Seminal Yoga Studio Celebrates 25 Years

Celebrating 25 years, Piedmont Yoga Studio director Richard Rosen reflects on the longevity of this early yoga business.

It might seem like there’s a yoga studio on every corner these days, but 25 years ago yoga studios were rare—even in the thriving yoga market of California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

That’s not the only thing that’s changed in 25 years, says Piedmont Yoga Studio director Richard Rosen. When he founded the studio with Rodney Yee and Clare Finn back in 1987, they weren’t even thinking of it as a business venture.

“When we started Piedmont Yoga, we had no idea about anything,” Rosen said. “No business plan. No mission statement. None of us had any experience running a business. I’m not sure we event thought of the studio as a business.”

They must have known more than they realized because the studio, which launched the careers of many successful yoga teachers including Rosen, Rodney Yee, and Doctor’s Orders blogger Baxter Bell, has been operating for 25 years next month. (There will be an anniversary celebration the weekend of March 24, with a workshop led by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee and free classes for the community.)

So what has been the key to success for this studio? Rosen attributes the school’s success and longevity to a combination a good location and community, good teachers, and a lot of good luck.

We asked Rosen if he has any words of wisdom for new and aspiring yoga studio owners. He doesn’t suggest winging it the way he and his partners did in the early days. “Have a strong business plan,” he advises. “Know where you’re going and where you want to go. Find the best teachers you can. Make accommodations for people usually left out of yoga practice. And be patient. It takes time to build a yoga school.”

It also helps to keep a good sense of humor. “If all else fails, get into real estate,” he jokes.

What do you think is the key to long-term success in the business of yoga?