Just a little more than a month after Yoga Bliss vacated its longtime studio on Highland Road, a new yoga studio—Grace Yoga on Highland—has moved in.
The establishment is owned by Shelly Mockler—who until recently was the training manager for family business Mockler Beverage—and Shannon Davis, a veteran yoga instructor, who was teaching at Yoga Bliss until its closure, as well as at several other local studios.
Mockler says Davis had been interested in opening her own studio and had been casually eyeing potential locations. When Yoga Bliss closed suddenly in November after falling behind on its rent, Davis pitched Mockler on going into business with her and taking over the space.
The deal came together in a matter of weeks, Mockler says, with contractors working over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to complete a total interior renovation in time for the studio’s early January opening.
The partners have signed a long-term lease for the 4,800-square-foot space and spent an estimated $20,000 on their renovation, which includes converting an area that had been used by Yoga Bliss as a vegan café into a fourth studio.
Grace Yoga on Highland has retained several instructors who taught at Yoga Bliss during its 11 years in operation, and also recruited several new instructors who have their own followings from other studios in the market.
While the number of yoga studios in Baton Rouge has increased in recent years, Mockler does not believe the market is oversaturated yet. She also believes the variety of classes targeting newcomers to the practice that their studio offers will set it apart from the competition.
“We have a very robust schedule with all kinds of levels and styles,” says Mockler, who left Mockler Beverage after 24 years to pursue the venture full time. “There are a lot of people who don’t even know they can do yoga, who may be intimidated by it. We’re trying to reach them.”