How much yoga and Pilates can a city do? Apparently quite a bit.
True Yoga and Fitness on Fourteenth Street and Re:form Studio at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons are the latest additions to a plethora of options for practicing yoga and Pilates in Traverse City.
These new studios join Yen Yoga and Fitness, Shanti School of Yoga, Crooked Tree Yoga and Therapy, Pure Pilates, Bikram Yoga Traverse City, Yoga for Health Education, The Center for Body Awareness Pilates Studio, Village Pilates, and Yoga on the Beach – a mix of long-established studios and newer studios on the block in Traverse City.
The city’s “yoga movement” began gradually, but, following national trends, has experienced a recent burst in new business.
Margaret Magner says she’s seen a “real awakening” to yoga by the community since she first opened Crooked Tree Yoga and Therapy in 1998 in Acme.
According to the “Yoga in America” study released at the end of last year, around 20 million Americans now practice yoga. With an average annual increase of yoga practitioners at nearly 30 percent over the past five years, yoga classes and merchandise have become a $10 billion industry. Pilates has seen similar national rates of growth.
Brandon Kietzman knew when he opened his Bikram Yoga studio on Garfield Avenue in 2005, “that the town was ready and needed something like this.” To date, he says 11,000 people have walked through his doors.
When Yen Yoga and Fitness opened in a large, visible space on downtown TC’s Front Street in 2010, it was a significant indicator that yoga practice was indeed live and well in the community.
But as more yoga studios opened, specialization was the next natural step.
“We wanted to provide a space and community where people can go on their own yoga journey,” says Lesley Rain O’Dwyer of opening Shanti School of Yoga in March 2012, with a focus on yoga spirituality. “We teach how to connect mind, body, and spirit.”
While some may wonder about the potential for over saturating the market, new business operators aren’t concerned.
Jodi Soper, owner of the new True Yoga and Fitness, says the goal of her studio is to make yoga more accessible to people uncertain about the practice.
“It doesn’t have that same stigma it once had,” says Soper. “Yoga has become mainstream through an evolution with fusions of many different types.”
She, along with fellow newer business operators, agree that the success lies in specializations as well as the many different reasons—physical and mental—that people seek these practices, and that trend will continue to grow.
“Yoga has something to offer for everyone and the best part is that it is accessible to everyone,” says Renee Clark, a manager at Yen Yoga. “The trend is nationwide and northern Michigan is a prime example.”