Beauty / Wellbeing

Inside Ali Handley’s world class Bodylove Pilates studio

After nine years living and breathing Pilates in New York, instructer Ali Handley has returned to share her method and world class trainers at her new studio, Bodylove Pilates. Bodylove Pilates’s structure is driven by the idea of the mindful burn - a powerful challenge that is the perfect balance of both physical stamina and mind-body connection. The workouts are specifically designed for maximum results, ensuring guests leave each class feeling elevated, energised, connected and in complete control of their body.

Located at the Luxe wellness studio at Woollahra Village, Sydney, the studio offers beautiful lighting and harmonious surrounds to enhances your whole Bodylove Pilates experience. And don’t worry, if you’re a newcomer to Pilates, Bodylove welcomes you with a wide range of classes across all levels, from beginners to the die-hard Pilates lovers.

What's behind the name Bodylove Pilates?
Pilates celebrates the body - gives the body love. Bodylove Pilates.

We love the look of your space. Tell us more about how you think the importance of the environment of a pilates space impacts you and your clients?
I have been dreaming about what my studio would look like for a very long time ... even though when I walked into the Queen Street space I was six month pregnant I knew I had to take it. The natural light is truly beautiful, flooding in through the arches, filtered by the trees outside, reflecting the pink of the iconic Queens Court walls. It feels very harmonious with its surroundings. I was lucky enough to work with a very talented group of female owned businesses, namely Deb and Margot from Lane & Grove who shared my aesthetic, and together we created a space that embodies wellness.

What was the catalyst for you realising you wanted to create a studio that bridged the gap between solo and group class studios?
In New York I worked mostly on a one-on-one basis, and in private Pilates you can be very tailored, goal orientated, and because of the intimate relationship you share with your client you are able to create a network of complementary practitioners to best support them. At Bodylove I love the energy and community of group classes, but I wanted to elevate our clients experience by offering opportunities to dive deep on relevant topics, exercises and create genuine partnerships with other experts in the wellness sphere. I want Bodylove to be so much more that just a place to workout - that is important - but the Clinic will provide more individualised support to ensure they are getting the most out of our classes, as well as experiences and collaborations with complementary wellness practitioners such as nutritionists, acupuncturists or physiotherapists, to name a few.

What is the best class for a beginner?
If you have never done Pilates before I highly recommend doing Beginner Reformer. It is by no way an easy class, you will still feel challenged, but we are focused on building a strong foundation. In this class you will learn about correct body alignment, how to safely use the machine, and time is taken to ensure you are getting the important basics and technique right. We have two open level classes called Total Bodylove Mat and Total Bodylove Reformer - as a beginner you could also try these as they are designed to offer variations to a wide variety of skills and experience.

What is the best class for more advanced students?
We have two athletic reformer classes - Whip It and Jump Rebels. Whip It is probably the hardest - not for the faint hearted, this is an intermediate/advanced level reformer class that will challenge your cardio fitness, physical and mental strength. Expect a fast paced, athletic Reformer class with high intensity intervals for Pilates lovers who like to work hard, using a variety of props to keep you engaged and energised.

Tell us about your lifestyle and day-to-day routine? And how this impacts/ties in with your work?
Well I am a mum to two young children and one new baby so life at the moment is pretty wild. Depending on when my newborn wakes up, I’m always up around or before 5am. I meditate and then I start the day. School and daycare drop off and then I’m always at the studio around 9am with my baby. I’m not teaching at the moment, just covers so I’m there to meet with my amazing studio manager Lani. I catch clients as they come and go, at around 11am I always do a little flow on the reformer - instructors join me if they can and then I do a lot of cleaning. (I’m completely OCD about keeping the space clean, it’s very white - so it can look dirty quickly!) I squeeze in 2 hours of work - responding to clients and planning workshops and clinics over lunch while my baby sleeps and then the rest of the day is spent with my kids - play, dinner, bath, bed. Work for me starts again around 8pm - 11pm. I try to take class about 3-4 times a week depending on my husband’s schedule.