A Ripley wellbeing consultant will open her first pilates and wellness studio this weekend, hoping to help local residents towards health and happiness just as she heals herself.
Amanda Hughes, 47, arrived in town only months ago, having moved her home and business, The House of Equilibrium, from Belper around the time of her father’s death from cancer in April.
She said: “The last year has been a real struggle with mental health and lots of changes, but I’m hoping to channel the emotions into something positive rather than let them consume me.
“I picked myself up using a lot of the coping strategies I’ve learned, like meditation and exercise. I told my dad that I was going to be ok, and wouldn’t let anything hold me back. It was a catalyst to do this, and see if I can help someone else.”
The Boutique Pilates and Wellness Studio will launch with an open day at Epos House, on Heage Road, on Saturday, October 6.
From 11am to 3pm, Amanda will be welcoming visitors and introducing her range of classes and services.
She said: “It will be a relaxed day, low-key, not all champagne and balloons, so people can just come and have a chat and look around. I want the community to feel this is a calm, friendly inviting space for them, and I want to enjoy meeting new people and experiences.”
At the moment, the premises are a hive of activity, with Amanda taking on all the decoration and interiors work herself to create the perfect atmosphere.
She said: “I’ve been spending every bit of spare time I can there, painting, building furniture and making artwork for the walls, and I’ve had some help from local companies making mirrors and Moroccan window panelling.”
The studio will have a focus on managing stress and mental health conditions, complementing more clinical approaches such as medication and psychotherapy.
Amanda said: “Mental health issues are on the rise and the number of young people dying by suicide is awful. So many people keep it bottled up and are embarrassed.
“I’m very honest about my own anxiety and depression. I hope to show people it’s possible to live with this, and empower them. I don’t want to say ‘I understand’ because I read it in a textbook, I’m someone who lives it.
“Opening my own place is something I’ve always wanted to do since I left a high-pressured public sector management job eight years ago and started retraining.”
“It’s always been about helping other people, and this will give me a better platform to bring all of my skills together, and a base for other wellness professionals who can come and use the facilities.”
In addition to Amanda’s small group pilates classes, she will initially be offering one-to-one packages and holistic massage therapy.
She said: “Pilates will be the main thing. My teaching practice places a lot of emphasis on bodily awareness to help release tension and relax the mind and body.”
In the next few months, the programme will expand to include relaxation classes, restorative exercise and Amanda will also be restarting her popular boxercise class.
Eventually, Amanda wants to add meditation classes, reiki, pain management and counselling services, informal support groups and coffee mornings, and even corporate wellbeing days.
She said: “I’d like to link up with the NHS eventually, to support their services and make support more accessible. I think there is a space and a need for that. People don’t always want to see a doctor, but they might want someone who understands.”
Anyone visiting the open day can get exclusive discounts on aromatherapy, reflexology and a pilates fundamentals course for absolute beginners.
Find out more at facebook.com/myhouseofequilibrium.