Companions: Julia Oravisto

Julia Oravisto is a mom, pilates instructor, and founder of pilates, yoga & barre studio BAY Helsinki. We had the pleasure of spending a day with her in her happy place and discussing her passion for pilates.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m the founder of Pilates, yoga & barre studio, BAY Helsinki. After studying and teaching Pilates on Australia’s east coast for over seven years, I returned to Helsinki and opened my dream studio. Five years later, my partner and I are running the studio. I adore the colour yellow, would never wear shoes if I could, and will never turn down a glass of pet nat.

What is BAY Helsinki?

BAY is my baby, my life’s work, and, above all, a community of international people who come to move their bodies in an inspiring setting. 

We specialize in Pilates on the reformer, a highly addictive way to exercise, but I believe that the essence of BAY is much more than just exercise. Most importantly, we are a welcoming and engaging community where everyone is accepted as they are, regardless of age, gender, race, or background.

How do you see yourself and BAY in 5 years?

I enjoy the creative processes that are involved in many aspects of my work and would like to see more of them as we grow as a company. I believe there is a fine line between pursuing goals and remaining open to all of the opportunities and changes in plans that the future may bring. To answer the question, I’d like to be somewhere with BAY that can’t yet be imagined. 

In terms of my personal life, I would like to be able to do more art. I have a passion for painting, installation art, and sculpture, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a space to do it more intentionally in the future.

How did you find Pilates?

I began taking Pilates classes at the age of 13 as part of my dance and acting studies. It wasn’t until a series of unplanned events (a story for another time) landed me in Australia in my mid-twenties, studying for a Pilates certificate. More than ten years later, I am still on this path and can confidently state that Pilates will and has always been a constant for me through life’s ups and downs, shifts, and changes.

What inspires you about your work?

It’s incredible how many times I have heard people say they never liked doing any exercise but then fell in love with our reformer Pilates classes. That there is already inspiring enough to keep doing what I do.

I’ve loved creating things and organizing projects since I was a kid, and BAY is like a giant canvas or space that allows me to use all the skills and tools I’ve picked up along the way. It combines so many of my passions and makes sense of all the studies and courses I’ve taken throughout my life, which didn’t always make sense at the time.