Why yoga franchisor rejects more applications than it accepts.

Jessica Robertson (below, with business partner Ted Grand) sits hugging her legs, then pulls her frame into a series of casual positions, as the very fit do, rarely sitting still.

Modo Yoga co-founder Jessica Robertson, right, with business partner Ted Grand.

(Courtesy Modo Yoga)

We are outside on a bench by Toronto’s waterfront on a warm afternoon, ostensibly discussing the success of Modo Yoga, the Canadian hot-yoga franchise company she co-founded, which could have had 300 or more studios, particularly in the United States, if only it didn’t deliberately hold itself back.

Instead, it has 74, each studio a magnet attracting the dedicated looking for a good, peaceful sweat and stretch. More franchises are due to open in the United States, where there are just 12. There is also one in Sydney, Australia, and one coming soon in Paris.

It is clear, though, that business growth isn’t Modo’s sole reason for being.

Here the conversation segues to a mention of Baba Hari Dass, the Indian yoga guru who was an influential presence in Ms. Robertson’s childhood. “He would come every year to Ontario to teach his students at a four-day retreat, which we would do every year as a family, at a family camp.”

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