Bodylove Pilates Studio overlooks Woollahra’s musk-pink Queen’s Court and Luxe cafe. It’s a dreamy, pastel-hued space that’s as calming as it is energising. It was designed by Lane & Grove architects and features striking pieces by Australian photographer Elise Hassey and large arch windows to let in plenty of natural light.
While the look of the studio is important to Bodylove founder Ali Handley, it’s the fact it offers more than 17 Pilates and yoga classes, each catering to a different niche, that makes this place different.
“I think there’s space in Sydney for high quality boutique group classes. Instead of ‘Reformer 1, Reformer 2 [classes]’,” Handley told Broadsheet. “The beauty of Pilates is it can be modified for every person; it’s not just one set of exercises.”
She has created classes such as La Femme Yoga for women and mothers; The Assets for “abs, arms and ass”; Jump Rebels, a high-intensity interval-training-style reformer class; and 60 and Fierce, for people over 60. Ballet barre is also available. Each class is taught in one of the studio’s two bright and airy spaces; one contains 14 reformer machines, the other 16 mats.
Bodylove’s schedule was partly inspired by Handley’s 10 years living in NYC, where a more bespoke approach to classes has evolved.
“In New York, the boutique fitness world is so huge because in summer it’s 45 degrees and in winter it’s freezing, so exercise happens inside,” she says. “Sydneysiders, on the other hand, live an outdoor-style life, so some of us are like, ‘Why would I pay to exercise indoors?’ That is why we put so much thought into the design of the space and the types of classes, because we wanted to elevate the group-class experience.”
Handley has a background in pre- and post-natal training and teaching. Her new studio runs classes for expectant parents, or those recovering from birth at peak times each day. “Typically, pre-natal classes are held during work hours, and the inference there is that pregnant women don’t have jobs, which is crazy because most pregnant women now work right up until just before they give birth,” she says.
Bodylove Studio also runs workshops through a program Handley calls The Clinic. This add-on offers a range of activities, lectures and semi-private classes to help broaden participants’ knowledge and competence in Pilates and other wellness practices. An acupuncturist and a nutritionist are planned for upcoming appearances.
Membership to Bodylove includes the occasional free clinic, although a fee may apply for topics lead by visiting experts. Drop-in classes and 10-pack deals are available, and full membership – including unlimited classes – is $65 per week, or $80 for the ultimate pre-natal package (which comes with a Bodylove Online membership for extra information and web classes).
Bodylove Pilates Studio
Suite 2, level 1, 118– 22 Queen Street, Woollahra
Mon to Thu 6am–8pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on May 87, 2019. Some details may have changed since publication.