While the Mornington Peninsula is known for its rugged beaches and award-winning wineries, in recent years, it has become a burgeoning wellness destination for those looking to slow down and retreat from city life.
Susan Roper has lived in St Andrews Beach for 34 years and has witnessed this tidal shift, with the demand for health and wellbeing services continuing to grow. It’s more than a passing trend for Susan, who has taught group fitness for over 30 years.
It was on a trip to India that Susan first discovered yoga, and she remembers feeling an instant sense of homecoming. “Ifelt like yoga was waiting for me. From the moment my feet hit the soil in India, I felt an instant connection to the place and to their practices.”
When she returned from her trip, Susan threw herself into training at Power Living Yoga in Fitzroy, known for producing some of Melbourne’s best yoga teachers. She had her heart set on opening a seaside studio for her tight-knit community, a space that would be free of judgement and pretence. By chance, she stumbled upon the perfect spot, a stone’s throw from her house.
Located a few blocks back from St Andrews Beach, the studio is full of greenery and treasures collected on Susan’s travels. It’s full of character, with polished floorboards, exposed brick walls and infrared heaters overhead. A fireplace in the corner makes the space cosy in the cooler months, limbering the body and preparing it for deep relaxation.
The studio is well-equipped with mats, straps, bolsters, blocks and blankets, so all students need bring is themselves. With a large floorplan and well-spaced mats, there’s enough room to move and breathe in your own space without encroaching on your neighbour.
A diverse schedule caters for all abilities and preferences, including Vinyasa, Yin, Hatha, Kundalini, Slow Flow, Gentle Yoga and Mat Pilates. There’s an ever-evolving array of workshops and events on offer, from yoga teaching training to sound baths and reiki courses. Susan also hires out the space as a functional venue for practitioners to run their own classes and retreats.
Next door, you’ll find Peninsula Pilates Studio, run by Susan’s dear friend Aisling Harris. Like Susan, Aisling is approachable, fun-loving and extensively trained, having clocked up 19 years in the industry.
Aisling offers 1-on-1 and semi-private classes utilizing a full-suite of Pilates apparatus, including Reformer, Cadillac, Trapeze, Wunda Chair, Springwall, Spine Corrector and Ladder Barrel. It’s a boutique offering with individually managed and prescribed programs to lengthen and strengthen the body and achieve optimal results.
Susan, Aisling and their team of experienced teachers offer classes seven days a week, with bookings available via studioparadise.com and peninsulapilates.studio. With its community-centric attitude and inclusive offering, this blissful beachside studio is one you’ll want to come back to.