows.
I wonder if this sounds counter-intuitive to people, especially that it is hard to maintain enough “customers” if you specialize. I’m no business expert, but if you can do something better than anyone else and get enough people in the door… well, you’d think you’d be OK. You might think that would help you stand out from the yoga crowd. And that there would be enough hardcore Ashtangis (are those words redundant?) to keep a dedicated studio going at this point.
So, if you were thinking about opening an Ashtanga studio… maybe think twice.
Posted by Steve