Moksha Yoga, a hot yoga studio that first introduced its method in Toronto in 2004 and recently expanded to the United States, may soon become as common a brand as Bikram.
The brand currently has 63 locations, and about 15 more in development around the world that are awaiting the corporate green light to open.
Owners of the New York studio, which opened a year ago, are already scouting spots for three more.
You’d think Moksha had set its sights on world domination, but that’s far more deliberate than co-founder Ted Grand admits. “We don’t have a business plan. Our focus is on how can we develop and sustain community. It’s something we hold onto very dearly,” says Grand.
THE MOKSHA METHOD
Grand created Moksha with Jessica Robertson after they both taught and owned Bikram studios for many years. “We had a very particular way of wanting to do things in terms of focusing on eco-studios and how we created community, and it didn’t jive well with the Bikram community,” he explains.
They established a method that includes 40 postures sequenced into both flow classes and classes where each pose is held for several breaths—all in heated rooms. Moksha culture is based on seven pillars. These include accessibility, which manifests itself in the welcoming vibe you feel when you walk in, and sustainability, which dictates that every studio meets serious eco-friendly standards.
“I don’t have Rolls Royces, that’s another distinction,” Grand says, taking a jab at Bikram Choudhury’s infamous car collection. “But that’s a whole other conversation.”
“We had no intention of getting where we are today,” Grand insists. Moksha has studios across Canada and recently opened locations in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Kentucky.
The growth has been so fast that Grand and Robertson have been putting their foot on the brake pedal, ensuring that the fibers of the community are strong enough to keep from fraying before approving new studios. Among the 15 locations currently awaiting their go-ahead are studios in Europe and Australia. And in New York, where Moksha opened a West Village studio (434 Sixth Ave., at 10th St.) in January 2012, co-owner Britton Darby says that the team is in “research mode” but hopes to open three more New York studios.
Moksha’s growth seems to point towards an even larger expansion in the yoga world—the opening up of “hot yoga” to more variation and interpretation. “There isn’t a one-size fits-all way to do anything, and yet a lot of hot yoga has that rigidity,” says Darby. “The reality is, there’s a different answer for everyone.” —Lisa Elaine Held