Have you dreamed about starting your own yoga studio? If you’re passionate about yoga and are considering starting a yoga studio, this proven blueprint will guide you through the process of opening a thriving yoga studio step-by-step.
We will go into in-depth detail about everything you will need to know to start a yoga studio. Bookmark this guide as you will find information that will be relevant at different stages of your journey.
Each step outlined in this guide is crucial to the success of your yoga studio, and I’ll guide you through the most efficient ways to tackle the obstacles along the way.
Why Open A Yoga Studio?
Yoga is a thriving industry. Attendance has reached unprecedented levels; people spend more money on yoga classes, and growth is prominent in all age demographics. In addition, online yoga classes have become mainstream, expanding the market for people looking to practice yoga.
- The average yogi will spend $62,000+ on yoga in their lifetime.
- 36M Americans practice yoga regularly.
- The number of practitioners has exploded, with online yoga becoming mainstream and easily accessible.
Whether you plan to offer in-person classes, live streams, on-demand classes, or a hybrid model, you face a huge demand for your offering.
However, as the demand has increased, the supply of yoga studios and yoga teachers has grown exponentially. Therefore, it is essential to assess whether a yoga studio can be a profitable venture before proceeding. We will explore this aspect later in this guide.
Starting A Yoga Studio – Expert Tips From Yoga Studio Owners
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of starting a yoga studio, it is helpful to learn from the experiences of other successful yoga studio owners. So we spoke to Juliet and Jamie King, and they had excellent tips for new yoga studio owners.
Juliet owns and operates Yoga With Juliet, a small yoga studio in London. Apart from teaching students, Juliet also helps companies with their well-being projects.
- You have to want it, love what you do, and have a very clear WHY. Setting up a studio is a huge undertaking, both financially and mentally, and you will undoubtedly run into challenges at some point on the journey. Passion and joy for what you are creating will see you through these times and get you out of the other side stronger.
- Don’t give anything away for free. If people want to come to your studio, they will pay for your services and become loyal clients. Freebies and tasters often attract people who like freebies and tasters and, in my experience, rarely turn into regular clients.
- Set good Ts&Cs from the start. Set clear conditions around cancellation notice, class costs, start times, etc. Have clear boundaries from the beginning so that the business side of things is taken care of, and you can get on with running the studio’s more personal side.
- Don’t try to please everyone. Make your studio the space and experience you are passionate about and proud to offer to the world.
Jamie King is one of the founders of Flex & Flow, a global movement community, and owner of Flex & Flow PDX, their flagship yoga and fitness studio in Portland, OR.
- The first year (or two!) will be challenging. In the first two years, it’s all about establishing your brand, voice, and style – and it is not easy. The yoga market is competitive, and you need to know your differentiators if you want to stand out.
- Get ready to live and breathe marketing. Owning a yoga studio isn’t just about teaching yoga – you can be a great teacher, but nobody will know you exist without marketing chops (or good marketing help).
- Recruiting the right teachers. Recruiting the right instructors is surprisingly tricky and can, unfortunately, require some trial and error. Having the right teachers sets the tone for your studio – it’ll make or break the experience for your students – so it’s critical then to find teachers that fit your studio’s culture.
- Beware the coupon shoppers! Be mindful of how you offer intro specials and discounts for your services. You have to be careful not to overly discount your classes to set expectations with your clients from day one. Know your worth and stick to it.
The key takeaways from our conversation with Juliet and Jamie King
- Don’t give away your services for free, and don’t entertain discount shoppers
- Have a real passion for the business of yoga
1. Yoga studio profitability
Yoga studios are a profitable venture with 15-30% profit margins. The profit margins are further increasing with the wide adoption of online yoga classes. With online-only yoga studios, the profit margins can be as high as 50%.
I have written a guide where I have explored the factors that affect the profitability of yoga studios: Are yoga studios profitable? The guide also includes a yoga studio profit calculator you can use to assess the profitability of your yoga studio.
