Being a yoga studio owner is a balancing act. There are bills to be paid, schedules to manage, inventory to keep stocked and the list goes on. With everything being an owner entails, how do you find time for your personal practice?
“You have to be really careful to stay committed to being a student and taking class, or having your own practice at home, otherwise it just becomes a business like any other,” said Jessica Bellofatto, the owner of KamaDeva Yoga in East Hampton, New York.
Bellofatto founded KamaDeva Yoga in 2009. A small studio, it takes pride in offering high-quality teachers and boasting a tight-knit community. In fact, the community is one of the key ways Bellofatto attracts and keeps great teachers.
“It has a really sweet community, kind of a small town vibe,” said Bellofatto. “The local students are very loyal, they’re very committed. They come five days a week, and the studio just has a really nice, warm feeling and the teachers appreciate that.”
Like managing her personal practice, managing the schedule has also been a balancing act. Because the studio resides in the East Hamptons, which is pricey, it has been a challenge to figure out the right ratio between membership prices, number of teachers and classes per day.
“Everything is kind of inflated out here and I don’t want to have inflated prices, so that’s been a challenge from Day One really,” said Bellofatto. “I’ve had to get a little creative. I’ve actually had to have less teachers and less classes with slightly more people in them … When there’s less classes on the schedule for students to choose from, they don’t necessarily like that, but now they kind of get it, because that is what works.”
In addition, Bellofatto has turned to workshops and trainings as a second source of revenue. For example, because one of their teachers specializes in restorative yoga, the studio will host a 2.5-hour workshop surrounding that curriculum. And, KamaDeva Yoga also asks teachers nationwide to come and teach special classes.
“It’s a labor of love I would say,” said Bellofatto. “You have to really love it, because it is time consuming to own a yoga studio. I kind of do a little of everything.”
To continue to find balance as a business owner and personally, Bellofatto explained she makes a conscious effort to find time to unplug. “There has to become a commitment to closing the computer, turning off the screen, not being on social media and not strategizing ways to grow your business,” she said. “Just make sure you take time for your own practice, and that gets translated to everybody else as well.”