If you’re streaming pre-recorded yoga classes online, apparently you’re doing it all wrong. Now technology allows for yoga teachers to give live, personal instructions from virtually anywhere in the world. We wrote about the Finland-based company Yoogaia last year. At that point, they were riding high on a wave of crowdfunded bliss after raising 192,172 euro (roughly $215,300 US dollars) for their interactive yoga idea. Since then, they received a $3 million mega booster from investors to support worldwide expansion. And they’re all banking on an at-home yoga boom.
Yoogaia, which employs a team of 15 plus 50 yoga teachers at its three studios, projects their interactive classes will grow to 100,000 users by the end of the year. Their revenue is already increasing by 25% every month, founder Mikko Petaja says.
While there are some setbacks for entering the US market, like language translation and time zone issues for the live classes, Petaja sees it as the goose that laid golden eggs.
“[The U.S. is] where a lot of our gold comes from,” Petaja told Fast Company. “The awareness of consumers in that market is in some ways higher in regards to using online services and potential online fitness solutions.”
Despite roadblocks, more than 25% of Yoogaia’s users are in the U.S.
If you’re confused by how this live interactive instruction works, don’t worry, it’s a little tough to imagine. Essentially, a yoga teacher, whomever and wherever they may be, leads a class for up to 60 students, all of whom they can view, but no one else can. So at home, you feel you’re practicing by yourself, because you can’t see any other students and they can’t see you. So it’s like a big ‘ol group class, except completely alone.
From the other end, we imagine it looks something like this:
They’re capping it at 60 students/users for now, which even to us that seems like a lot to keep track of as one teacher on the other end of the matrix, er screen, but it sounds like they could, and might, go bigger. “For the teacher, there’s a limit to the number of students that he or she can instruct properly,” Petaja says. “We may not want to have that many people, but from a technology point of view, we can scale up pretty quickly.”
Fast Company notes that there are other companies doing similar things, like Crunch Fitness, who live streams classes via Meerkat. And some airports, as we know, offer yoga rooms and some offer classes, so there might be a demand for live streaming. But so far it seems pre-recorded is where it’s at, because first of all it’s more convenient which is the whole point of not physically going to a yoga class in an actual yoga studio. That and online classes are typically a heckuva lot cheaper.
For Yoogaia’s price point, they currently charge 19 euros a month, which is up from 15 last year, and comes out to about $21 USD, comparable to $18 which is what online streaming patent-pincher YogaGlo charges per month. (For further reference, YogaWorks charges $15/mo, and YogaVibes $19.95/mo.) Yoogaia is different in that they have that personal instruction factor going for them, but that means you have to attend the classes live. Sure you can still wear your drool-stained PJs as long as you’re fine with the teacher seeing them.
Besides being cheaper for the consumer, online yoga is also a heckuva lot more lucrative for the providers of it. The more people practicing yoga at their leisure, the higher the profits. For those playing along at home, 100,000 users paying 19 euros a month is 1.9 million in gross revenue. For ONE month.
Yoogaia may crack the U.S. market yet, but they should probably watch out for the other big players already here. YogaGlo, for one, is known for clamping down on a trend and gripping it harder than a sticky mat glazed with super glue.
Here’s our question: What happens when groups of people start getting together to practice yoga, in like, a “class,” but all under one online yoga account? 19 people for $1 each? Sounds like an even better deal, and a flaw in the matrix.