CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Soon after Emily Jones discovered yoga 12 years ago, she knew one day she'd teach it.
"I was drawn to the fact that it was not just a physical practice, although it was a physical practice. It involved much more than just my physical body ... it made me feel good. It helped me gain control in different areas of my life."
Jones, 37, joined her love of yoga with a lifelong goal of owning a small business in January, when she opened Lifespring Yoga and Nutrition on Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston.
She had been teaching yoga in various venues and said opening the business was a way to focus her energy.
"I found myself running everywhere," she said. "I didn't feel like I was able to fully commit my energy into the development of one spot. I felt like my offering of this of this practice could be much more powerful if I could just focus my attention to one area, one location instead of having three or four going at one time."
While yoga classes are offered at local agencies in the area, Lifespring may be one of only two stand-alone yoga studios in Charleston.
April Woody opened the Folded Leaf on Bridge Road in January 2008.
"I had absolutely no idea if it would work or not," Woody said.
Yoga studios' fortunes in the Kanawha Valley have been a mixed bag.
Woody had a Teays Valley branch of the Folded Leaf for a year and a half, but she ultimately closed it because she didn't have enough customers.
"I didn't lose sleep," she said. "I tried. It was not working so I folded up the tent and went home."
Namaste Yoga opened on Quarrier Street in 2004 and closed about a year later.
Jones said she isn't sure if the business has turned a profit yet, but she's optimistic.
"I pay the bills every month," she said. "I didn't have a whole lot invested in this business.... What makes it low investment is that I don't have inventory. It wasn't like opening a store or restaurant where I had to buy all this equipment and spend 20 to 30 thousand dollars before I could make any money. I have very little involved."
She rents space in the building where she is. Yoga instructors who teach there are contractors, not employees. She has invested in flooring and some yoga mats for the studio, she said.