One summer evening in 2008, massage therapist Ben Fleisher and his girlfriend were scouring yoga studio websites looking for the right class at the right time. “We were wasting our one free hour of the day! And came up empty-handed,” he remembers. The irony of becoming frustrated and fatigued in search of relaxation was not lost on Fleisher—and the yogi was struck with an entrepreneurial insight.
Although, for a solid year after that yoga-less summer evening, Fleisher, an Ashtangi-turned-Anusara aficionado, assumed someone would produce an iPhone app that would cull all the city’s classes and make searching for one a cinch. When that didn’t happen, he figured he might as well. Now, eight months later, the Park Slope-based yogi, with no tech experience, is launching YogaLocal. To make it happen, Fleisher recruited an old friend to be the web manager and found a new friend via Craigslist for the app development. And the app developer was a yogi to boot. “It was great,” says Fleisher, “We actually found we knew quite a few people in common from downtown yoga circles.”
YogaLocal, which launched yesterday, is essentially an Urbanspoon for yoga studios. Select the “Near Me” option and, like Google maps, the app will pull up all the yoga studios in a one-mile radius of your location. Or, you can do a broad search of 200 yoga studios in all five boroughs and see their up-to-the-minute schedules.
In addition to finding a class on a the fly, a tab called “Sparks of Inspiration” (hey, we didn’t name it) offers instructor bios, some more like mini-autobiographies, and a “News” tab includes info on the latest in the yoga world from sources such as YogaCityNYC. Fleisher is already working on a 2.0 version that lets you sort by style of class, teacher, and more. Heck, this app might just be a guru we’ll follow.
YogaLocal iPhone App, $5. Visit the App Store or www.yogalocal.com.