TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.
CREATIVE BODY FLOW
GO WITH THE FLOW – CREATIVE BODY FLOW
by Kyle Hitchmough
The verdant tranquility and vibrant community of Tamborine Mountain makes it an inspirational destination for those seeking to clear their mind and heal their body. Renae Stevens knows all about that, a pioneer in aerial yoga and creative arts therapy who’s brought the two together at her business Creative Body Flow. She’s more than happy to take a little time out of helping others on their journey to wellness to share her own with us today.
For those who might not be familiar, can you explain what Creative Body Flow offers?
The title umbrellas the creative expressive therapy services, which are the body-based, and the movement therapeutic services. These are primarily focused on the aerial yoga therapeutics which use the aerial hammock. I also have a background in clinical pilates, so a lot of my preliminary work goes through the foundational movements of stability and slowly challenging dynamic stability. Then as people are ready, we get into something that challenges them or supports them more.
How did you get started in this industry?
I actually brought this technique to Australia. In 2010, I was trained as a principal educator for a company that was based in the US who were at the forefront of bringing this into the fitness industry. I then delivered teacher training for about 10 years in Australia and New Zealand and trained hundreds of teachers in this system. I started to see some limitations with the fitness approach, because it was often pushing end-range movements too quickly before people had enough integrity in their strength. There’s risks involved with that fitness-style approach, and it’s very hard in group fitness to be able to assess people effectively. So about 5 years ago I started developing a different, therapeutic approach to this system, focusing on aerial yoga therapeutics. This is something that can be used for any age and for many different diverse needs.
Can you tell us more about the aerial hammock as a therapeutic tool?
The hammock is designed as a whole-body support system. People can work through all sorts of range and coordination exercises because the hammock takes the load. It really enhances someone’s equilibrium and balance. It also has mental health benefits for a lot of people. I find it a really diverse tool!
What are some of the benefits of aerial yoga?
I’ve worked a lot with mental health and trauma recovery, and with children and neurodiverse populations. It’s been really effective for women’s health issues, including a lot of pelvic floor dysfunctions, hip and chronic back pain, and I also am really interested in injury prevention. I really love working with athletes and people who need a good cross-training approach, like dancers and soccer players.
What are the class options that you offer?
I offer one-on-one sessions and small groups of about 2-3. I also run public courses in a space near North Stores that are a little more attuned towards group fitness. I do encourage people, if they have any health requirements, to start with a one-on-one. I have also run retreats and DIY events for my small groups. Sometimes people come up, like 2-3 girlfriends, mothers and daughters, and they’ll do their own Airbnb winery tour and book in for four sessions over a weekend. I’ve also run kids’ classes at that North Stores space when I’ve had larger groups, depending on the age. With the younger kids, the 5-year-olds, it’s best with a small group of 1-3. With the kids who are older, they love the dynamics of the group environment. The beauty of the hammock is you can do things that look very advanced but they’re not, it’s doing most of the work when you look like you’re one of the artists from Cirque du Soleil!
Can you tell us more about this creative expressive therapy?
My other hat is creative arts therapy, and I spent a lot of time working in an in-school service with refugee children and adults in trauma recovery programs. I found the combination of creative arts therapy and movement really powerful. It’s hard to express yourself creatively when you’re full of anxiety and fear, so getting someone into that place through a therapeutic movement experience can really enhance the creative and expressive benefits. It’s like a nonverbal type of counselling. A lot of children naturally attune to creative media because they don’t have to sit there talking to someone who’s asking them lots of questions. And a lot of adults feel like that too!
Have you noticed any particular trends in your clientele?
I’m working with a lot of remedial clientele, people who’ve got chronic pain, who’ve had hip and knee replacements, who find normal yoga or mainstream fitness just doesn’t work for them! It can fill that void for people when they can’t step straight into mainstream fitness. It’s a really good bridge.
As a local, what’s your opinion on the Tamborine Mountain area and community?
For the first couple of years up here we were still commuting to work in Brisbane and if we had any spare time, it was spent renovating. It wasn’t until I opened this little studio that I started to feel well connected to the community. It’s been so lovely to meet multi-generational Tamborine people, and then people who have moved here from all over the world. I’ve met Japanese, South African, Canadian, and all kinds of international people. It’s lovely diversity. And the kids I’ve worked with up here are incredible! Sometimes we have little fire nights and the kids do a performance. It’s really fun! I’m still looking forward to getting more involved in the community.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the area?
My draw card is the nature. My favourite little walk is the Witches Falls and the Knoll at the end of Main Street. There’s a little back street entry from just off Beacon Road, and even on a busy Sunday you can walk to the waterfall and back and not even see anyone! I love the local vibe of Main Street. We love going down to Bailey’s on a Friday night, they have a fantastic Irish musician with the most beautiful voice. It’s really vibrant with the most cosy, lovely atmosphere.
What do you think Creative Body Flow really provides to the area?
I think it’s just a unique therapeutic service that fills a void for someone making that full progression into recovery. It offers a very valuable, diverse modality that can be explored by all ages and by such a variety of needs. It’s always been my dream to create a therapeutic play space where people could find freedom and opportunities to heal in a natural environment.
What do you enjoy most about doing this?
I just love people! I find it a real honour to travel with someone on their healing journey because it’s a vulnerable space. It requires a deep respect, mutual and collaborative, and it’s incredibly humbling to see people moving through big life challenges. It doesn’t even feel like a job… until you have to pay your taxes!
Is there anything else you’d like to go on the record?
It takes a little bit of courage to get out of your comfort zone and give something a go, and I feel really grateful for people’s trust to come and try something new. With my background in clinical pilates, I also do mat and reformer pilates for one-on-one, and I’m adding a reformer for my clients who need more focused, therapeutic rehab. A reformer is an apparatus that’s used for training resistance in unfamiliar positions to gravity, so people can build up their control and enhance strength. It’s a really great addition to my tools.
Creative Body Flow 64B FREEMONT DR, TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN, QLD 4270
Tamborine Mountain has everything you need to create an awesome experience!!