Studio Spotlight: Yyoga

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Studio Spotlight: Yyoga

Join us on a deep dive into the story of Yyoga's founders, Colin and Robbie, as they reflect on their 10 year studio anniversary, sharing the highs, lows, and dreams for what lies ahead.


How did you [Colin & Robbie] find yoga and what was your path from student to teacher and finally into a studio owners?

Our journey into the world of yoga and their subsequent evolution into studio owners and community leaders is a tale of transformation, partnership, and dedication. Our story began in a hot yoga class where we crossed paths, each bringing a unique background—Robbie, a former management consultant, and Colin, an architect. Despite our diverse professional origins, we shared a profound appreciation for the transformative power of yoga. This shared passion sparked a dream: to establish a yoga studio in the heart of Brussels, one that would offer a distinct and enriching experience to its community. This dream came true 10 years ago with the opening of Yyoga Brussels in January 2014.

Before venturing into Yyoga studios, we both had our own personal practice and spiritual path. The transition from student to teacher was organic, honing our skills and expanding their repertoire over the years. Our teachings encompass a wide array of styles, including yin, hatha, and sound baths, guiding students towards deeper layers of kindness, peace, and self-transcendence. With a penchant for sound therapy, Colin introduces elements of gong immersion to enhance the experience for his students. Robbie, too, delved into the multifaceted world of yoga, exploring various styles and traditions after studying with some of the greatest spiritual teachers and minds of recent times. He brings to the mat his expertise in vinyasa, hatha, restorative, pranayama, and yoga wall, drawing from these diverse practices to offer students a holistic and transformative experience. His teaching style reflects his adventurous spirit and love for nature, infusing classes with vitality, creativity, and playfulness.

Together, we complement each other like yin and yang, weaving their individual strengths into a harmonious partnership. Our shared vision for their studio is one where diverse approaches, styles, and humors converge to create a welcoming and inclusive space for all. This vision has translated into the vibrant community that thrives within the walls of Yyoga. We crafted an urban sanctuary where students can explore and evolve on our yoga journey under the guidance of dedicated teachers and community leaders.

What kind of yoga do you practice personally?

Vinyasa, yin, hatha with props, restorative, myfascial release, pranayama, meditation and sound practices

Do you have any tips for balancing your personal practice and teaching?

Remain an eternal student, extend your practice beyond the mat, and engage in community work.

What’s your approach/philosophy to your teaching?

Be inclusive, curious, question everything, leave behind dogmatic thinking, and remember the essence of the ancient teachings. Present what works and leave the rest behind.

What are your must-have pieces from Manduka personally and for the studio?

While it may no longer be in production, the PROtravel mat remains a favorite for us, still in regular use. PROlite mats are undoubtedly fantastic as well. As enthusiasts of gentler practices, we particularly appreciate the comfort provided by the rectangular bolsters for leaning into poses. Additionally, often overlooked but truly remarkable, the Align straps stand out as being, by far, the best on the market.

Is there a special teacher or guide that was instrumental in developing and sustaining your personal practice?

Maty Ezraty was definitely someone who inspired us a lot. Over the years, we have had the privilege of learning from many brilliant teachers. We are extremely grateful for the wisdom imparted by Annie Carpenter, Jason Crandell, Lois Steinberg PhD, and Jo Phee.

Tell us about your studio and the energy it brings to the local yoga community. When people enter your studio, what do you hope they feel?

At our studio, our primary goal is to make everyone feel welcome and accepted. We believe that yoga is not about striving for perfection or trying to improve oneself, but rather about recognizing and embracing our inherent perfection. The teachings of Maty Ezraty, whom we had the privilege of studying with, deeply resonate with us. Her message that 'yoga is not about improving yourself. You are perfect, and the practice is there for you to know that' continues to inspire our approach. When people enter our studio, we want them to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. We want them to know that they are valued just as they are, and they don't need to strive to be 'better' or 'perfect' in any way. Our aim is to create a space where everyone feels comfortable, supported, and empowered to explore their own unique yoga journey."

Can you describe some of the key design elements or features that make your studio unique?

At Yyoga, several key design elements contribute to our unique atmosphere. Firstly, our front desk is a timeless piece of design crafted from reclaimed wood. Even after 10 years, it continues to make a warm and elegant first impression on visitors. Our lounge area is another standout feature, offering a spacious environment where people can socialize, enjoy a cup of tea, and simply relax while admiring the garden outside. One of our signature design elements is the use of rock cushions, strategically placed throughout the studio. These cushions not only add a touch of natural beauty but also serve as an invitation to find peace and release during yoga practice. Together, these design elements create a welcoming and serene space that sets Yyoga apart and fosters a sense of tranquility for our community.

