Two former AFL players have transformed an old Collingwood factory into a lush and leafy wellness space dedicated to breathwork and hot and cold plunges. Ex-Geelong player Will Slade and his brother, ex-Collingwood player Ben Sinclair, founded Inner Studio after both experiencing injuries and concussions during their AFL careers and discovering the mental and physical benefits of breathwork and temperature exposure. They realised there was nowhere in Melbourne offering a space where they could practise both.

Watch: Breathe In. Trying A New Wellness Space in Melbourne
Unleash your inner Wim Hof by sinking into hot and cold magnesium plunge pools in a serene greenery-filled warehouse. Plus, yoga and breathwork classes and the southern hemisphere’s largest sauna.

The pair worked with landscape designer Clea Cregan (Miniscapes) and landscape architect Andrew Laidlaw to convert the industrial warehouse in the backstreets of Collingwood into a green oasis with plants including ficus benjamina, clivia and Australian umbrella trees. The greenery surrounds two concrete curved magnesium pools: a hot pool set at 38°C and a cold pool that ranges from between five and 8°C. While studies on the benefits of temperature exposure have been inconclusive, they might include improved circulation, reduced inflammation and relief from pain and muscle soreness. Increased clarity from the breathwork and mental focus needed to endure the hot and cold temperatures is also said to be beneficial.

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Breathwork sessions and yoga classes are also on offer, and the studio houses the southern hemisphere’s largest sauna, accommodating up to 25 people. Slade and Sinclair have worked with local and international musicians and producers, as well as breathwork experts, on a series of recordings to accompany classes, ranging from high-energy tracks to more soothing cuts. Breathwork classes are held in an acoustically engineered studio with a state-of-the-art sound system.

Not sure where to start? A range of 45-minute classes incorporate the studio’s various facilities. The Awaken class begins with guided breathwork followed by a sauna session and a cold plunge, while the Restore class involves a yoga flow, sauna and cold plunge. Various membership tiers include classes, pools and the sauna; only the pools and sauna; or casual memberships.

The studio hopes to capture a like-minded community of people already clocked on to the benefits of temperature exposure – many are devotees of Wim Hof, a Dutch "extreme athlete" known for enduring extreme temperatures and helping kickstart an ice bath obsession worldwide – as well as those who are new to the practice.

“There’s no doubt that as much as the experience is about self-improvement, it’s also about connecting with others,” said Slade in a statement. “The global community around this kind of thing is really pretty incredible. For everyone from beginners to those with advanced practice, we just want people to experience it.”

Inner Studio
5–1 Campbell Street, Collingwood
(03) 9598 1263

Mon to Fri 6am–9pm
Sat & Sun 9am–6pm