Reformer Pilates In The WestFeb 25, 2022
ARTICLE BY JESSIE STOELWINDER
For those who find yoga a bit of a stretch, you can now get your groove on with hip-hop Pilates
Five years ago, Kaye Waterhouse made the bold move to introduce hip-hop yoga to Perth.
Now, she is bringing the beats to Pilates.
The owner of Vital Beat has cut the ribbon on WA’s first hip-hop reformer studio, which serves up playful yet strong classes with a side of soulful, urban beats. It is the latest offering from Vital Beat’s wellness hub in Midland, which includes a main yoga shala and consulting rooms for a naturopath, massage therapist and energy workers.
Ever since she opened her first yoga space in 2016, Waterhouse dreamed of one day adding Pilates to the mix.
“As much as I love yoga for its philosophy and way it makes you feel at the end of a practice, Pilates fills the gaps that yoga has,” she explains.
“Yoga isn’t necessarily a complete movement style. The drawback rowing motion, for example, you wouldn’t get in a yoga class. I really love Pilates because it strengthens my yoga practice and adds to my movement, strength and mobility.
“Combining the two for a well-rounded practice makes the experience of both so much better.”
Vital Beat has never been a studio that takes itself too seriously, and the music is an extension of that. It feeds into the vibe of the space and allows students to grin through any challenging moves.
“It’s about being really playful,” Waterhouse says. “We integrate a lot of urban and hip-hop music and are really intentional about the playlists we choose.
“There is so much evidence behind the idea of music being able to drive performance. If you have something you can attach to, whether it’s a beat or a melody you love, or you can sing along, it makes the experience so much more enjoyable.”
For those who feel daunted just looking at a reformer machine, Waterhouse says not to be afraid of giving it a go.
“It looks a little medieval,” she laughs.
“People can expect to work a lot with their own body weight and resistance. There is a little cardiovascular exercise, but nothing that makes you feel like you’re going to die. There are lots of repetitive, sculpting movements rather than big weights. And everything is modifiable, so the springs can be upgraded or downgraded to make moves easier or harder.”
When designing the Pilates program, Waterhouse has been mindful to make the classes accessible to people who may be recovering from injury or getting back into exercise.
“We do pre & postnatal here, and those options have been quite popular,” she says.
“We also have older people coming, too, maybe they find the up and down movement of yoga challenging or they are recovering from a knee reconstruction. There is a rehabilitative element to Pilates.”
Catering to a diverse range of students has always been at the fore of Waterhouse’s ethos.
Vital Beat offers scholarships to those in the community who may not be able to afford a membership along with a BIPOC diversity scholarship for its annual yoga teacher training. Frustrated by white-washing and faux body positivity messaging in the wellness industry, Waterhouse has been vocal about promoting inclusivity both in studio and on social media. She says more health business should consider whether they are truly practising what they preach.
“It’s one thing to say that everybody belongs in a movement space, but if somebody is looking at your social media or your staff and they don’t see themselves represented, they don’t necessarily feel welcome in that space,” Waterhouse says.
“In terms of the wellness industry, there is a disconnect between who business owners say are welcome and who actually feels welcome. It’s really important to consider diversity in marketing and in hiring, so you are reaching a wider sector of the community.
“That’s ultimately what we want — we want more people to experience wellness through movement. But they are only going to come if they feel themselves represented.”
Thank you to The West Australian for the Today feature! Penned amazingly as always by
Jessie Stoelwinder and killer pics by Jackson Flindell
Bangin’ mural by Bec Abdy Art
You can read the full article in The West