The profitability of your yoga studio will depend on the following key factors:
- Total number of active students/members
- Revenues v/s expenses split (your margin)
- Pricing structure (value-based pricing)
- Space utilization
- Community engagement
2. Yoga Studio Owner Salary
On average, a yoga studio owner makes $86,000/year, and a yoga studio with 100-200 active members per month can generate six figures in income for the yoga studio owner.
I have written a detailed article on how much do yoga studio owners make. In the article, I have provided a model you can use to project your earnings if you own a yoga studio.
3. Cost Of Opening A Yoga Studio
The cost of starting a yoga studio ranges from $15,000 to $1,000,000. The key factors affecting the cost of starting a yoga studio are the size, the location, and the customer segment of the yoga studio.
I have written a guide on the cost of opening a yoga studio. In this guide, I break down the exact costs that are involved in starting a yoga studio. You can use this guide to project the cost of starting your yoga studio.
The direct costs of starting a yoga studio are:
- Lease/rent deposit
- Yoga studio software & Website
- Insurance & Legal
- Launch Event
4. Certification Required To Teach Yoga
You can teach yoga without certification as the yoga industry does not enforce qualification requirements. However, having the registered yoga teacher (RYT) certification will give you credibility as a yoga teacher. Besides, most yoga studios will only hire yoga teachers with RYT certifications.
In my teaching yoga without certification guide, I provide a detailed breakdown of the certifications available and the time and cost investment required to get certified if you choose to do so.
5. Licenses Required To Start A Yoga Studio
There are no specific licensing requirements to start a yoga studio. However, if you operate in a physical location, you will need the necessary commercial, health, and safety licenses. Online, mobile, and in-person yoga teachers are free to teach clients and charge for lessons as long as they pay their associated taxes.
Both yoga teachers and yoga studios will need insurance. I have written a detailed guide on the insurance requirements for yoga teachers. This guide explores the insurance coverage you need and the plans available if you teach yoga.
Additionally, every yoga studio will need to purchase liability insurance. Each business requires liability insurance to avoid lawsuits and the liability that comes associated with running a business. Certain insurance companies offer yoga liability insurance for yoga studios. If you can’t find yoga liability insurance, purchase commercial liability insurance for businesses.
Note: There are additional music license requirements if your yoga studio plays or streams copyrighted music.
6. Name Your Yoga Business
To name your yoga business, follow these simple guidelines:
- Use yogic themes and keywords
- Combine words to create a unique name
- Avoid using your name unless you are an influencer with a significant following
In my guide on naming your yoga business, I explore the three key stages you will go through when naming your yoga business. I discuss the entire process of:
- Identifying the name for your yoga business
- Creating a brand identity and online assets
- Registrations and trademarks
7. The Ideal Size Of Your Yoga Studio
You will need to provide 7 feet by 2.5 feet per member. Additionally, you will need to maintain 2.5 feet to 3 feet of distance between yoga mats. The standard size of an average yoga studio room is 20 feet by 20 feet and can accommodate 15 people.
I have visited yoga studios, collected data, and written a guide on how big a yoga studio should be. In the guide, I explore all things you will need to know before deciding on the ideal size of your yoga studio.
8. Choosing Your Yoga Studio Location
Choose a location for your yoga studio that meets the following criteria:
- Is located within the community you serve
- Convenient to get to for your members and teachers
- Ideally, away from big box yoga and fitness chains, serving the local community
- It fits your budget and attracts your target demographic
In my guide, the best place to open a yoga studio, I explore these four criteria in detail. I would encourage you to review the guide before choosing a location for your yoga studio.
9. The Right Decor & Aesthetic For Your Yoga Studio
The primary elements influencing the decor and aesthetic of your yoga studio will be:
- The color of your yoga studio
- The flooring, furnishing, and accessories
- The lighting
In my article on yoga studio decor, I go in-depth into the process of making sure your yoga studio decor is perfect every time. I explore how to choose the right color, accessorize with intent and declutter.
10. Choosing The Right Color For Your Yoga Studio
We polled 100 yoga studios and found that the most popular colors for yoga studios were shades of purple and lighter shades of pink. However, the color you choose for your yoga studio should reflect your branding, aesthetic and be appropriate for your target clientele.
