Selby Hill used to joke that yoga was nap time. Now, it’s her lifestyle.
Her first time on the mat was with the University of Georgia equestrian team, and while it provided an opportunity to stretch and relax, it wasn’t something she expected to pursue on her own.
“We understood that it was important to stretch—that’s why we were there—but it wasn’t necessarily igniting a lot of excitement and passion in me,” says Hill ABJ ’14, who rode from 2010 to 2014 at UGA and was part of the 2013-14 NCEA National Championship team.
But a few years later, Hill attended a class in Atlanta. The music, blasting from a large boom box, added to the instructor’s energy and transformed Hill’s relationship with the practice. She embraced not just the physical challenge but also the community.
“I think that was something I missed from my time on the equestrian team,” Hill says. “We had to do 6 a.m. workouts that were brutal, but we were all in it together. It was something you wanted to show up for because you weren’t just doing it for yourself; you were doing it with others.”
The studio where Hill fell in love with yoga eventually shut down, a fate many locally owned gyms face due to staffing or financial challenges, even when they have a committed client base. But eventually, an opportunity came along to celebrate yoga in a new way—through her own studio.
Hill, along with her husband Alex Hill BBA ’10, a former UGA tennis player, and Wes Van Dyk BBA ’12, a former UGA football player, brought together their backgrounds in business and leadership to form Yonder Yoga.
“We wanted to bridge the gap of bringing in a local, community feel but also being scalable,” Hill says. “And we’ve been fortunate that our growth found us before we were even ready to look for it.”
We wanted to bridge the gap of bringing in a local, community feel but also being scalable. And we’ve been fortunate that our growth found us before we were even ready to look for it.” — Selby Hill ABJ ’14, founder of Yonder Yoga, which recently opened its fifth Atlanta-area studio
A balanced partnership fostered that growth, Hill says. Alex is a real estate investor and able to scout potential locations while managing finances, Selby focuses on operations, and Wes is involved with branding and corporate strategy. They now have five Atlanta-area locations, with plans for even more.
Hill also credits their progress to Yonder’s atmosphere. The studio offers several heated class options ranging in temperature from 90-95 degrees, and they train instructors to inspire progress, build strength, and most importantly, make everyone feel welcome.
Yonder moves away from traditional yogic stereotypes. While Yonder encourages meditation and internal reflection, the instructors don’t require silence and seriousness. Instead, the studio elevates each class’s energy through upbeat music and instructors that match everyone’s enthusiasm. And when challenges come—whether that’s a new balancing posture, moving through a new sequence of moves, or just attending a different class, instructors offer individualized encouragement.
“We also host events that deepen and foster that sense of belonging and community,” Hill says. “We always said that we wanted to be a lifestyle for people, and that starts with having amenities that fit into your day—we have a shower, towels, and whatever you need. You can just show up, and it fits into your day. “
Outside of her business, Hill stays connected to the university through the UGA alumni board’s student and young alumni committee. The opportunity to connect with current students means she gets to give back while also learning from their successes.
“I owe a lot of my success, my drive, and what inspired me to UGA,” she says. “But there’s a new level of opportunity that these students are chasing because UGA is continuously raising their bar, and that’s raising the level of what you can accomplish.”