Studio Spotlight: Body in Balance, Lahaina, Hawaii

For our first Studio Spotlight of the summer, we wanted to explore a special location where it’s almost always summer! The island of Maui welcomes millions of tourists every year and is home to the historic city of Lahaina. The Aloha State’s second largest island is renowned for the numerous activities in which residents and tourists participate, including surfing, snorkeling, hiking and paddle-boarding. It is has also become one of the world’s premiere wellness destinations, with retreat centers and health stores supplying natural vitality amidst the island’s gorgeous landscape.

Here, Amanda Furgiuele sets out to bring the benefits and inspiration Pilates to the people of Hawaii. As the owner and lead instructor at Body in Balance in Lahaina, she conducts private and group sessions that reflect the culture and beauty of Maui. With the Peak Pilates® Master Instructor Amie Baca, the studio hosts dozens of Peak Pilates trainings every year for prospective instructors and fitness professionals hoping to join the island’s growing health and wellness industry. We spoke to Amanda about the studio, her mission to bring Pilates to Hawaii, and her unique place in the Pilates landscape at one of the most remote and attractive destinations on the planet.

Q: Tell us about Body in Balance and how you got started.

A: Body In Balance Pilates and Personal Training Studio is a fusion of fitness and wellness. We are a private conditioning and wellness studio and a personal weight training center, and we hold an array of classes for all ages and skill levels. With our client’s individual needs in mind, we specialize in one-on-one instruction. We also work in small groups for those with similar fitness goals, offering mat classes, stability training and the most innovative selection of group class offerings on the island.

Our original class offerings consisted of two mat classes and two reformer classes, along with a few private lessons. That was it! Since then, over the last 11 years, we’ve built a diverse schedule of class offerings and feature over 100 classes and lessons a week, as well as host guest instructors and teacher trainings from all over the world. Not bad for a small studio on a tiny island in one of the most isolated archipelagos in the world!

Q: What drew you to offering Pilates at your studio?

A: From the very beginning, Pilates has been the foundation of our studio. We have always believed that mindful, meaningful movement changes people’s lives, and the Peak Pilates Principles speak volumes to that ideal. There isn’t a single body I have seen in my 15-plus years of teaching that wouldn’t benefit from Peak Pilates instruction. It’s such an important system of movement. I can’t imagine my studio without it!

Q: How do you incorporate the unique culture of Maui into your studio?

A: We love Maui, and we try to embody the spirit of aloha in our daily practices and interactions with the clients and our community. A lot of our instructors are involved in local community service/functions outside of the studio. We also have classes that combine our instructors and out beautiful landscapes and what our island has to offer.

Q: Do you offer any special classes that take advantage of the beautiful Hawaiian climate?

A: Yes! We absolutely love our SUP Yoga and SUPilates classes! There’s nothing like being on the water—it’s half of what living on an island is all about—and the instability offers a delicious core challenge. We also work in conjunction with an Equestrian center to offer horseback riding in the West Maui Mountains. Aerial Yoga Play on the beach? Yes! We offer that, too. We even facilitate group hikes for our instructors and students. If we can get outside, we will. Of course, the air conditioning at the studio is nice too.

Q: What kind of clients do you serve?

A: Our mission is to make fitness fun and accessible for everyone, because everyone deserves to feel good forever! Our youngest students are in our pre- and post-natal Pilates and yoga sessions, as well as our baby-wearing classes and even our Fly Baby Aerial classes. We have special Pilates for Teens classes, Kid’s Ballet and Breaking and even fencing workshops for all ages. Our oldest student is 98 years old and comes to Pilates three times a week. We have elite athletes, physical therapy clients and every stage in between. There’s literally something for all fitness levels, ages and abilities, and we pride ourselves on helping our students find their fitness passion and potential. No matter the age or ability of a client, we will help find the right instructor and class for them.

Q: What is Body Balance Maui’s “secret sauce” that keeps your customers coming back?

A: “Ohana” means family, and everyone here is part of our Body in Balance Ohana. Many of our clients have been coming here for 11 years, and most of our visiting clients come back year after year. We look forward to it! We know everyone’s name, go to their kid’s plays and watch them play music, so we genuinely know and love our clients. Lahaina is a pretty small town. Even my instructors have been here for years and years. Maui is a special place, and we make special connections here. That connection translates to our studio family. With that being said, it is just as important to have a relationship with the instructors. We put on monthly goal-setting and support meetings, visit each other’s classes, and encourage our instructors and clients to build stronger relationships and support one another, both inside and outside the studio.

Q: Why did you choose Peak Pilates® equipment for your club?

A: Continuing education is extremely important to me, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a Peak Pilates Education Center. Living on an island, we are often limited in our resources, and I wanted to create an open, judgment-free environment to inspire a new generation of teachers and bring fitness and wellness education to the forefront in Hawaii. With MIs like Amie (pictured right), the comprehensive programming offered by Peak Pilates was a clear choice.

Q: In your opinion, what makes Peak Pilates® equipment special?

A: The craftsmanship and design of the Peak Pilates equipment is unsurpassed with durability that lasts a lifetime. That coupled with the variety between the wood and metal lines make it easy to use for any environment, from studio to gym to home. Peak Pilates raise the bar with the most well-made and innovative Pilates equipment available today.

Q: What is your favorite class to teach from the Peak Pilates® program?

A: Our favorite program to teach is the Peak Pilates Comprehensive program, especially the Level I course. Seeing teachers grow exponentially from Module 1 to Module 4 is highly rewarding and truly inspiring. The Peak Pilates education program is designed for all learning styles and builds upon itself from level to level. This sets each student teacher up for success, making our courses incredibly satisfying to teach.

Q: What is the most Popular Pilates class your studio offers?

A: Hands down, our most popular class is the classical reformer class. We offer multiple levels. And with only five machines, we fill up fast!

This article was contributed by Greg Mantell, Senior Editor – Mad Dogg Athletics.

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