What made you take on a Yoga and Pilates program? I cannot recall whether yoga found me or I found yoga but it was a relationship I was meant to discover – all in perfect time. When I attended my first ever yoga class quite some years ago, I clearly remember how inflexible and stiff my body was and interestingly, I caught a glimpse of how inflexible my mind was too. I soon realised that there was more to this yoga thing than just twisting your body into strange shapes and balancing and stretching for an hour or so each week. Yoga was a journey of self-discovery and I was keen to jump on board – yearning to learn and know more about myself and delve deeper into yoga philosophy wisdom. I love being around like-minded people and forming beautiful bonds of friendship through the Soulful Fitness community.
What are your favourite classes? My favourite classes are all the yoga styles on offer, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Kundalini and Pilates Reformer, Meditation, all the various Workshops covering nutrition, breath work, sound healing, mindfulness, chiropractic etc. (highly unlikely you’ll see me on a spin bike though J).
What benefits have you seen? The benefits are definitely more flexibility and positive attitude. I feel centred and calm and peaceful. Each class leaves me with a wonderful sense of well-being and this is why I find it so very easy to prioritise coming to class regardless of how I may feel before I leave home – I remind myself that I always feel better afterwards, and without question, I certainly do! It’s what I call “my healthy addiction.” My heart feels more open. My mind expands. I feel taller. I feel stronger. I take fuller breaths. Attending for yoga or Pilates is a great way to start the day, to pause for a class in the middle of the day or to end the day! My outward smile has an internal smile to match. My family and friends have noticed the positive difference and often compliment and comment – they see in me what I actually feel in myself. This is a path I will continue to travel on for sure.
Challenges that you are working on? I find the challenges are ongoing. It’s about respecting where your body is at on any given day – depending on what ailments, or stresses pop up – there is always something I am working on - especially balancing poses and hip opening postures. My constant goal is to perfect alignments and transitions and importantly to have a laugh along the way as I practice to achieve that!
Advice for people thinking of starting? Thinking is the first step, the next step is to simply take action and just come along at least for a trial class - without talking yourself out of it. This will be such a rewarding gift to afford yourself the opportunity to start on an exciting journey to explore your capabilities… on and off the mat. Every time you arrive on your mat for yoga or Pilates, the present reveals itself!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? It was during a trip to Bali last year that I fell in love with yoga. I started dancing when I was 4 years old, which I enjoyed for a long time, but upon entering adulthood I found myself searching for something more. When I tried my first yoga class I instantly knew this is what I needed. I was looking for a way to take care of myself not only physically but also mentally, and yoga was the answer!
What are your favourite classes? I’ve fallen completely in love with the yoga program at Soulful, and all the instructors are brilliant in their own way. I love how Hayley challenges me and every week I can feel myself getting stronger. Although Lauren is only new to instructing, she has a beautiful style of teaching yoga and is clearly a natural - I love her gentle Vinyasa class. It really is hard to choose a favourite but I try to never miss Sunday Yin and Monday Hatha with Julio! His passion for yoga is contagious and I just want to absorb everything I learn during his classes.
What benefits have you seen? Every week I’m noticing that my technique and physical strength continues to improve. I’m sleeping better at night and feeling less anxious than usual. I’m also a lot happier! Yoga brings me peace and I’m in my safe place when I’m on my mat.
Challenge that you are working on? I’ve suffered from back pain for over a decade and I’m finding that both Pilates and yoga are helping me manage this. It’s important for me to build up my core strength to prevent further injury, so that is what I’m currently working on improving!
Advice for people thinking of starting? Just do it. In a year’s time you’ll wish that you started today.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program?
I had been going to a personal trainer for a number of years and found that I had plateaued in fitness and strength. I was looking to do something different that I knew was sustainable and would be able to give me the variety that I was looking for. I loved the vibrancy of Amanda when I met her at the Lane Cove fair and joined up that day. Everybody that works at the studio brings their own individuality to the classes, but collectively everyone has a great care factor and everybody feels welcome no matter what their fitness level, age or sex. It is a very welcoming and comfortable environment.
I loved that I could go to one place for both yoga and Pilates classes and also cardio via the cycle room. The extra bonus is that the teachers are specialists in their areas as opposed to fitness instructors that teach Pilates or yoga.
What are your favourite classes? I love Pilates mat classes with Imelda on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Pilates reformer with Ruth or Imelda are also fantastic classes. They are so totally different and very challenging in different ways. I love the energy and joy that they both bring – actually all the instructors are like this! J
A big THANK YOU also for the special events that you hold for us, they are great things to look forward to and are definitely an added bonus!
What benefits have you seen? Improved strength and flexibility all over. I’ve really noticed improvements in my core, butt and upper body. This has helped resolve lower back issues that I had a few years ago. It has also helped with an ongoing knee problem I have. I’ve never been able to do a chin up on the reformer bed, even on half a spring. I can now do chin ups on the reformer with one red spring!
Coming to the studio has helped give me balance in my life as I often work long hours in an often stressful environment for a busy corporate. The classes are such an enticement to leave work and let out a bit of steam.