How do you ensure a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for practitioners of all levels and backgrounds?

Like many aspects of life, we believe that embracing a mindset of humility and constant questioning is essential to maintaining a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. We recognize that the truth of yoga is not one-size-fits-all and that adopting a universal approach risks falling into dogma and closed-mindedness. We're always challenging ourselves to accommodate practitioners of all backgrounds and levels. This involves finding the delicate balance between affordability and profitability, ensuring that our studio remains accessible to everyone in our community.

In our asana practice, this translates into a functional approach to movement and alignment. Rather than imposing rigid standards of what poses ˋshouldˋ look like, we prioritize helping individuals understand their bodies better and find what works best for them. We strive to create an environment where people feel challenged yet respected, and where they can explore their practice without judgment or pressure.

You have recently celebrated 10 years of Yyoga with your team, looking back, what are some of the most memorable moments or milestones of the past 10 years for Yyoga?

It's tough to sum up ten years in just a few words, but looking back, our journey had its ups and downs, with plenty of memorable moments. We started from scratch, while working full-time jobs we were doing everything from setting up to cleaning. We hit some big milestones: our first packed class in 2014, an amazing retreat in Lapland, Finland in 2016, and our first Teacher Training in 2017. But there were also tough lessons, like when we opened a second studio in 2018, only to close it during the 2021 pandemic—a reminder that, as architect Mies Van der Rohe said, “Less is more”.

Yet, when we think back on the past decade, it's the connections we've forged with our teachers, students, and the wider community that shine the brightest. Each relationship, whether fleeting or enduring, has left an indelible mark on our hearts and has made our journey truly special. We're immensely grateful for the support, camaraderie, and love that have defined our time at Yyoga.

Can you share some reflections on how the studio has evolved since the opening?

As we reflect on the evolution of our studio since its inception, one thing remains clear: our ongoing commitment to understanding and meeting the ever-changing needs of our community. What's particularly fascinating is how our own evolution parallels that of yoga itself. Over time, we've shifted our focus away from solely physical practices and embraced a broader spectrum of gentle and introspective approaches. We've adopted a more functional approach to alignments, seeking to enhance the overall experience for our students.

Yoga, as a living practice, is constantly evolving, and we've evolved alongside it. Our teaching methods have adapted to reflect this evolution, ensuring that our classes remain relevant and beneficial to our community. We're dedicated to continuing this journey of growth and adaptation, always striving to offer classes that resonate deeply with our students and support them on their paths of personal growth and self-discovery.

What do you believe has been the key to the studio's longevity and success over the past decade?

That's a tough one! When we were celebrating with our teachers, one of them mentioned that it felt like everything fell into place when we first started out. Many of our teachers actually found us naturally, drawn to what we were all about and wanting to be a part of it. Having a loving group of teachers as your second family, the strong bonds we established over the years were definitely key to keeping our sanctuary alive.

Additionally, going with the flow of life, accepting the upward and downward waves, and not being scared of the challenges we encounter along the journey. The willingness to make small and larger sacrifices is something you cannot do any business without. We maintained the burning desire and belief in the transformative power of yoga that we offer. When you truly believe in what you’re doing and you do it from the heart, not necessarily motivated purely by profit, is crucial as well.

How has the yoga community in your area grown or changed since you first opened your doors?

Ten years ago in Brussels, yoga wasn't as popular as it is today. It's funny; before we opened, some neighbors even asked if we were starting a cult! Back then, yoga mostly meant small studios dedicated to just one style, such as ashtanga, Sivananda, bikram, or Iyengar yoga. We decided to do things differently and became the first purposefully built studio in Brussels that offers a variety of styles under one roof. We also moved away from any strict rules, believing that yoga comes in many forms. We wanted to show people various paths and motivate them to begin their transformative journey, regardless of the characteristics of these traditions.

Nowadays, yoga is everywhere! New studios are popping up all the time, and even gyms and sports clubs offer yoga classes. It's amazing how something as simple as yoga has become so popular. We're still evolving too, always striving to make our practice meaningful and inclusive, while still offering personal challenges, both physically and mentally.

Can you highlight some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a studio owner and how you've overcome them?

As studio owners, striking the right balance between our personal lives and the demands of running a studio can be quite the juggling act. As yoga teachers, despite the message we often discuss about the importance of self-awareness and tending to our own needs, there are moments when our love for yoga, which initially inspired us, can consume us.

