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OK confession: I love to workout. I’m one of those crazy people who schedules in workouts into my planner and who lives to sweat! Recently, though, I had been losing my passion for fitness. I felt like I was ‘thrashing’ myself in the gym and was ending up with injuries and mentally burning out.

There has to be something that fulfills both my physical and mental needs right? One day I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed and Victoria’s Secret model (and certified hottie) Izabel Goulart has uploaded a picture of herself on a crazy-looking contraption. What was it?! Method of torture, or answer to my fitness prayers?

The Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine used to incorporate the Pilates exercise technique for a challenging and intense workout. Springs, leverage and body weight are used as resistance while performing movements targeting specific muscle groups. Workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements working your muscles through a full range of motion. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement. By working to overcome this resistance, training results in increased fitness levels.

Enter Kaya, Melbourne’s first mind and body health club.

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Kaya specialises in Pilates and Authentic Yoga. Kāya is a family business, owned and operated by husband and wife team Christian and Koula Ruggeri. Christian and Koula have been working in the fitness industry for a combined 16 years.

Before opening Kaya, they worked closely together for seven years as executive managers at Elixr Health Clubs, Australia’s Leading Mind and Body Health Clubs in Sydney. Elixr’s philosophy of holistic health and personalised member care truly resonated with Christian and Koula. Their experiences at Elixr coupled with their shared passion for health and wellbeing led to their decision to establish a health club in Melbourne, their original home. I knew Kaya was the place that I had been dreaming of as soon as I stepped inside.

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Conveniently located on Chapel St, Prahran, the decor, music and lighting creates an atmosphere that instantly relaxed and energised me. Upon meeting Christian and Koula, their passion, knowledge and experience shone through and is reflected in every aspect of the club. Kāya Pilates is based on practical exercise-science principles and is taught by expert, dedicated and attentive instructors. Kaya Pilates provides you with safe and practical challenges to improve your posture, strength, core-stability, physique and overall sense of wellbeing. Kaya Pilates is also extremely effective for injury rehabilitation. Kaya offer both Group Reformer and Mat Classes, with two dedicated studios for the Group Reformer Classes.

The Yoga offered at Kaya is authentic, guided by teachers who live and breathe their disciplines, and embrace Yoga as a way of life. Kāya provides various styles of Yoga. To encompass a holistic approach to wellbeing, Kaya also offer a wide variety of Fitness Classes, Personal Training, Nutritional Consultations and Remedial Massage Therapy. I challenged myself to #30DaysofKAYA, to see how my body, mind and soul would respond, and kept a log on my Instagram @biancaayshe to keep myself accountable.

Day 1 I jumped into a Group Reformer class taught by Ali Frias Garcia, who like me has a background in professional dance. A Kaya specialty, the Group Reformer Class (GRC) is a machine-based class that incorporates spring resistance in a series of exercises, which stabilise your core and strengthen and sculpt your entire body. I did feel a little intimidated by the Reformer and didn’t know quite what to expect. My fears were put aside as soon as the class began. Ali guided us through every exercise and made personal corrections to my technique. She has a wealth of knowledge and was very motivating. I knew I was in safe hands and everyone in the class was hard-working, focussed and enjoyed the workout. I left feeling like every muscle in my body had been worked, and couldn’t wait to try it again. The next morning I woke up feeling sore! It’s my favourite kind of feeling because I know if the workout doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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I jumped into a Yoga class with Dharma Vanam instead. The yoga room is really the perfect environment to practice in, dimly lit, earthy tones, with candles and Buddha statues. The other thing that struck me was that the room is scented! The attention to detail shown by Christian and Koula in design is really second-to-none.

After my first week at Kaya, I had lost 2cms from my waist and hips and was feeling leaner and more energised than ever. I couldn’t wait to get into class again. With over 80 classes a week, it was easy to find a class that fit around my schedule. I took a lot of classes with Tanya Lee instructing – I love her class as she often injects a bit of humour right when your legs, gluts or core are burning and you are in a world of pain.

Over the 30 days I felt stronger, leaner and happier, ready to strut down the beach for bikini season (or maybe the Victoria’s Secret runway…).

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