This Flourtown Gym Just Reinvented Itself as a Full-Blown Wellness Space

After eight years in business, Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness has evolved into The Sanctuary Wellness Studio, a space dedicated to slowing down, recentering, and practicing mindfulness.

The Sanctuary Wellness Studio offers yoga, mat Pilates, and barre, plus mindfulness and self-care workshops. / Photographs by Victoria Lin Photography.

If there’s anything many of us learned these past two years, it’s the importance of slowing down in the name of health and wellness. And if there’s anything boutique fitness studios have learned, it’s that overused ‘P’ word that we never want to hear or use again (ahem, ‘pivot’).

For Alli Bradley, those two lessons converged, leading her to completely transform her eight-year-old gym, Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness, into a holistic wellness space aptly renamed The Sanctuary Wellness Studio. “The pandemic changed a lot for me and for the studio,” Bradley told me during a phone conversation. “It forced me to look at not only my business differently, but my own self-care practices. What I’ve been loving and thriving on is slowing down, calming my nervous system, moving my body intuitively, and connecting with myself and others — all on the mat. I knew I wanted to — and had to — recreate the studio as a place where people could exhale all their stress in an empowering and calming environment.”

So, what’s different? Well, for starters, there’s no more indoor cycling. Bradley sold her spin bikes to Invert Your World, a newly opened fitness studio in Ambler. “I lived much of my life thinking that high-intensity workouts were the way,” Bradley says. “I’m not knocking anyone for how they move their body, but for me, the moment I took it down a notch was the moment I started feeling better on all levels. Some of our clients were definitely disappointed when they found out there’d be no more spin classes, but I wanted to evolve the studio into a place where people could break free of all the Go! Go! Go!

The rebranded biz officially launched this past weekend in the 3,300-square-foot Flourtown location it moved into in February of 2020. The Sanctuary offers yoga, barre, and mat-based Pilates classes, which all begin and end with brief meditative breathwork to emphasize and enhance the mind-body connection. It also hosts rotating self-care workshops co-led by local wellness practitioners, so you can expect sessions ranging from sound bowl healing to acupuncture. The studio’s retail is expanding, as well, with items like branded journals (that’ll be encouraged to be used during the meditative parts of class) and sage and palo santo bundles for sale. And we can’t forget about the infrared sauna, which was installed last August and can be booked on its own, with or without a class reservation.

The Sanctuary Wellness Studio founder and owner, Alli Bradley. / Photograph by Victoria Lin Photography.

When I asked Bradley where she came up with the new name, she told me it was inspired by a ritual she shares with her dad. “This past winter, I was really depressed — my studio was still hurting from the pandemic and I couldn’t obtain any more financial aid to help keep my business afloat,” she says. “One day, my dad said to me, ‘It sounds like you need to find your own sanctuary.’ I got so emotional when he said that because I understood then that I needed to create that safe space for myself. After that, he and I started checking in with each other, asking, ‘Are you getting in your sanctuary?’ It was our way of holding each other accountable — making sure we were both taking care of ourselves and tapping into our inner wellness.”

She started asking that same question of her close friends and studio members, and it created an organic ripple effect — one that also aligns with her desire to shift the direction of her business: “The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how much our studio serves as a place of healing and safety for so many of our clients. We have a big community of folks who are sober, others who are navigating fertility issues, and people who just want to destress and feel supported. A sanctuary is a place where someone turns to for refuge, and that’s what I wanted to create and give to others.”

The Sanctuary Wellness Studio is located at 735 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown.