Last summer, amidst cautious optimism and neighbors’ tentative return to some group activities, The Corner yoga studio opened at 676 Driggs Avenue, promising an inclusive, welcoming environment for yogis or aspiring yogis of all shapes, sizes, and experience levels. And it delivered, though not without its fair share of pandemic-related bumps along the way.

Two weekends ago, owner Rebecca Ambrose and the staff, members, and supporters she’s amassed since August 2021 came together for an anniversary celebration complete with Ace’s Pizza and prosecco. This party served as both a cause for revelry and reflection, which Ambrose has been doing a lot of lately.

“It’s been absolutely incredible. We had our pizza and prosecco party on the date of one year and I spent the whole week leading up to it just letting myself be like, ‘Oh my god, what was I doing at this time this week last year?’ I was just kind of taking it all in and reflecting on just being in the space, and then once it was filled with teachers and students just celebrating and laughing and watching 8:00 a.m. students meet 5:45 students,” Ambrose recalled. “Just to step back and look at the community that we’ve built and how lovely everyone is and how much they’re getting out of it, and how much like students have made friends with each other, it just is really, truly incredible. You know, the year started out with people barely being ready to get back into doing yoga in person. And now by the end of it, all these relationships and new friendships and routines formed around it and it’s just magical.”

And as with any new business (pandemic-era or not), the year has certainly featured a number of surprises, the biggest of them being the advent of the omicron variant last December.

“[Omicron] was an absolute nightmare. And I just held on to the desk by my fingernails and said, ‘Everyone will come back. Everyone will come back.’ The four weeks that are generally the most popular and exciting for fitness across the board are like the last two weeks of December and the first two weeks of January. It’s when everybody makes their goals and commitments and they’re ready to roll out. And it was just dead,” Ambrose reminisced.


To Ambrose, coming out on the other side of that ordeal almost felt like opening twice, and it halted other programs like a planned teacher training. But the studio did get back on track and has been full-steam ahead since, including introducing new initiatives, classes, and programs, a more recent one being hands-on assists, complete with posters for each yogi indicating whether or not they’re comfortable being touched and assisted by instructors.

“I’m really big on consent and finding autonomy and really letting people make their own choices. So a big piece of that, for me, was that you get to say whether or not you wanna be touched during class,” she explained. “It’s been really fun to watch students kind of figure out their preferences.”

Another unexpected — but pleasant — milestone was selling out a class (the Saturday 10:30 a.m. flow) and in turn just generally getting to know the community’s preferences in class times and structures. To Ambrose, whose prior yoga instructing experience was mainly on the Upper East Side, there’s definitely a different vibe in Williamsburg (mainly, that we like our sleep — the Saturday 8 a.m. class the studio attempted was not nearly as popular).

Looking ahead, the studio plans to continue doing monthly sound baths and member challenges, as well as an October iteration of 200-hour teacher training that will also provide a pipeline to teach classes in-studio upon completion. Another goal of Ambrose’s is to teach trauma-informed yoga.

“We don’t have little emotional x-ray machines that can just tell what people need or what they’ve been through,” she remarked. “And people’s practice is really their biology and their biography and you can’t predict either one of those things. And so it’s having tools to create a space that is just comfortable and safe where people can just land and not have an expectation having to be so guarded.”

This all ties into what’s been integral to Ambrose and The Corner since its inception: community.

“Williamsburg is special and I can say that like hands up in the air, joyfully confidently,” Ambrose noted. “Everybody just has each other’s back here, it’s incredible. People say good morning here. Frankly, it’s fun to roll out your yoga mat next to a nice person who’s excited to see you whether or not they know you.”

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