In my article on what color to paint a yoga studio, I reveal the “most popular colors to paint a yoga studio” poll results and explore the link between yoga, chakras, and color.
11. Choosing The Right Yoga Studio Flooring
When it comes to yoga studio flooring, you have multiple options to choose from based on the level of activity and the modality you teach. The primary options are:
- Reclaimed wood
- Engineered wood
For a detailed analysis of the different yoga studio flooring options and to find which flooring option would be the best for your studio, review my yoga studio flooring guide.
12. Heaters For Your Yoga Studio
Heating can be a significant differentiator for your yoga studio, mainly if your studio specializes in hot yoga. When choosing the right heating option for your yoga studio, take into account the following critical criteria:
- The energy source (gas vs. electric)
- Space heaters vs. central heating
- Heating type (forced-air vs. baseboard vs. radiant/infrared)
- Costs, including the “hidden costs.”
- Quality of the insulation in your building
- Length of the system warranty
- The durability of your heater
Head over to my guide on heaters for yoga studios for a detailed breakdown of the different heating options and how you should choose the right heating option for your yoga studio.
13. Plants For Your Yoga Studio
Plants will play a role in differentiating the aesthetic and decor of your yoga studio. If you do consider having plants in your yoga studio, there are five groups from which I suggest you choose:
- Large plants
- Low-maintenance plants
- Spice garden plants
- Air purifying plants
- Plants with calming properties
In my article, 41 best plants for your yoga studio, I provide a list of plants you can consider for your yoga studio. The list is across the five categories outlined above and will be a good starting point for your search.
14. Music For Your Yoga Class
Whether you prefer yoga classes with or without music, you must understand the licensing requirements for the music you play in your yoga studio. Playing music in your yoga studio without the proper music license can lead to significant fines.
Review my guide on music in yoga studios. I have provided detailed information on the music licensing requirements and explored the pros and cons of conducting yoga classes with or without music.
15. Candles For Your Yoga Studio
Choose candles that are scented and non-toxic with a long burn time for your yoga studio. The scent of the candles you choose will depend on the type of yoga class and on other incenses and aromas that you might use.
If you decide to use candles in your yoga studio, you will find my guide on choosing suitable candles for your yoga studio helpful. In the guide, I take you through choosing the right candles and scents for your yoga studio.
16. Incense, Scents & Essential Oils For Your Yoga Studio
Yoga studios have an alluring smell, and you can recreate the typical yoga studio smell by choosing Japanese or Tibetan-style incenses. The usual essential oils that yoga studios use are:
- Rose oil
In my guide on incenses, scents, and essential oils for yoga studios, I explore:
- Incense vs. essential oils for yoga studios
- Incense buying guide for yoga studios
- Why essential oils are popular in yoga studios
- Health benefits of essential oils
- Top 10 essential oils for yoga classes
- How to apply essential oils in your yoga studio
17. Common Ways Yoga Studios Pay Teachers
If you start a yoga studio, eventually, you will have other yoga teachers teaching at your yoga studio. Yoga studios use three main models to pay their teachers:
- Paying flat rate wages by the hour or per class
- Wages paid based on the number of students in attendance.
- Flat rate wages + bonus payments for new students attending the class
When you start your yoga studio, you will most likely work with freelance yoga instructors who also teach at other studios and may have their practice as well. Finding suitable employment and payment model can help differentiate your yoga studio and help you attract the top yoga teachers to your yoga studio.
I have covered yoga teacher employment and payment options in further detail in my guide on the common ways yoga studios pay teachers. I also explore which payment model might be the best option for your yoga studio.
18. Yoga Studio Marketing
Every successful yoga studio owner knows that a significant portion of your job as a yoga studio owner will be to market your studio and services. Marketing your yoga studio involves the following key aspects:
- Building your brand
- Community building
- Digital marketing
- Local SEO
In my ultimate guide on yoga studio marketing, I provide a step-by-step approach to market a new yoga studio and attract your first members. You can use the guide as a starting point for your marketing plan.
19. Starting A Yoga Studio In A Small Town
Opening a yoga studio in a small town will have its unique challenges. The primary challenge of opening a yoga studio in a small town is running into scaling issues. There are a limited number of customers, and you must rely on community-building tactics to attract your members and differentiate from the competition.
