Natasha Martin is a yogi, entrepreneur and creative spirit who had a vision to create a community where people could come together to support each other, have a good time and workout all at the same time. 

Living room yoga

I have a background in Branding, Marketing and PR – I’m pretty creative. I’ve been practicing yoga since I was really young, so I’ve grown up with yoga in the same way that many Dutch have grown up with bikes! For me it’s a natural way of life. In terms of the studio and teaching, I moved to Amsterdam and quickly began teaching in my own studio. I got really lucky because I had people who believed in me and helped me, so after 3 years in my living room moving my furniture around to make space for extra yoga mats, I finally had a studio. Studio 191 has been open for a year and a half now and we are about to become a team of 40 people. We have amazing teachers and also volunteer hosts who are part of our karma exchange program.

Movement as a facilitator

You know the busier we all get the more we need to help people have a good time, to connect, have friends and workout all at the same time. Movement is a facilitator for community, for socialising and for building confidence. It’s also about health and wellness – but it’s not just that. There’s a big misconception that movement is just about getting physically fit and being healthy but it’s also about mental and emotional health. It’s about being able to understand yourself {and others} better. It’s a very yogic idea but I would reaffirm that your body is indeed a vehicle to your mind and your soul. For me personally, it’s definitely not just about the movement, the play on the word ‘movement’ is actually a huge part of why I’m passionate and why I’m doing this. It’s not to get people in the best shape of their life, it’s to start with that and then try to inspire people to go even further.

A real community

Starting a business in your living room teaches you a lot about community because I wasn’t allowed to put promotional signage outside or on my window, so I literally had to build my classes from word of mouth. I did a lot of community events and got involved with the local homeless shelter. So I’ve tried to keep the great things about being a small studio – the friendliness, the warmth, the authenticity. We do all kinds of different things to build not just a practice and a studio, but something that extends beyond our four walls. We explore what charities we can work with and what can we do within the local community to keep everything fresh. That’s another thing we do, we don’t want things to get stagnant – we don’t want our bodies to get used to one practice; we want our bodies to feel that their physicality, their creative capacity, can continue to evolve with their practice.

Home for everyone

I think people come to this studio because we genuinely welcome everyone. We value and encourage authenticity. We try to create a place that feels like home, and at home feel safe to move and express yourself without hesitation. I work with amazing teachers and our style is basically an expression of our teachers’ knowledge, passions and creative pursuits. We try to hire real people rather than fill vacancies. Encouraging the people you work with to be creative adds to the community and it adds to the offerings we can give as a studio. So actually the brand of studio 191 is the brand of people that embody it and live within it. We believe in encouraging and nurturing creativity. Simple right? It really is. The teachers and the hosts are what makes our community studio feel like home.

Barre isn’t the only way to burn at Studio 191…

Studio 191 offers a variety of different classes based on movement including Barre, Yoga, HIIT and classes for Pre-Natal and Post Natal women. So if you’re looking for something more than just your regular workout, take a trip to Studio 191 to be a part of a genuine community that likes to have a good time on and off the mat.

Written by Laura Court-Jones