Undoubtedly one of the most colourful yoga studio out there. Studio Birkhane has for sure captured all your eyes! Studio Birkhane and Manduka had a little sit down to find the back story to this inspirational creative outpost in Goteland, Sweden, founded by artistic duo Yolanta and Patrik Birkhane.
Tell us a little bit about your story. How was Studio Birkhane founded and what inspired you?
Studio Birkhane was founded out of a creative burst coming out of a multi-year long period of deep inner work. But it was also just really random. We found the space one day as we were out on a walk near our home and thought that it had the potential to become a cool space for ourselves for yoga and movement. Earlier, it had been used as a gallery/garage, but when we found it it hadn’t really been used for over a decade. Once we got the contract, an immense outpouring of creative energy began. It was like something that was ready to be birthed from within us. Our vision was always to create something out of the ordinary. We’ve never been attracted to the run of the mill studio with incense and Buddha statues combined with new age-y music. Our idea was to make a studio that felt like the combo of an artist atelier with a spectrum of pop art pastel colors that ran like a theme throughout the whole studio. Like if Keith Haring became a yogi and decided to turn his place into a part time yoga studio. As we created this space, we decided that we also wanted to share it with others and not just keep it for ourselves.
What was the catalyst for you to make the move out of the city to Gotland island?
Our way of living didn’t feel meaningful anymore. We had both left our old careers and identities behind, Yolanta as circus artist and Patrik as a TV-producer and director. Moving from Stockholm to Gotland gave us the time and space to figure ourselves out a bit more and figure out what's truly meaningful to us and brings us joy. This became a 4-5 year journey of inner work and trauma healing that really took A LOT of the energy we had, as a couple and as individuals. A spiritual awakening that needed it’s space and time. And when we were ready to bloom again, an old gallery/garage showed up in our life…
You have a unique space that channels your passions for creativity and yoga. How did you begin this union and how did these passions begin?
We’re both really expressive and have creative backgrounds. Yolanta as a circus artist and photographer and Patrik as a TV-producer and director. Since we met 7 years ago, we’ve merged more and more of our creative energies. Studio Birkhane is where we channel that energy in various forms. On the one hand, we have yoga, retreats and life coaching. On the other hand, we do visual storytelling and content through the combination of still and moving pictures.
What kind of yoga do you both personally practice?
Yolanta has her own mix of vinyasa, pilates and barre.
Patrik primarily practices Hatha.
Tell us about your studio and the energy it brings to the Gotland community. When people enter Studio Birkhane, what do you want them to feel?
Studio Birkhane brings a sense of aliveness, joy and a high vibe energy that we’ve always felt is missing. Sometimes, in the world of yoga and meditation we feel people can believe that grounding and presence means holding yourself back and containing your energy. Some people really try to be zen, you know? But we all have this inner child that wants and NEEDS to be expressed. We encourage the people who join us to set their energies free and connect to their authentic expression. People are so busy being grown up and serious about life in general and themselves in particular. In our space we want them to let that shit go for a little while.
What is your goal or mission for Studio Birkhane?
Studio Birkhane is where we turn our dreams into existence and eradicate the line between work and play. Our hope and intention is to make a living out of being our authentic selves, cultivating our passions and creativity and sharing it with the world - while being of service to others on their journeys as human beings. Studio Birkhane is the vehicle through which we get to do all that! If we are lucky enough to live a long life, we hope to have a bunch of beautiful memories and precious little moments to look back on. And at the end of the line, to look at each other and say “Wow, we did this amazing journey together. Thank you for living this life with me.”
Tell us about the Yoga community on Gotland.
We really don’t have much of a clue about it. We just started our thing and decided to see what people would get drawn to our energy. So far it seems like it can be pretty much anyone.
What kind of yoga classes do you offer at Studio Birkhane?
Since we live on a summer island, our studio is only open 2-3 months per year + this is only our second year so things are constantly developing as we develop our practice. But Vinyasa, Hatha and core workouts are at the center. This year we’re also thinking about bringing in other people to teach that we feel energetically aligned with. Who knows, maybe someone who reads this will feel drawn to get in touch? ;-)
What’s your approach/philosophy to teaching yoga?
Face your resistance with a smile.
What do you want all of your students to take away from an experience with you?
We want them to feel more present, alive and connected.
What are the key elements of your studio that you feel enhance the practice of your students?
The pastel color palette that runs through everything, the music and our energy as beings is what together creates that Studio Birkhane magic.
What’s your favorite space in your studio?
It’s created as one whole conceptual space, so it’s really hard to separate one specific part.
You’ve an unique interior design for a yoga studio, how did this come to be?
We are drawn to colors! From there, we let our creative energies play off each other. In the end, we seldom know from whom an idea originated. The studio also reflects us in the sense that it is not only a space for yoga, but a creative space. It encompasses the whole spectrum of creative energy, where yoga is one part, but not everything. It is also an extension of the colors and vibe from our home. People who visit the studio and then visit our home or vice versa sees how it all makes sense and how it’s all connected. We’re creating our own little universe, one space at a time.
What are your must-have pieces from Manduka personally and for the studio?
What does the future hold for Studio Birkhane?
Creative endeavors and retreats on Gotland and around the world! We’re really picky about the places and spaces, because it has to be in line with the Studio Birkhane vibe. All the pieces need to come together to create that magical space where people can let go and get back to presence. In May we’re hosting a retreat here on Gotland focused on yoga and personal development. (here about the upcoming retreat in Gotland) After that we’re eyeing Morocco + a psychedelic yoga retreat in the Netherlands for fall and winter.
What can you tell us about the future of yoga from a small business perspective?
We have no idea. We just keep following our energies and what feels right for us. As long as it’s fun and/or meaningful, we’ll keep on doing it!
Give Studio Birkhane a follow <3