Contemporary Glasgow may pullulate with yoga studios, but 15 years ago, when Invernessian Anthea Simpson first started teaching freelance yoga classes in the city, this was not the case. That’s one reason why Ms Simpson founded Yoga Healing Glasgow, a Partick-based studio that offers a range of yoga classes, one-to-one sessions and yoga therapy, in 2009.

“I wanted to create a beautiful, welcoming space, so the concept of holistic healing and well-being could become more accessible and normal for people,” she says. “That was missing in Glasgow at the time.”

Having established a daily personal yoga practice in her twenties, Ms Simpson trained as a yoga teacher with June Mitchell at Classical Yoga School in Scotland and spent nine months practising astanga yoga with K. Pattabhi Jois in India. She took over the lease on the Partick studio, which she had attended as a student while expecting her son, with the help of a grant from Regeneration Glasgow.

Existing students joined Ms Simpson for classes and individual sessions at the premises, which she refurbished using preowned items. She scouted for additional teachers in the yoga community, and the business took off.

“I feel so blessed because it was all okay,” says Ms Simpson, who also received support from Regeneration Glasgow to create a business plan. “It was a huge leap of faith, but I was really well supported by great teachers who jumped on as well.”

There are currently nine teachers at Yoga Healing Glasgow, all of whom work on a self-employed basis. The dynamic this engenders suits the job.

“It creates an element of responsibility and builds a much stronger team,” says Ms Simpson.

Since Yoga Healing Glasgow opened its doors, weekly classes and personal yoga sessions – which often have a therapeutic element – have doubled in number. Profits soared by 84% in the first four years and by a further 62% subsequently.

Initially, active marketing was all about posters and flyers. That meant class numbers could be unpredictable, but a reliable base of one-to-one sessions helped offset that. Nowadays, active marketing is more about social media, though word of mouth remains an important channel.

In the past three years, technology has played a huge role in the business’s development, and accordingly Ms Simpson has invested in improving her technology skills. Downloadable meditations and yoga sequences on the studio’s web site have boosted revenues, while the introduction of online booking has both stabilised class numbers and added a new element to the teaching.

“The teachers know who is coming and can fine-tune the class to the students’ needs,” says Ms Simpson.

This tailoring is part of Yoga Healing Glasgow’s unique offering. Classes do not follow a set sequence, which helps keep them fresh. Ms Simpson describes the studio’s brand as “authentic teaching with attention to detail in a small, warm, nourishing environment”. The décor – based on giving used items a new lease of life and minimising environmental impact – encapsulates the ethos.

“Yoga is transformational,” she says.

Now in its tenth year, Yoga Healing Glasgow is entering a new phase in its development. As well as expanding its range of classes and workshops for students, it is offering a programme of teacher training. A certified 200-hour teacher training course registered with Yoga Alliance Professionals (YAP) will start in 2020, taught by Ms Simpson and her colleague Claire Rodgers. Ongoing training for existing yoga teachers will also be on offer, and the studio will host guest teachers.

“It’s great to have that in Scotland and not to be flying down to London for it,” says Ms Simpson.

A further phase may follow: franchising the Yoga Healing brand in other parts of Scotland. For this, Ms Simpson would call on both her business and teaching skills.

“There would be business mentoring within the franchising package,” she says.