Growing Baton Rouge yoga market gets a school to teach the teachers

    The proliferation of yoga studios around the Capital Region has spawned a new business designed to train yoga instructors. It’s called the Louisiana Yoga School and it’s the brainchild of veteran yoga instructor Alicia Willemet, a Slidell native who has taught at several studios locally over the past few years.

    The Louisiana Yoga School hung out its proverbial shingle at the beginning of the month, though the school doesn’t actually have a brick-and-mortar location. Rather, Willemet will be providing her 200-hour training seminars at a variety of different studios around the area.

    “Instead of limiting myself to just one studio, we’ll float around and hold teacher trainings at different studios,” she says. “It’s really a way to bring more cohesion to the yoga community since it’s so splintered.”

    Willemet estimates there are at least eight studios in the Baton Rouge market, not including several others in Livingston and Ascension parishes. Most have opened over the past three years, and while there is a growing demand for the studios, she believes the market is nearing the saturation point.

    “I don’t think we need another yoga studio, unless it would be moving into a really underserved location,” she says. “I would rather see the studios that do exist thrive and fill up their classes back to back.”

    Willement, who began practicing yoga while living in Colorado several years ago and is certified to train instructors through the national Yoga Alliance, says she often thought about opening her own studio. It’s a dream shared by many enthusiasts of the practice, but one that doesn’t always live up to the expectations.

    “I’ve worked at Yoga Bliss, Agame, Yoga Vibe, Perusa and just seeing the stress it takes on the studio owners—it turns into a business,” she says. “When you take your passion and turn it into a livelihood, the waters get a little murky sometimes.”

    Operating the Louisiana Yoga School should be less stressful because there’s virtually no overhead, Willemet says.

    “Start-up costs have been minimal and I don’t need investors,” she says. “The biggest thing I’ve had to do upfront is write the training manuals.”

    —Stephanie Riegel

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