When Yoga House opened in 1997 in Pasadena, California, Farzaneh Noori said they started with the floor.

“I think the studio floor is the biggest investment in the business for yoga studios,” said Noori, the founder of the studio. “It is definitely worth the research and the extra expense to go for the best flooring you can get.”

With the goal to create a beautiful and well-equipped space, Noori said they chose a “floating” floor design. A quarter-inch of foam padding went between the three-quarter inch maple wood flooring and cement base. “This floating arrangement combines the esthetic appeal of the wood and the subtle flexibility of the dense foam padding, making it ideal for supporting the joints in the yoga practice,” said Noori.

In fact, John Safarik, the sports sales manager at Junckers Hardwood, Inc., said the installation floor system for a yoga studio should be “sprung,” or floating at the very least. “These installation methods provide the correct level of resilience to those using the floor,” he explained.

But it does take a lot of consideration when choosing flooring for your studio. As Safarik explained, the right floor can make a big difference to your membership.

When choosing flooring, Safarik noted three primary decision influencers:

Appearance desired

Level of performance needed

Budget

In terms of secondary factors, he said:

Clean-ability

Durability 

Possibly portability

“Because of these factors, typically a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) that looks like wood or real hardwood are at the top of the flooring choice list,” he said. “Although LVT can have an attractive initial price point, the use of real wood floor can actually cost less in the long run.”

He noted real wood sports systems have been designed to provide comfortable, shock absorbing performance levels specific to yoga. They can even sometimes be relocated if your business moves spaces.

Nick Bez, the owner of Haute Barre + Yoga, and a yoga and fitness consultant for Zebra Athletics, said he sees finances as the biggest factor in choosing flooring. “I have worked with hundreds of studio owners and a very real conversation we have is they would like to invest more in flooring or heating or their non-practice spaces, but simply can’t afford to tackle everything at once,” he noted. “Under those circumstances, a cheap, laminate product from a local hardware store is often their Phase One floor.”

For his studio, due to the fact that nearly 60% of the school is full of barre or yoga fusion programming, they went with a thicker, more forgiving floor — one-inch thick Yoga and Fitness Tile from Zebra Athletics. “Were we solely a yoga studio, then I would have considered Zebra’s half inch Yoga and Fitness Tile,” he said.

Once you’ve chosen your floor, Bez said you need to know two things in the installation process: who’s doing it and the basic sense of how it’s being done. He noted a good flooring sales person will work with you on a plan for everything from receiving your flooring to staging it for installation. “From there, a title layout map is always useful for you or your installer to use,” he said. “In many cases, yoga flooring can be managed as a do-it-yourself project if and only if it’s planned well.”

In terms of maintaining and cleaning the floor, Bez said to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Ask your sales rep how to care for the floor, and what processes and solutions are recommended. He did note daily mopping, post-class wiping down and sanitizing are helpful, as is keeping edges and seams clean with a well-placed broom or vacuum.

Over at Yoga House, Noori takes cleaning the studio’s floors seriously. “To keep our wood services beautiful, we dust mop them at least once a day and we are vigilant in our ‘no shoes’ policy in each of our three studios,” said Noori. “For deeper cleaning, we use simple, all-purpose cleaner.”

Safarik said day-to-day maintenance on your floors makes them more forgiving in the long run. “The cleaner the floor is kept, the better it will look and the longer it will last,” he said.

But one of the greatest challenges to maintaining floors has to do with those using it. “For maintenance, one of the greatest challenges can be training your staff and students to respect the rules of your practice area floor, as they are typically different from how most people engage with a service or retail provider,” he noted.

Whether it’s installing a new floor, or maintaining the one you’ve had for 10 years, remember your business begins at the ground level.