Studio Spotlight: Yoga Studio Ouddorp

Posted in studio spotlight |
Studio Spotlight: Yoga Studio Ouddorp

During her upbringing, Bellatrix embraced swimming, sailing, and later ventured into windsurfing and surfing, fostering a strong bond with the ocean from an early age.

Since then, her journey led her to Ouddorp, the Netherlands, where she started teaching yoga for surfers classes, drawing surf enthusiasts eager to refine their skills through yoga. In the midst of the pandemic, she wrote the book Yoga For Surfers, offering at-home practices designed to enhance surfing performance.

Her vision, centered around Yoga Studio Ouddorp, is to introduce all surfers to yoga, showcasing its benefits in enhancing body control and adaptability on the (surf)board.

How was your studio founded and what inspired you?

I started my working career in an environmental office because I really felt that I wanted to do work that was meaningful. During this time I realized this wasn’t for me and I decided to pursue my first yoga teacher training when I was just 22 years old. I directly felt it was meant to be. Every Saturday morning, I drove with a happy feeling and smile to the course. After that many other courses and trainings followed. I loved them all! I was just absorbing all the information.

Around the year 2000 my boyfriend and I moved to another house. It had a big very old barn in the backyard, we tore that down and we built the yoga studio ourselves on that ground. We had to lend money from my parents, I didn’t have any business plan, I just wanted to teach yoga! I live in a very religious old-fashioned village, the location of the yoga studio is in between 4 churches and nobody had ever heard of yoga at the time. At first, my neighbors called it ‘gym’. I started with a only a few groups of people and since then my lessons are full! People loved it and I love the people. 

What inspires me is to help the yoga students have a better connection with their body, mind, and breath. Around my 30th I got very sick, this was my own wake-up call to take better care of my body and that still inspires me to help others to care of their body. I had colitis ulcerous, which is a very intense and painful colon inflammation. I had neglected my own health. I was on a lot of medicine and the doctors told me, it is an auto immune disease, that I could never heal from. But I did not accept that, I really believed in the healing and restorative energy of the body. For 3 years I fought this disease and changed my way of living. Being more aware of my own energy and taking good care of that - I fully healed! The doctors could not believe it, they told me, it would come back for sure. But now I’m 51 years old and fitter and healthier than I ever was before. I thank yoga for that! Really thank you yoga and thank you yoga mat!

What advice would you give surfers about getting into yoga?

Don’t only do the poses that are easy for you. You must challenge your body and by doing the poses where you feel your stiffness, then those are the best for you! If you do yoga at least once a week, it will keep your body in shape. But if you do it 2 or 3 times a week, you can really grow, really improve. If you practice a yoga routine before you go into the water, you will feel it helps you to move easier with movements of the board and waves. If you do a post-routine, you even get rid of your muscle pain must faster (explore Bellatrix's tips on how to build your yoga routine here.)

Most surfers are already strong as it’s such an intense and challenging sport. Because the muscles are so strong, the fascia (connective tissue) is tight (read more about fascia on Bellatrix’s blog, “Why is it important for a surfer to practice yoga?” here.) So, take it easy on yourself. Don’t expect to touch your toes the first time when you are on a yoga mat. Take your time, use your breath to slowly go into the yoga poses.

How has the practice of yoga helped or changed your surfing?

With yoga asana practice, I really learn to control my body. The poses improve my coordination and mobility. Surfing is so complex; you always have to adjust to the wind and moving waves. In addition, flexibility helps me make the turns on the waves when I’m surfing and helps me to jibe better when I’m windsurfing or handle my wing better when I’m wing foiling. With my body being flexible enough to adjust to a sudden hard strong wind, I’m better protected against injuries too. Yoga also makes me stronger. If you practice yoga, you know that it’s not all about flexibility, but some of the poses are intense and powerful. I really like that, for example it makes my arms and shoulders stronger, so I can paddle better. It also makes my back stronger, which I really need for my core stability when I’m standing on a constantly moving board.

Explore some of Bellatrix's yoga poses tailored for the surfer here.

What inspired you to combine yoga and surfing in your book "Yoga for Surfers"? 

My boyfriend and I had a friend from our village, and he moved to Australia. When he visited us many years ago, he told me that in Australia a lot of surfers are doing yoga, because it helps them. I already had a lot of surfers in my classes at my yoga studio, so I decided to make a special Yoga For Surfers class. It’s a very special group, before and after yoga, we only talk about surf trips, best surfboards, sails, etc. It’s a nice vibe.

Week after week and lesson after lesson, I developed yoga trainings tailored to surfers. I am the kind of teacher who really likes it if students know why they are doing a specific sequence or pose on the mat. So, I always wrote about it and gave the information by mail or as a handout. Some of my students who saved them had a binder full and some of them said to me, It’s like a book. I thought to myself that I had so much information to share: “I could write a book about it haha…:”.

During the pandemic, I had the time. I really missed helping people improve their body through yoga. One day I saw a writing course: writing course by the sea! And I knew it was for me. I got enthusiastic and created chapter after chapter. The book is in a lot of surf shops around the coast of the Netherlands, but you can also buy it online on my own website:

Community is central to any yoga studio. How do you foster a sense of community within your studio and surf community, and how does it contribute to the overall experience for your students?

I like people, I’m always talking, and I am really good at remembering names and faces. I think that is a good start. My vision is to give the people a deeper connection with their own body by doing yoga. In the Netherlands we say, it also has to be ‘gezellig’. There is not a good translation for it, maybe something like ‘cozy’. But it means that students are enjoying their lessons, talking to each other before and after the lesson, have a coffee together or tea in my yogi café. I try to let my studio to be a place where they can relax and be nice to themselves and each other.

Especially my beach yoga groups have a lot of community feeling. In summer I teach at the most beautiful locations and beach clubs of Ouddorp. After the lesson we always go on the terrace for a coffee and talk. Sometimes we leave hours later, sharing stories, dealing with emotions, crying, and laughing together. Almost like the actual yoga practice is after the yoga class.

With the Yoga For Surfers group, we contact each other when the forecast is good and get together as a community. We see each other on the water and share the joy of surfing and then later when we are in the studio again.

You will soon be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Yoga Studio Ouddorp, how do you see its future?

It is almost unbelievable that 25 years have passed! Time flies when you are having fun. In the early years I had to struggle with building our own studio literally brick by brick. Teaching so much, 4/5 groups a day, week in week out. The last years, I have moved to teaching more one-on-one sessions and to practice with people who have disabilities. I am looking forward to continuing to pass on my knowledge and expertise to not only the surf community and beyond. 

Why did you choose Manduka to outfit your studio equipment with?

My yoga studio has opened in the year 2000, in the beginning I experimented with different brands. But once I bought a Manduka mat for myself and liked it so much, that I also wanted the students to have the best mats. Now, I retail a wide range of Manduka product at my yoga studio!

More about Yoga Studio Ouddorp

Yoga Studio Ouddorp retails the full Manduka x Gerry Lopez Collection in-studio along with a full range of Manduka yoga mats, props and accessories. 

Visit the yoga studio in Ouddorp, the Netherlands at or follow them on Instagram @yogastudio_ouddorp.

The book, Yoga For Surfers, is currently available in Dutch and can be found on and @yoga.forsurfers

For exclusive Manduka Studio Equipment offers, visit our program here.

Sharing good vibes + the best mats, apparel and yoga gear since 1997.

Sharing good vibes + the best mats, apparel and yoga gear since 1997. #inspirethepractice

Related Products