Wear this! Open your yoga studio here!

What are the two most important things in yoga?

Not what you think.

Who doesn't love yoga pants? Via thisnext.com

Perhaps your answer is wrapped within a nondualistic perspective on the world. (“Not 2, only 1!”) Maybe you’re trying to choose the top two limbs of Ashtanga. Could you be thinking of your favorite two yoga sutras?

All good possibilities, but we know what they really are.

What you’re wearing. And when you’re going to open your own studio.

At least, that feels like the gist of things from today’s yoga and Ashtanga news.

First, for those of you who have been eyeing that empty space next to the organic pet food store, hold tight. I know opening your dream studio seems like a good idea… only problem? You are not alone. From the CNN Money, of all places:

Compared to other small businesses, yoga studios have fairly low operating costs, according to a recent industry report by IBISWorld. For the most part, studio owners need to keep the lights on and the teachers paid.

[snip]

The yoga and Pilates studio industry is expected to hit $6.5 billion in 2011, according to IBISWorld. Between 2006 and 2011, the expected average annual sales growth is 9.5%, the report said. And the number of yoga and Pilates studios will reach 25,558 in 2011, representing a 7.5% estimated annual growth rate.

“The large majority of yoga and Pilates studios are just one location,” said Caitlin Moldvay, an analyst at IBISWorld. One of the biggest players in the market is CorePower, which has 50 locations across five states. But even CorePower only accounts for 0.5% of the market overall. Other larger players include Dahn Yoga and YogaWorks.

[snip]

The competition is stiff for an industry based on flexibility: More studios are popping up around the country. Waves of layoffs have motivated disgruntled employees to become yoga entrepreneurs. “People are losing jobs and looking for next careers,” said Dayna Macy, the managing editor of the international editions of Yoga Journal. “Some people have always dreamt of being a yoga teacher.”

The rise in studios and the fact that more health clubs and gyms are adding yoga to their rosters will curb revenue growth. Over the next five years, sales will only grow by an average annual rate of 5% per year, hitting $8.3 billion in 2016, said IBISWorld.

So, what to do? Well, I hate to break this to all of you reading from New York or Yogastania (Santa Monica, thanks Peter!), but you’re going to have to move… to that big part of the country you try to ignore. It’s either east or west of you: “The majority of studios cluster along the coasts in major cities. ‘We are going to see more operators expanding to the Southeast and the Great Lakes region, which represent relatively untapped regions as of now,’ said Moldvay of IBISWorld.”

OK, so once you decide you have to follow your dream and move to Athens, Ga. (see, it won’t be so bad!), what are you going to do to make your studio stand out? You’ll address the other main “branch” of yoga: clothing!

This piece from Seminole Heights Patch (hint… Seminole, Fla. is in the Southeast, and there must be some yoga interest there) gives a “Dressing 101” for its readers. LowHighlights:

For women: Your sports bra should feel comfortable. A lot of athletic tops have built-in bras and only support you well if you wear a C cup or below. For larger sizes, a couple of good sports bras will be well worth your investment. I have sports bras that cost $15, and others that cost $50. As long as it makes you feel comfortable and supported, there are bras to choose from in almost every price range. Underwear should feel nonexistent, so a thong or bikini-cut style is a good choice.

For men: I asked several male friends what is most comfortable during yoga, and nine out of 10 recommended boxer briefs. I am no expert on how uncomfortable some postures can become when wearing the wrong underwear, but I have heard horror stories about painful binding and public exposure. Look for support and comfort when when choosing your yoga undergarments.

[snip]

For women: Fitted capri-style pants are what I see being worn most often in the studios. I like a long, fitted pant that has a comfortable waistband. I tend to stay away from pants that need a drawstring to tighten because it’s annoying when the tie comes undone in the middle of a vinyasa.

For men: I have noticed and have been told that loose, long shorts or fitted capri-style pants seem to be the most comfortable. Shorts are tricky for men and women, so I suggest again that you do some poses in the shorts to determine whether you are comfortable in them and whether they are appropriate for your style of yoga.

It goes on to talk tops and unitards; can I quickly put in a plug for unitards? I think that would be so awesome to practice in a room where everyone was wearing unitards. White ones, especially.

Now, since I just gave you all that mental yoga candy, you can clean off your palette with the yogic equivalent of a kale / celery / dandelion / parsley smoothie.

Here’s the transcript to a lengthy piece from, I think, Australia — ABC Radio National. It hits bhatki, kirtan but also has a few mentions of Ashtanga. If you’ve got the time.

Here’s the summary (and here’s the link):

Once derided as a fringe activity in the West, yoga is now mainstream, part of the health and well-being industry, and practised by tens of millions worldwide. But as it’s moved into the gyms and fitness clubs, yoga’s spiritual teachings have often been left behind, a trend now being reversed by a new generation seeking to revive the spirituality of yoga.

I promise it is not like the two stories above!

Posted by Steve

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Think there are enough yoga studios already?

Well, think again.

According to a blog post at the Wall St. Journal, a new economic study suggests that opening a yoga or Pilates studio is a good idea right now. Growth in this area is expected to average 5% over the next five years.

Admittedly, though, before you go out and rent that space you’ve been eyeing, the report says that for the past five years, revenue growth (in sales, etc.) has been close to an average of 10% per year.

I may be math-challenged, but that sounds like a slowdown to me, albeit still pretty solid growth. Profit margins are supposed to bump a little, from 12.2% this year to 12.7% in 2016.

That’s a lot of external prana! So, yeah, next time you talk to your yoga teacher, you can figure he or she is way out-performing your 401K investments.

One of the key pieces to the recent growth has been a switch from single-class purchases by students to monthly and yearly memberships. Less per class, but more commitment.

And who can’t use more commitment in their lives?

Posted by Steve