Yoga studios thrive in recesson

June 23, 2009 3:45:44 PM PDT
Even though we're in a recession, some industries are booming. And one of them is yoga studios.When it seems everything is crumbling around you, people often tend to look inward for ways of coping. And yoga, it appears, is one of those ways. Yoga doesn't just help people cope, it can also be transformative.

Elena Brower has a strong following. But these days, her classes at Virayoga are packed, with barely any space between the mats.

"Tuesdays and Thursdays are swelling to about 70 people," Brower said. "That's a lot of people."

Some sneak out of work, but others find themselves there because they're not working.

"I don't have a steady job," one man said. "So I do a lot of yoga."

Job loss is the collateral damage from the recession, but for many, doing more downward dogs is a major plus.

"I dread going back to work," he said. "I want to live a healthier life, a more relaxed life. So I want more yoga and less work."

He is one of the nearly 350 new students who recently started going to Virayoga.

And down the street, Yoga Works just opened its sixth New York studio and third new studio nationwide since January.

At 13,000 square feet, and with three yoga studios, it's a big financial investment. But it is one that CEO Phil Swain thinks will pay off.

"A lot of people are only purchasing what's a necessity," he said. "We really believe that yoga is a necessity. It's a lifestyle, it's their health and wellness, it's community, and, frankly, it's entertainment. So we've seen activity up."

So while people are still shying away from spending money on material items, dropping nearly $20 on a yoga class is money well spent.

"It creates that relaxation, that sense of well-being, and I think it's really helpful in these times," Swain said.

Yoga certainly won't solve your financial woes, but...

"It will give you the confidence, the strenght, the fortitude, so that you can see what it is that needs to be done right now, what's next," Brower said.

And more time on a yoga mat means less time out shopping or feeling bad about what you can or can't afford.

For more information on Virayoga, visit

For more on Yoga Works, visit



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