As our 21st century lifestyles become increasingly complicated, people are getting back to basics. Enter yoga, a 5,000-year-old practice seeking physical and spiritual enlightenment and drawing widespread devotees. IDEA Health & Fitness Association's Trendwatch 2001 highlights yoga as one fitness program showing the greatest increase in participation, and its proven benefits in health prevention and healing has many flocking to the yoga studios.
Mark and Kim Morrison, owners of Yoga Studio in Costa Mesa, California, left their respective jobs as attorney and teacher in 1995 to open up their studio with $25,000. Specializing in Bikram yoga, their 2001 revenue reached $250,000, with business increasing 20 percent annually. "People's whole perspective on life is shifting toward more authentic lifestyles," says Mark. "They're looking for a little peace."
Larry Payne, co-founder and director of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, says $100,000 is ideal for starting your own studio and points to "yoga therapy," teaching yoga to people with special needs, as the future of the yoga industry. And he's not the only one convinced of yoga's appeal: According to Yoga Journal, there are approximately 20 million practitioners in the United States alone. -April Pennington