A serene and sumptuous colour palette sets the tone at Higher Ground Yoga in Red Hill. Nestled amongst the treetops at the end of a boutique row of shops, the studio is a haven for locals and weekenders looking to retreat from the stressors of daily life.
Owner Jane Fenn was first introduced to yoga by her grandmother, who began studying yoga in the early 1970s. From a young age, Jane was taught primary sequences and sun salutations, instilling in her the importance of connecting mindful movement with breath. It wasn’t long before she was hooked.
Jane and her husband Lloyd are both designers by trade. The pair moved to Red Hill when their kids first started school, seeking a slower and more connected life on the Mornington Peninsula.
As keen surfers, yogis and green thumbs, the pair envisioned creating a community wellness space in their new hometown. They wanted it to be a refuge that reflected the natural environment, where everyone felt welcome and where a pot of tea was always brewing.
The studio itself was once a busy bakehouse, home to the old Johnny Ripe Bakery. When Johnny Ripe moved to their new location in Main Ridge, Jane and Lloyd jumped at the opportunity to take over the shopfront and transform it into a peaceful oasis for communal wellbeing.
The pair enlisted the help of their good friends at Design Orr Build – run by local husband-and-wife duo Matt and Rhiannon Orr – to bring their vision to life. Soft curves feature throughout the studio and create a sense of spaciousness, from the striking half-arch doorway with handles cast from river stones, to the custom ironbark joinery and ambient wall lights. The effect is instantly soothing.
“I wanted it to feel like a warm and cosy cave that you could emerge from after class, with your senses heightened by the practice. The trees outside always seem extra green when you reopen your eyes after savasana,” says Jane.
Sheer floor to ceiling curtains filter the natural light that peaks through the towering gums outside, and the earthy scent of incense emanates from a small altar in the corner. Cockatoos and kookaburras add to the soothing soundtrack that floats through the studio, and cork flooring provides a soft landing underfoot.
The space is climate-controlled, with state-of-the-art infrared heaters radiating gentle heat overhead. The subtle warmth aids relaxation, promotes detoxification and offers relief to sore and aching muscles. They’ll also provide ease and comfort in the cooler months when alpine weather hits the hinterlands.
Designed with the discerning yogi in mind, the studio is kitted out with natural jute yoga mats from Mukti and eco-friendly props and bolsters from local brand Seek Solitude.
A curated retail space includes self-care products from small-batch makers, including Dope Alchemy, The Vardo Boutique, Sacred Taste and Inner States. There’s also a select range of buttery-soft activewear from Team Timbuktu, made from recycled plastic bottles.
There are three class styles on the schedule, each an affirmation and suitable for all abilities; energise, balance and restore. “Yoga is for everyone,” says Jane. “All bodies are different; it’s about finding your version of a posture or pose. It’s a chance for introspection and to really connect and centre on yourself”.
The nurturing teachers at Higher Ground Yoga are ready to guide you to a state of inner calm, with classes available 7 days a week. You can gift yourself an hour of relaxation and reconnection with bookings via highergroundyoga.com.au or the MindBody app.