THINGS are starting to heat up on the Gold Coast with one local business expanding its sweaty footprint across the city.
Yoga studio Fire Shaper, headquartered in Bundall, is set to open its second studio at Oxenford, adding to four existing Australian studios and four in America.
Co-founded by Dr John Surie (pictured) and his wife Natalie, the Fire Shaper brand has grown to include more than 100 staff across its locations.
In addition, it has trained more than 100 teachers through its full training program which is certified internationally by Yoga Alliance, and even more in increasingly popular styles such as Yin (a restorative form of yoga), Vinyasa (flow-style), and Burn (yoga with weights).
John Surie says in an industry that is still dominated by small, independent players, Fire Shaper is leaving a sizeable footprint on thousands of yoga mats. He says more than redefining hot yoga, it is redefining wellness.
"Hot yoga is really an entrée to a well-rounded wellness experience," says Surie.
"We want to contribute to the wellness of as many people as we can, and yoga is a great vehicle to do this with the focus on awareness and taking action."
It seems like locals relate, with the Bundall studio evolving with the creation of new wellness spaces adding to the therapeutic massage and chiropractic services already available and expanding a holistic approach to 'mind, body, spirit'.
Unlike most industries that suffered during the GFC, Fire Shaper thrived and attributes its growth to investors interested in the booming wellness industry.
"The GFC probably set the precedent for the health and wellness industry, because it's one of the sectors that still performed well," says Surie.
"While people got more stressed, fatter and unhealthier, health and wellness evolved with people and met their needs, and did really well."
Surie says he wants to continue to build the business and that the success of Fire Shaper lies in systemising the growth of yoga classes within fitness centres and in building strong and ethical brands that yogis can trust.
Surie says, to be successful, a holistic focus is required and is just one tool that will allow small yoga businesses to thrive rather than just survive.
"We cater for all ages and levels and will increasingly look to tailor class packages to suit people's varying lifestyles as well as constantly value-adding to our student's wellness goals, above and beyond yoga," he says.
One of the more successful modern yoga brands is Core Power, which was established in Colorado and now boasts more than 100 studios across the US. In 2014, Core Power secured investment from the leading US consumer-focused private equity firm Catterton Partners.
The value of the yoga industry in United States is $27 billion, while IBIS World reports the value of yoga-pilates studios in Australia is $1 billion.
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