Bali is well and truly back on our list of voyages, the not-too-distant island beaming with its usual spiritual energy and Australian expats with lifestyle and creativity at their core. Friend of MAURIE AND EVE, Isabel Amundsen has opened Bali’s first physiotherapy-founded Pilates studio, Studio Fondue in the heart of Uluwatu. With the location’s strong cross over in lifestyle and fitness, they make design and fashion a central component, and are proud stockists of MAURIE AND EVE. Here, we chat the benefits of movement, Uluwatu culture and best places to drink, eat and beach in paradise.

M+E: You have a wonderful fitness studio in Uluwatu. Why did you choose this particular part of Bali and how does it compliment/enhance your values and offerings at Studio Fondue?

IM: Like most people I was first drawn here for the surf, with the Bukit Peninsula having one of the highest concentrations of waves anywhere in the world. But it’s a combination of beaches and culture which keeps me here.
Being a narrow peninsula, the Bukit is lined with beaches on both sides facing different directions from sunrise to sunset. However, you can’t just drive to them. They’re only accessible via steep stairs, past Hindu temples and sometimes winding through limestone caves. So just getting to and from the beach is an effort, but that thins out the crowd (which is a good thing in Bali nowadays).
In Balinese Hindu culture, north and south represent very special places on the map. The Bukit is the southern-most part of Bali and Uluwatu is the southern-most part of the Bukit, making it one of Bali’s most honoured places and keeper of sacred temple, Pura Luhurk - which dates back over 1,000 years. Because of this it has a certain magic in the air, which is hard to explain, but adds a dimension which I haven’t found anywhere else. 

M+E: How does your location, compliment/enhance your values and offerings at Studio Fondue?

IM: The surf, climate, beaches, and beach access of Bukit naturally pull-in people with an active beach lifestyle.

One of our main reasons for starting this business was to promote a healthy, active, beach, lifestyle through better movement and mobility. Affecting positive changes in people around us. That’s why our slogan is ‘Move Better, Live More” 

M+E: Studio Fondue combines Pilates, Mobility and Physiotherapy – how do they work together as a fitness offering?

IM: Pilates is for strength and conditioning, but in a low impact/low ego kind of way. Mobility is for flexibility and down-regulating, but in a non-spiritual way. Physiotherapy is for rehab of injuries and prehab to prevent them, but in a practical and motivating way.

Movement is one of the most fundamental parts of life, and we wanted to create a studio that sticks to science and is aligned with our background in Physiotherapy.

Most people are strong but inflexible or flexible but not strong, which both lead to imbalances, restrictions and eventually to injury. We want to get that balance right and build the kind of strength that is useful in everyday living. Being fit for the sake of being fit (or simply looking good) is not sustainable, or what we are about. We want people to see real benefits in their everyday lives. 

M+E: What else sets you apart at Studio Fondue? 

IM: We’re the only dedicated Pilates Studio in the Bukit. There are a few others that offer classes, but we’re the only Pilates-dedicated studio.

We’re also the only Pilates studio on the island that comes from a Physiotherapy foundation. The Physio business preceded the studio and provides a science based background, giving our teachers a deeper understanding of the body and its mechanics.

Lastly, we’re the only Pilates studio that makes design and fashion central to what we do. That’s because we think fitness and lifestyle have a lot of cross over.

M+E You are a stockist of select MAURIE AND EVE pieces! Why do the brands align so nicely, and what is your favourite M+E piece/look at present?

IM: One of our goals has always been to advocate a healthy, active, lifestyle. Ideally in nature, which in our location means in and around the beach. MAURIE AND EVE helps us merge lifestyle with fitness, so these two worlds aren’t so separate. It’s not activewear but pairs with well activewear. It pairs well with bikinis … at the beach or, add a little jewellery and transition to sunset cocktail bar. Most importantly it has an earthy and casual element, which matches our location and brand. 

Picking a favourite piece is like picking a favourite child, which is impossible. So, here are a few favourites (in a few different scenarios): HIGH VIBRATION PANTS in cream over a bikini at the beach, RUN WITH ME COTTON SHIRT paired with my NAGNATA gear to and from Pilates. Uluwatu is casual in the evenings so adding some extra jewellery to the CHASING LIGHT SET straw tie dye is perfect for sunset cocktails followed by dinner.

M+E: What does your daily health and beauty routine look like? 

IM: Sleep and hydration are central to my home health routine. I like to wake naturally without an alarm and I’m the type that needs 8-hours sleep, so I’m in bed by 9:00pm most nights. After waking I stretch, meditate, hydrate and do some kind of movement before work. If the surf is good, I’ll surf, otherwise I’ll walk the dog on the beach or do an early Pilates class.

In the evenings, I try to eat early and eat light, then put my phone away at least an hour before bed. If possible, I’ll sneak in another meditation. My nightly beauty routine is simple, I love a long hot shower to cleanse off the day and am big on natural products to cleanse my skin - natural oils for my face and body before bed. Lastly, I’ll burn incense or lavender oil to further calm and promote a good night’s sleep.

In Bali, we are fortunate to have access to affordable health and beauty treatments. I normally have a facial once a week to keep my skin hydrated, and a relaxing massage when I need it.

M+E: Who typically visits Studio Fondue? Travellers, expats, locals …

IM: Most of our clients are expat residents, which is nice because we largely built this business with the local community in mind. We do get a growing number of tourists through, especially in the high season, but we’ll always be predominantly community-based. 

M+E: Fill us in on your top Uluwatu spots to eat, drink and immerse yourself in nature?

IM: The Bukit is so magical in the mornings before 8am, choose any beach to immerse yourself in nature, have some solo time, meditate and reflect in silence.
My favourite beaches to visit are Bingin or Nyang Nyang.

Breakfast at Drifter
Lunch at Alchemy
Cocktails at Bartolo
Sunset at Mana Uluwatu Surf Villas
Dinner at Mason

Facial at Fields of Yarrow
Nails at Ours Spa

M+E: Favourite song/album/playlist to work out to?

IM: For calming down in the afternoon, meditating and stretch I have attached my latest playlist.

M+E: Mantra you live by?

IM: Commitment to process will determine your progress, which is a twist on the adage,
‘it’s the journey, not the destination, which is most important.’

Follow | @studio.fondue | @fondue.recovery | @izzieamundsen | @maurieandeve