The Unfortunate Business of Yoga


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Last month, on January 29th, Mel Russo closed Yoga High at 98 Forsyth St. on the LES.

“It became obvious that it was no longer economically viable,” she said. “We saw ourselves growing…but rent was going up and I was putting too much of my own money into the studio.”

While she loved owning a space, Russo won’t miss aspects of the job. Taxes, insurance, phone calls, bathroom supply inventory.

“The biggest challenge is that you have to constantly think of new ways to make money,” she said. This could include seasonal specials, new student offers, and of course teacher trainings. And “all that takes away from being able to give 100 percent as a teacher, and even at times, as a student.”

Running a yoga space hurts. And Russo isn’t the only one who knows this. Yoga High is the latest in a series of falling dominoes.

Cyndi Lee catalyzed the cascade back in 2012 when she closed her fabled OM yoga Center on Broadway. Rent skyrocketed and the landlord didn’t renew her lease. When Lee announced the news, the whole community gasped. OM was a City staple, and if a top-cat teacher like Lee was closing her space, then what was next?

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