Today’s question comes from Britt Coughlin in Berkeley. She asked, “How many yoga studios are in San Francisco?” Britt also wanted to know if the yoga economy is actually sustainable, or more like a bubble set to burst.
“It’s just interesting to me. I don’t understand why there are so many and if they’re sustainable or if they’re flourishing.”
To answer this question--well--actually I just googled it. But then my editor informed me I wasn’t trying hard enough, so I cross-referenced the list I got from google with yelp, then I called the treasury department at city hall and got a list of registered yoga businesses from them so I could cross reference again. But as I’m sorting through this massive list of businesses, it hits me: there’s all kinds of places that identify as a “yoga studio.”
I found businesses that taught yoga inside schools, at the spa, in prisons, in office buildings, on Ocean beach and Golden Gate Park, inside climbing gyms, at home as part of prenatal care--there’s even one in a dance studio where they do yoga while hanging from ropes. These places may not be yoga studios all the time, but they’re transformed by the teachers and students who go there, so I counted them.
The number I ended up with was 103. 103--meaning there are about as many yoga studios in San Francisco as there are gas stations. Yes, that is a lot.
To answer the second part of Britt’s question, about the status of the yoga economy, I talked with Joy Ravelli. She’s the founder of Purusha Yoga Studio in the Richmond district of San Francisco.
“There’s a lot more yoga studios now then there were in 2006...I’ve seen a huge rise in yoga studios”
Joy thinks San Franciscans like what’s trendy, and Yoga certainly is trendy these days.
“I think people are looking for something more out of their workout, and yoga does provide that. Even if it’s just chanting om or breathing consciously.”
The numbers back her up. In the last decade 150 yoga related businesses have cropped up in San Francisco, more than doubling the supply. But in that same period 65 yoga-businesses have also closed down, making it a flourishing, but highly competitive market.