In the early days, we found ourselves immersed in every aspect of the studio's operations, from managing the reception desk to ensuring every mat was spotless after hours. While this hands-on approach helped us establish and uphold the high standards we envisioned for our community, it sometimes came at the expense of our personal time and well-being.

Then came the unforeseen challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a profound impact on both our finances and the way people approached yoga. We were faced with the difficult decision to let go of our second studio. Later, the process of reopening proved to be slow and arduous as we worked tirelessly to rebuild our community and restore a sense of safety and trust in group settings.

Throughout these challenging times, the practice of yoga served as both an anchor and a sail, helping us deal with the impermanence of things, teaching us how to appreciate what is and accept what has been. It also guides us to keep moving on, find peace amidst chaos, and sometimes fight like a 'warrior' (sorry for the easy joke) for what we believe in. However, again, it's the unwavering support and dedication of our community that truly sustained us during these challenging times.

From the commitment of our teachers who stepped into an empty studio to teach in front of a camera to the countless messages of encouragement and solidarity we received, even years later, we are deeply grateful for the bonds we've formed. It's these connections that have fortified us, reminding us that we're not alone in this journey and that together, we can weather any storm.

What do you think has been particularly successful for your business?

Staying true to yourself is crucial, even if it sounds cliché. Trust your passion and values, even if they're not mainstream; authenticity and generosity matter. Don’t pretend that you know the Truth and remain humble forever. As Ram Dass beautifully put it, we are all just walking each other home.

What role have your teachers and staff played in the success of the studio over the years?

They are indeed the backbone of the studio, and we consider ourselves fortunate that, over the years, our teachers and staff have evolved into a second family. They harmoniously complement and respect each other. Our teachers are akin to the keys on a piano, each producing a unique sound. Yet, when played together, their collective music has the power to touch your soul.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and goals for the studio in the next 10 years?

Looking ahead to the next 10 years, our aspirations for the studio are twofold. Firstly, as queer business owners, we are committed to fostering an even more inclusive and welcoming space for all individuals. While inclusivity may be a trendy term, it remains a genuine priority for us.

On another front, we aim to expand our offerings of meditative practices. As pioneers in our city, we were among the first to introduce immersive soundbath classes, and now we're exploring the addition of other therapeutic practices and transformative breathwork sessions to our repertoire.

Ultimately, our overarching goal is to maintain our position as the city's leading provider of quality yoga experiences. Yoga's universal appeal makes it a valuable resource, especially in today's turbulent world, offering a pathway to peace and solace. In 10 years, we hope to continue serving as the Urban Sanctuary, a refuge where individuals from all walks of life can find serenity and connection.

With your experience, do you have other learnings to pass along to other studio founders or yogis looking to open their own studio?

Looking back, we have a few key insights to share with other studio founders or aspiring yogis looking to open their own space. Firstly, give serious thought (maybe even a third time, ahahaha) before taking the plunge. Opening a studio demands dedication, hard work, teamwork, a willingness to make sacrifices, and a clear vision.

Roll up your sleeves and be ready to put in the effort. While it can be challenging, the rewards are incredibly fulfilling. Choose this path if you genuinely believe in the yogic practices, not just for the sake of making a substantial profit. Be ethical, kind, and avoid exploiting others. Just like in a yoga class, honesty is crucial. Be honest with yourself about your motivations, goals, and limitations. Continuously work on yourself and find someone on your side who can mentor you and occasionally hold up a mirror to reflect on who you are.

We've also discovered that navigating this journey as a team, rather than going it alone, can make all the difference. Through open dialogue and collaboration, we've evolved and grown over time.


Check out Yyoga at and give them a follow here

Visit Yyoga at Quai au bois à brûler, 39b, Brandhoutkaai, 1000 Brussels (Sint-Katelijne Metro Sainte-Catherine)

Experience the essence of yoga at Yyoga, Brussel's leading yoga sanctuary boasting a diverse team of international instructors, captivating interior aesthetics, and a curated boutique.

Whether you crave the intensity of heated yoga or the serenity of a restorative session, Yyoga caters to all preferences. Within their range of offered yoga styles lies the transformative power of the practice, guiding you towards awareness, and harmony with your personal path.

Yyoga is fully equipped with PROlite Yoga Mats, cork blocksalign strapsrectangular bolsters and cotton blanketsThey also retail a full range of Manduka products in-studio.

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

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