No more group yoga at International Orange

AFTER A DOZEN YEARS upstairs at 2044 Fillmore, with its oversized windows overlooking the heart of the neighborhood’s retail row, International Orange is demonstrating its flexibility by shaking up its yoga and retail offerings.

As of November 15, group yoga classes will be eliminated and instruction will only be given one-on-one or semi-privately to two or three practitioners at a time.

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Leslie Su, retail and brand manager, says the change was prompted by current clients asking for more “individual wellness” when they come to the studio and spa.

Future yoga clients will meet with IO staff to assess what they would like to work on and their preferred styles of practice. “We will then pair each person with an instructor and set up sessions based on the time and style that works for them,” says Su. “We like to go first with the style.”

Five of IO’s current instructors will stay on to work with clients in private sessions: Allison Hodge, Lindsay Thomson, Nicole Cronin, Marie Murphy and Erin Gilmore. Su says that collectively they have experience in offering athletic, rejuvenative and pre- and post-natal styles of practice.

The individualized instruction comes with a price: $125 for a 60-minute session — a substantial hike over the current rate of $12 for a drop-in class, several of which run 90 minutes.

And while private yoga clients get the added perks of full access to the spa amenities — steam, shower, sun deck and “relaxation lounge,” Su acknowledges that some longtimers are bucking at the price hike — and especially at the move away from group practice.

“Certain clients are pretty sad about it going away. But restaurants take away your favorite dishes. And many people just don’t like change of any kind,” she says. “Besides, there are a ton of other yoga studios in the area. We are seen as a luxury spa in San Francisco. The price for one-on-one yoga instruction is comparable to the cost of a facial.”

She adds that IO aficionados have been given a month’s notice, and that those with outstanding credits for classes can use their value for private yoga or spa treatments such as waxing, facials and massages.

A “transition celebration” is slated for Sunday, November 2, when all final group classes will be free. Juice cleanses and other wellness samplings and discounts will also be offered.

As part of the transition, the spacious group studio will be divided into a more intimate space for private clients and an additional treatment room and more retail space. The yoga studio and spa will be closed from November 17 through 20 for construction.

IO has offered organic In Fiore complexion and body treatments nearly since its opening. In Fiore founder Julie Elliott will relocate her Post Street parfumerie to a shop-within-a-shop as part of the remodeling.

Su says this change, too, was prompted by client demand. “More clients care about what they’re putting on their skin, but the science behind it also needs to be top-notch,” she says. That includes organic make-up as well. “We will certainly be growing this segment as part of our retail expansion,” Su says.

  • Nadine Amber

    I think group yoga is really effective way to gain physical and psychological health well. It is true that there are many people who prefer practicing yoga at home individually and hate to go studios or to join any group yoga program but I think the beginners should learn the yoga techniques properly properly in a studio with others and if they become experienced then they can practice alone at home.

    Nadine
    anamayaresort.com

  • Sabrina

    As an IO member, I sought out membership because it combined a total wellness package – facial, massages, and yoga. Their services have always included both private instruction as well as group classes. Su’s comment above is a sad attempt at a marketing spin and are quite frankly offensive. This is less about opposition to change in general and more about the loss of a complete wellness package inclusive of group classes. I can say whole heartedly that many IO yoga students are saddened by this news. And I would not be surprised if many loyal patrons discontinue their support of IO as a result.

    Oh and btw – many luxe spas offer group classes – look at spa/studios in NYC and London.

  • Offended

    Sabrina’s comments are eloquent! There are 8 to 10 comments made by Su in this article that are arrogant, pretentious, greedy, condescending, prejudice, shocking, insulting. I cannot fathom IO (I/Only) keeping the doors open for long; unless the majority of women in San Francisco are of the same ilk. 🙁