Lady Gaga’s Favorite Bikram Yoga Studio Closes After 13 Years, will Return as ‘Fierce Grace’
Longtime local yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Lower East Side, is no more. Gone after nearly fourteen years atop Allen Street. Instead, its founder and owner, Tricia Donegan, is beginning anew with a corporate partnership from across the pond.
Donegan will continue bringing yoga to the people, as it were, except now it’ll be under the banner of British-based program Fierce Grace Yoga. She’s partnered with owners Kelly Isaac and Michele Pernetta on the project, and will retain the lease on the upstairs studio at 172 Allen Street.
While Fierce Grace primarily franchises out new locations, we’re told that the Lower East Side iteration is not. Instead it’s a direct partnership, slated to open next week.
The “Hot pink box” of Bikram Yoga opened at 172 Allen in 2004, and became a favorite for celebrities like Lady Gaga. However, the studio “fell into financial crisis” last April after inspectors found serious safety issues involving the gas lines. The studio was forced to close for several weeks after the gas was switched off allowing a conversion to electric heat. This sidelining hurt the bottom line, so dedicated students urged Donegan to kickstart a GoFundMe drive to keep things going.
“Without community, we wouldn’t have a studio,” she told us in an email. “This studio has always focused on building community, and that won’t ever change. I really couldn’t be more grateful. We were without gas for seven months. I never thought we would survive.”
The GoFundMe donations kept things afloat at 172 Allen, and eventually led to the Fierce Grace deal.
Donegan explained further:
Londoners will be familiar with Fierce Grace, a hot yoga brand founded by Pernetta in the UK. The Fierce Grace system incorporates classical yoga systems, including Bikram, Ashtanga and Hatha. It is an integrated and carefully designed yoga system that welcomes all body types and levels. The studio will offer several different heated yoga classes including classes that build strength and fitness, as well as classes with a focus alignment and injury recovery.
Fierce Grace on the Lower East Side will be the first studio to offer this yoga in the United States. It is not a franchise, but deeply personal project for Donegan, Isaac and Pernetta. The classes will feel like a natural and logical next step for long time Bikram practitioners, and students new to yoga or from different disciplines will discover thoughtful and well designed heated classes through which to build their practices.