Enlightened yogi Rodney Lee says that “the most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind”.
While this may be true for a hyper-flexible, hand-standing yogi, we think that a little bit of interior design zen goes a long way. Setting themselves apart from industrial-style, anxiety-inducing gyms, the best yoga and Pilates studios radiate a sense of calm even before you enter your first downward facing dog.
From humming walls, to serene minimalist aesthetics, and bathrooms you’ll want for your own home, we've found Sydney’s most beautiful Pilates and yoga studios to zone out, find your centre and get your zen on.
With a subtle, sublime sound radiating from the studio walls, Humming Puppy is Sydney’s first yogi-friendly nightclub (sort of). Swapping margaritas for complimentary coconut water, and ear-splitting tunes for a more soulful (read: discreet) sonic experience, the soft mellow hums from the moment you enter the relaxed converted warehouse guarantee you'll leave more limber and chill than when you arrived.
The sound system, engineered by the team at ARUP, radiantly drip-feeds tranquil bass tones by composer Mitch Allen from OneTwoStudios. Manipulating 7.83hz and 40hz sound frequencies, Humming Puppy’s soundtrack transcends the gamma soundwave to deepen your meditative experience, ground you to the Earth and encourage yogis to seamlessly flow from warrior to chair to downward facing dog.
Classes are limited to just 39 yat a time and thick black velvet drapes screen the wild city outside, allowing you to lose yourself in the altruistic hum.
Humming Puppy offers a combination of breath-pranayama, movement-asana and awareness-mediation classes. Beginners can learn to hold basic poses in "Mellow Hum" classes, while the "Dynamic Hum" class forces seasoned yogis to challenge their preconceived limitations. Post-hum, pamper yourself in the on-site shower facilities with state-of-the-art self-care appliances, or lounge with a herbal tea in the beautiful reception lounge.
Exposed timber beams, polished concrete floors, paintings from local artists lining the walls and a beauty bar. Having artfully repurposed an expansive 400sqm space once home to a St Peters clothing factory, Scout Pilates is one of Sydney’s most striking places to sweat it out.
With rustic bronze tapware, an original bathroom trough and salvaged steel windows, Scout Pilates is the sort of beautifully converted warehouse we'd be happy to call home. Drawing on her skills as a one-time design student, owner Lucy Beaumont has created a contemporary studio that truly embodies the zen intentions of Pilates.
“I felt that the studios that I found in Sydney never had all the boxes ticked,” Beaumont says. “I am a huge believer in creating environments that welcome people and make them feel good. Designing an amazing space helps support everyone to come in regularly workout, smile and feel good. And that's what we are about.”
Scout offers classic and reformer style Pilates classes using an assortment of props; and a barre studio for the ballet-inclined. We're also a big fan of the super-cool merch and resident pooch, Ollie.
One Hot Yoga
At One Hot Yoga, one thing is certain. Things get a little hot. The four studios across the venue’s two levels are heated anywhere between 21 to 37 degrees. To create a sense of clam as you sweat, head yogi, Lucinda Mills and designer Rob Mills have successfully draped the modern Art Deco studio in a sunny, minimalist aesthetic.
Studios are painted entirely in white, with honey-coloured timber floors and a few subtly positioned positive affirmations on the walls. Sunlight pours in from every angle, lighting gold brass accents and lifting spirits.
One Hot Yoga timetable offers over 80 options per week for the time-poor yogi or for those struggling to squeeze into busy studios. Not into packed out classes? One Hot Yoga offers private classes (solo or in groups of four) called Studio Pilates. This class is customised to assist participants in solidifying their strengthening goals. Attend a class around sunset or sunrise and enjoy the most Instagram-worthy workout cool-down from the venue’s city-view top floor.
Body Mind Life (The Redfern Studio)
If a Balinese yoga retreat is far beyond your exercise allowance, Body Mind Life’s Redfern studio overlooking the leafy greens of Redfern Park is surely the next best thing to a jungle escape. Illuminated by blissful natural light, the tree-high studio is a tranquil hideaway, tucked into a hidden courtyard with pops of frangipanis.
An offshoot of the hugely successful Sydney wellness powerhouse that is Body Mind Life, everyone is welcome at this Redfern studio where you can dive into reformer Pilates, meditation or Body Mind Life’s sought-after yoga classes. Get to know fellow yogis in the Redfern studio’s Yogi lounge as you enjoy a free organic tea before or after class.
Architect and co-owner, Ferique Beach Brown believes Body Mind Life’s inviting community and soft colour palette boost the calmness and overall effectiveness of a yoga or Pilates workout. “Yoga and reformer Pilates is all about tuning in,” Brown says. “Practising in a beautiful, well-designed space helps calm down the mind, and promotes feelings of well-being even before you've rolled out your mat or finished your workout on the machine.”
The variety of classes offer suitable training for the newbie looking to master the yoga foundations, as well as Pilates pros seeking to further strengthen their alignment.
At Sky-Lab, white hammocks cascade from super high ceilings. They’re matched with polished timber floors, pristine white walls and an abundance of natural light to achieve an almost celestial vibe.
Sky-Lab’s founder Shari Veitch’s aerial yoga classes combine yoga, dance, Pilates and pure strength for a euphoric workout. Unbound by the pitfalls of gravity, you’ll engage in a whole-body stretch with the beginner, relax or strengthen classes.
And as you return to your hammock at the end of each class, enter your Savasana with even more peace knowing that each time you attend a class, sky-lab donate a portion of their proceeds to organisations supporting the UN Global Sustainability Goals for 2030.
While this cinematic experience may come without the popcorn, we doubt your next trip the movies will be as immersive as a session at W1LL. The St Leonards studio takes yoga’s escapist intention to an insane LED level. Fitted with a cinema-size screen at the front of the studio, each W1LL class is complemented by theatrical displays of ambient natural settings to transport yogis to a place of calm.
Credited with launching Anytime Fitness in Australia, W1LL’s founder Jacinta McDonnell knows a thing or two about making exercise bearable for the impatient Sydneysider. McDonnell wants W1LL to be suitable to any age, ability and time-constraint. That’s why classes are capped at 44 minutes each, and there is even the option to grant committed yogis access to a catalogue of online classes to practice at home should getting to the studio be acting against one’s zen.
Rushing commuters, stale air and wailing train brakes are hardly conducive to achieving enlightenment. However, Oski Yoga offers a spot of refuge from the crowds at North Sydney Train Station.
Scented with aromatic candles, sip on complimentary herbal tea around an inviting timber table. Then it’s time to enter the all-white oasis. We’re not in the train station anymore! In the yoga studio, a sleek muted look is achieved with tan yoga mats and white curtains to shield glare from the outside world. Meanwhile, dark reformer machines complement the stylish timber floors of the Pilates studio.
Oski Yoga’s founder and designer Karen Roberts believes the studio’s welcoming aesthetic is what keeps her yogis coming back. “A workout is always more enjoyable surrounded by caring, supportive instructors that pride themselves on building relationships with our members,” says Karen. “Quite simply it is a beautiful studio filled with beautiful people that appreciate the finer things in life.” Oski Yoga offers a full suite of yoga, barre, Pilates, aerial and meditation classes. Perfect for finding peace before your morning commute.
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Image credit: One Hot Yoga.