Bend & stretch
By Catherine Ho,
The popularity of yoga has prompted some studios to devise unique business models to differentiate themselves in this crowded field.
After months of management changes, Stroga, the nearly 2-year-old hybrid yoga studio in Adams Morgan, is starting to catch on.
“When I came on [in June 2011], Stroga wasn’t really that well respected in the yoga community,” said Angela Meyer, yoga and programs director at Stroga. “Now, we have a name.”
Stroga, the brainchild of Results Gym owner Doug Jefferies, is a cross between yoga and strength training. The studio, housed in the three-story L’Aiglon Building, has added classes for kickboxing, capoeira and budokon — a blend of yoga, martial arts and animal movements — and this year will start a new teacher training program.
Revenue has grown by 50 percent and membership has doubled between 2010 and 2011.
The studio’s core team consists of Meyer, a general manager, accountant and assistant yoga director, and 10 part-time front office staff. And it faces the same challenges as any burgeoning business looking to grow and evolve, including turnover — Stroga is on its third general manager and second yoga director. Managers also sometimes have had a difficult time finding top talent in a market filled with independent yoga instructors and successful studios.
Jefferies first tried to hire Meyer as his yoga director last year, but at the time she had a noncompete contract with Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown, where she taught and managed for years. Meyer then moved to New York for a year, returned to Washington in June and promptly accepted the job at Stroga, which she says brought new opportunities to create and develop programs on her own terms.
“I really wanted to start a budokon program,” Meyer said. “I also wanted to be able to teach budokon, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that at Down Dog. At Stroga, Doug trusts me, and he’s given me so much freedom to create.”
Stroga strives to become a community hub, and partners with the nonprofit Mission: Results to promote social and economic development in Haiti. The studio hosts donation-based Sunday night classes where all proceeds go to Mission: Results, and is organizing its first Haiti yoga relief trip later this month, which will bring 10 instructors and volunteers to teach English, hold daily yoga sessions and build a small farm and community center in the impoverished nation.