It’s hard to pinpoint just how saturated the yoga market is. But there are at least 60 yoga teachers within 40 miles of Charlottesville in Yoga Alliance’s online directory alone, and 26 boutique fitness studios listed at Lululemon, a purveyor of upscale activewear.
According to 2016 research by Yoga Alliance, 28 percent of Americans had done yoga. Of those, 45 percent prefer to do it in a studio. That all translates into maybe 11,000 locals who might be interested in paying for yoga.
A two-room studio probably needs 250 to 300 regular clients to provide an owner a “comfortable lifestyle,” according to Kuecker’s calculations. And, she said, only 15 percent of people who buy introductory packages become long-term clients.
Some enterprising yoga instructors, such as Shannon McElroy and Catherine McMahon, sidestep this math by creating their own class offerings outside the studio setting.
McElroy teaches “Pints and Poses,” a monthly class at Random Row Brewery. For $10, students get a Hatha-style yoga class and a pint of beer.
“We’re not actually drinking beer in my class,” she said. “I like to focus on yoga and then enjoy the aftermath — the beer part — afterwards.”
She also teaches a few yoga classes at ACAC and is a part-time nurse.