Ali Handley calls it “the mindful burn”.

“It’s that powerful challenge of both physical stamina and mind-body connection that leaves you feeling energised and elevated at the end of a Pilates class,” Handley tells Broadsheet.

It’s a philosophy that has driven the success of her studio Bodylove Pilates in Woollahra, and now the opening of a luxe new studio in the Sydney CBD.

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Floor-to-ceiling windows wrap the entirety of the expansive penthouse space above Clarence Street, flooding its multi-use mat room and two reformer studios with glorious natural light.

“When you lie on the reformer beds, it is this wonderful urban combination of clouds, sky and the gorgeous domed roof of the QVB – it feels very European, or New York-y,” says Handley.

Handley is bringing to the city the signature holistic workouts that have seen her amass a devoted following in the eastern suburbs.

“Our goal is to support our clients in every way we can to meet the demands of their lives, and a visit to our studios provides so much more than just a workout,” she says. “We want to nourish all the systems of the body and provide an inspiring and inclusive sense of community in a considered and beautiful setting. Now more than ever, people are discerning about where they spend their time, and the opportunity to come and work out in a thoughtfully designed sanctuary in the heart of the CBD will hopefully be welcomed.”

With up to 20 classes each day, the new studio has modalities and practices to suit a range of tastes. Reformer, mat and jump-board Pilates, barre, yoga and cardio are among the classes on offer, with a significant number of prenatal and postnatal options as well. The common theme is Handley’s belief in targeting the body as much as the mind, as a means of optimising both physical and mental wellbeing.

“Our goal with each and every class is of course to move your bodies, tone, lengthen and strengthen you, but we also want to make sure we nourish your bodies and never deplete them,” says Handley. “At Bodylove we strive for holistic wellness, and by simply giving yourself permission to slow down, connect, release and breathe in every class, the impact can be huge.”

Designed by Deb Quigley and Margot Lane of Lane & Grove, who also created the Bodylove studio in Woollahra, the CBD space features French-oak herringbone flooring, marble countertops and furniture from MCM House, as well as floral installations and planters from Wilder’s Jordana Simpson.

“The Bodylove experience is so much more than just a workout, and it begins the moment you step into the space,” says Handley. “We want our clients to immediately transition from the rush and demands of their day, so every detail is considered and delivered with a deliberate sense of love.”

Bodylove Penthouse
222 Clarence Street, Sydney

Mon to Fri 6am–8pm
Sat & Sun 7am–midday