Yoga studios are primarily individually owned, in part because there are so many different styles of yoga that are adjusted for the local clients. With the expansion of two yoga chains into Massachusetts in the past two years, a shift in ownership method is beginning to occur.
Back Bay Yoga Studio on Boylston Street – renamed to YogaWorks Back Bay – and Sweat and Soul Yoga on Commonwealth Avenue – now YogaWorks Allston – have been acquired by YogaWorks for an undisclosed amount, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based chain said Wednesday.
Founded in 1987 and now known for its Teacher Training program, YogaWorks has 40 YogaWorks studios in Southern and Northern California, New York, and Boston. All locations are owned by Boston-based Great Hill Partners, which bought YogaWorks in 2014 for $45 million from Highland Capital Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"We really believe that we do a good job of integration and bringing in other studios," YogaWorks chief executive Phil Swain said. Acquisitions "let us pick up a lot of teachers, students, and existing studios in the market."
Since less than 10 percent of the population practices yoga, Swain said, the market is not yet saturated. Ten years ago, there were trepidations about the workout method, but it is slowly becoming more common.
"When you look at the state of health and stress in our country, we are delivering an answer to that. What's changing is how that practice is delivered," now that the mystery of yoga has lessened, Swain said.
CorePower Yoga is YogaWorks' biggest competitor in developing a nationwide presence. Started in Denver, Colo., in 2002, there are 104 studios across the US, as of September 2014. Cambridge was host to the first location in Massachusetts in 2013, and there are now two additional studios in Boston and Medford.
Swain said while a level one class in Back Bay and in Santa Monica might not be the exact same because instructors customize their class, students can expect the consistency of good instructors who engage with the class.