Working in a wellness studio is more than seeking serenity. In partnership with Hostplus, we talk to the team at Happy Melon about balancing work and play, with physio and Pilates.
It’s just ticked over to 11am and Happy Melon is quiet and still.
Staff and students at the yoga studio in High Street, Armadale, are seated on the floor focusing on their breathing. Eyes are closed; legs are crossed. They’re in the middle of a group meditation class.
The scene is indicative of working at the studio. A handful of full-time staff and 40 contractors teach Pilates and yoga, and cover the fields of physiotherapy, fitness and meditation. Others work behind the scenes to keep bookings, classes and other aspects of the operation running smoothly.
“There’s so many different ways to heal the body and each body is different,” says Georgie Reed, Happy Melon’s marketing and product manager. “It’s important to address all elements; the mental, emotional and physical.”
Reed says the centre is humming well before their first student arrives.
The front-of-house team arrives at 5.45am and make sure everything is ready for the day’s first yoga and Pilates classes. The teachers make sure they’re there early, too, so they can chat with each student.
“Checking in and making a connection with each client is really important,” says Reed.
After class, the teachers wipe down the mats – “it’s nice for clients to not have to grab a mop” – and sometimes move on to teach a back-to-back class.
Reed doesn’t start until 8.30am but will often arrive an hour early so she can go to a class of her own. After showering at the studio, she’ll get ready for her day dealing with advertising, design and communications. This week she’s making sure a visiting international yogi has everything he needs for his weekend workshops. With a mixed background in corporate advertising and health and wellness, this environment brings the perfect balance for her.
“This is so much more wholesome [than straight] advertising and it’s what relates to me,” she says. “My days are full and very busy, but I’ve learnt to make time for different priorities like yoga or meditation classes.”
By mid-morning, Happy Melon’s meditation staff will be leading mindfulness sessions – the themes are “clear”, “calm” and “connect” – before heading out to host corporate wellness programs with companies.
Many staff here have been handpicked for a range of skills. Two in-house physiotherapists spend their days one-on-one with patients seeking treatment. They can also be found leading reformer Pilates classes, pre-natal reformer classes and clinical Pilates.
Staff member Sreejith Nair practices Ayurveda, an ancient herbal medical practice from India. His days can consist of anything from a full-body massage to a traditional Indian head massage. He’s been treating for 12 years – eight of which were in India before relocating to Melbourne.
Other staff members offer remedial and Rolfing techniques, and naturopaths are available to help with diet and nutrition.
By mid-afternoon, the sun is pouring into the courtyard where clients are happily sipping tea and reading magazines. Some staff may still be floating around, even if their shifts finished hours ago.
“We’re a happy little family – we’re super respectful, we’re not showy,” Reed says. “We’ve got quite a few people who practice in their bra; it’s a respectful place like that.”
There’s a key element that ties the close-knit team together: they live, breathe and believe in health and wellness.
“It’s interesting to see the paths that people have taken to get here – many of the yoga and meditation teachers are former lawyers,” she says.
For those aspiring to a career in the industry, she says that level of passion is a driver for success.
“The common link is authenticity,” she says. “Because of that we’ve grown into a little community. We all encourage each other to look after ourselves and get involved in what’s important to each other. We want to be the best we can be so we can help others be the best they can be.”
This article is presented in partnership with Hostplus, which has your super covered no matter your role and how it changes through your career.