I recently became an employee of one of the largest McYoga companies in the U.S., Corepower Yoga. Before that, I showed up, taught for an hour, and then disappeared. Now, it seems a lot more complicated with the IRS, but in fact, I still show up, teach for an hour, and disappear.

What makes a studio a McYoga studio? Well for one thing, there are lots of them. In some states, there are almost as many McYoga’s as there are Starbucks. For another, the average McYoga studio might offer 30 classes a day in three or more rooms, which, in 60-plus studios, is about 50,274 classes per month. Almost a billion served!

McYoga’s are controversial, like McDonald’s, because they are said to be driving out independent studios and quality yoga. So why would a yogi teach and practice at a McYoga studio?


A neighborhood thing. My local studio was a neighborhood studio before it was sold to McYoga. But here’s the thing: “corporate” only exists in the marketing on the walls and the unread emails in my inbox. We are friends who share birthdays and girls’ nights out and shampoo in the locker room.

Getting paid on time. I have a contract, I’m paid on time, and the check never bounces. Those are three more things than I can say about my experiences at some independent studios.

The students. McYoga has introduced yoga to more people than the invention of Lycra or Luon. New students equal more mats, which equals more yoga for everyone.


The yoga is homogenized. You will not learn as much in the way of philosophy or physical alignment or advanced postures, but you will have a yogi workout. The yoga is often better at independent studios, but sometimes, the teacher talks for 30 minutes and then offers meditation. On the days when I have no time to screw around, I take McYoga because a workout is better than nothing.

The low-pricing and market saturation is killing good yoga. Really? Is McDonald’s killing fine dining? In my opinion, what is killing quality yoga is an inconsistent offering from independent studios. I also teach at an independent studio where I can give more alignment, expertise, and attention to my students, and my attendance numbers are fine. However, if a new student shows up, just once, to an independent studio that is dirty or out of toilet paper, it will turn them off of independent yoga everywhere. There are good independent studios, and there are bad ones, but the McYogas are always the same.

It’s easy to get hurt, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. When classes average 30 students, the instructor can only put out the “fires” of misalignment. However, there are also outstanding instructors at McYoga studios who teach for many of the same reasons that I do, such as getting paid. Students can find those instructors if they want to get better.

Intermediate yoga students. While beginner and advanced yoga students know that they know nothing—intermediates know it all. McYogas are filled with intermediate students who write to the corporate headquarters with complaints when there’s not enough core work or yogi-jumping-jacks (and then they wonder why there’s no time to teach them how to do yoga).

Om Namah Shivaya. I try to remember that not too long ago I was also one of those intermediate students. Now, I’m just a beginner, and I know it.


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