Review this article on starting a yoga studio in a small town to understand the creative marketing tactics you can use to build a thriving yoga studio in a small town.
20. Starting A Non-profit Yoga Studio
If you are driven by teaching others and spreading the knowledge of yoga, you could consider starting a non-profit or donation-based yoga studio. In a donation-based yoga studio, you offer free yoga classes, and your students can choose to pay you what they want for your lessons.
Technology today makes it easy to start a donation-based yoga studio and manage donations. Your donation-based yoga studio can be for-profit or non-profit.
In my guide on starting a donation-based yoga studio, you will find all the information you need to start and operate a donation-based non-profit yoga studio. I also explore the reasons why you might want to consider starting a not-for-profit yoga studio.
21. Yoga Studio Grand Opening
Once you have set the groundwork for opening your yoga studio, launching with a grand opening is a great way to attract the initial group of members to your yoga studio. Make the initial grand opening launch event an essential step in the opening of your yoga studio.
In the yoga studio grand opening ideas article, I explore the top 10 tried and tested grand opening ideas for yoga studios. Some of the ideas explored are:
- Hold a soft opening
- Conduct a free yoga lesson
- Host a charity event
- Offer freebies
- Invite local celebrities
- Hire a band
- Offer guided tours
- Hold competition games with prizes
- Offer kid-friendly treats
- Finish off with fireworks
22. Why Yoga Studios Fail
The majority of new businesses, including yoga studios, will fail within the first five years of starting. Before you embark on the journey of starting your yoga studio, you must study the main reasons why yoga studios fail to succeed.
In my essential guide, I cover 22 top reasons why yoga studios fail. In the guide, I go into detail about each failure. The reasons for failure that I cover are:
- Lack of delegation
- Inability to handle competitive threats
- Not able to attract new students
- Difficulty retaining existing members
- Not consistent in your yoga studio offering
- Classes are not fresh and challenging
- Not being able to attract and retain good yoga teachers
- Losing your passion for yoga
- Treating your yoga studio as a hobby and not as a business
- Not being able to manage cash flow
- Not prioritizing legal contracts and company accounts
- Wrong location or rent is too high
- Not knowing your business KPIs
- Failing to identify and follow trends in the industry
- Lack of business partnerships
- Expanding to multiple locations too quickly
- Failure to manage your brand and customer reviews
- Lack of a community
- Bad business partner
- Failure to manage your expectations and plan accordingly
- Not utilizing commercial debt when necessary
- Not investing in automation and software when necessary
23. Yoga Studio Franchises
Yoga studio franchises are viable options for starting your yoga studio with an established franchise’s know-how and brand recognition. If you have the investment capital, yoga studio franchises are a great way to bypass the difficult start-up phase of your yoga studio journey.
The yoga studio franchise essential guide covers the investment requirements to start a yoga studio associated with a franchise. I also rank the top 10 yoga studio franchises for studio owners looking to start their own yoga studio.
24. Choosing A Yoga Studio Scheduling Software
Choose a yoga studio scheduling software that is aligned with your needs. If you are starting a new yoga studio choose a simple and easy-to-use scheduling software. There are 100’s of yoga studio scheduling software products offering hundreds of features that you will never use. Pick a simple and powerful system over an over-engineered feature behemoth with a big price tag.
I have written a buyer’s guide for yoga studio scheduling software. If you are in the market for a new yoga studio software do review my guide to navigate the process of reviewing and choosing the right software for your yoga studio.
This ultimate guide on opening your yoga studio covers every aspect of your journey to starting your yoga studio. Throughout this guide, I have linked out to free articles and guides exploring the topics outlined in this guide. Bookmark this guide and return to it often as you go through your journey of starting your yoga studio.
One crucial aspect of your journey will be choosing your yoga studio software. I invite you to explore StudioGrowth and see how we can help you manage and grow your yoga business.
I write abouT establishing and Growing your boutique Fitness/Wellness Business. I promise no spam, I hate spam.
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About the author
Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness and wellness industry.
Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set-up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently resides in London, U.K.