Challenge that you are working on? Being able to do a proper roll ups. Doing more cycle sessions in the studio to improve my fitness levels.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Just get in there and do it. It’s definitely a no regrets decision. You’ll be so well supported in your fitness and wellness journey by everybody that it is a no brainer J
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? My main interest is in yoga, which I have been practicing consistently since I retired from a stressful job with near-burnout about 2 years ago. The “regular" gym I joined back then for the purpose of restoring my health also offered various group exercise classes, and I soon left the weight and cardio machines behind and headed for my favourite Yoga and Pilates classes instead (okay - I admit it: some Pump, too, which temporarily ruined my knees!). The combination of the two just seemed so ideal – one complimenting the other perfectly, and yet both being complete, and very effective modalities in their own right... I was aware at the time that this studio specialising in Yoga, Pilates and Barre existed in Lane Cove, but thought (now I know – mistakenly) that as a relative beginner, I wouldn’t belong here. Then, about 6 months ago, I deemed myself to be ready for the “next step”, and – after picking up some courage – went and had a closer look, liked what I saw, joined on the spot, and loved every one of the many minutes I have spent here since!
What are your favourite classes? Whilst I do like Pilates because it is such an intelligent way to exercise, and changes the body so effectively, my whole being is moved, and my spirit soars, in a good yoga or meditation session. From the very beginning of my membership, I have been utterly intrigued, puzzled, and captivated, by the wonderfully “weird", and yet so powerful practice of Kundalini Yoga, and also rarely miss the weekly Guided Meditation on Saturday – it’s a special treat to be able to turn within, and connect to stillness with a group of like-minded people, in a dedicated environment… I also love all classes that involve inspirational music, healing sound vibrations, or the chanting of mantras – it’s only recently that I have “discovered my voice” in this context, and it’s been liberating!
What benefits have you seen? Since I joined 6 months ago, my yoga practice has certainly deepened, and become a constant source of joy and support in my life. Pilates has helped with core strength, alignment, and further activating those “lazy glutes” to finally do their job properly! I have learned/remembered/integrated so much already – it feels like I am gradually re-building my body in a better, new order! I have also observed positive mood changes, higher energy levels, and generally having a calmer and clearer mind, and being more confident, resilient, and patient in everyday life. Quite often now during, or after a session I feel somehow elated or uplifted, simply “happy-for-no-reason”, just feeling good (and grateful) to be in this body! Nothing beats such a “natural high” I reckon…
Challenge that you are working on? Embarking on a relatively intense yoga journey in middle age can certainly bring up some doubts and fears! Should I try even harder to “get somewhere” (whilst I still can), or finally allow myself to relax, and “surrender to the flow”? The latter is not nearly as easy as it sounds, as most of us know… I guess the challenge is (as always) to find the right balance between a healthy drive to explore one’s potential and “growing edge”, and an – equally healthy – sense that “I am enough” right now, as I am in the present moment. Being a curious, occasionally even ambitious, person I want to know where this might be going – so the biggest challenge for me really is to let go of expectations, comparisons, “shoulds” and “oughts”, and just enjoy the journey
Advice for people thinking of starting? If you are still unsure about this “yoga thing”, try to suspend your (self) doubts and give it a go in Soulful Fitness’ safe and supportive environment. The excellent instructors here teach with integrity and compassion, and will remind you – again and again – how important it is to listen to your body, and develop the kind of self-awareness that helps you to function in everyday life in a better, more balanced way. Practicing yoga inevitably connects you to a worldwide community of people who, by cultivating the light within, contribute to a more loving, compassionate, harmonious outer world. Your family and friends will thank you, too! And, speaking of community – Soulful Fitness, as I see it, is such a valuable part of the Lane Cove community, sitting where it does right there in the very heart of the “village”! If you are a member (or thinking of becoming one), support and respect, cherish and be grateful for everything that is on offer here. Carry your yoga mat with pride – it makes me smile that I can easily identify other members of the “tribe” in the mall, walking purposefully towards the studio in order to catch their next class, or sipping coffee in nearby cafes. Together, we are changing the landscape, and set good examples! Many blessings on your journey, Namaste ©
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program?
I first started practicing Yoga about 4 years ago, primarily to work on my flexibility as I had been practicing Karate and was looking to improve in this area. When my previous yoga studio closed down, I looked around for a studio that had a little bit more variety than I had previously enjoyed. I live about 500m away from Soulful Fitness, so it seemed obvious to give it a a go, esp. as Pilates was also on offer which I had been keen to try for a while. My Karate continues to go well with the additional flexibility and strength that the Pilates and yoga program has delivered, however Yoga is what I now enjoy the most.
What are your favourite classes?
I try to attend 4-5 days every week when I am not traveling with work (which is too much unfortunately), with a 50/50 split between Pilates mat and yoga (hatha and yin). I like the variety of classes and different teaching styles. My favourite classes would be Julio’s Yin and Hatha classes, esp. the Sunday afternoon Yin Yoga & Meditation class when I can get to it. I think all the teachers across both yoga and Pilates do a great job, and I like the fact I never know what part of the body and mind we are going to be working on, and feel great for the rest of the day when the class is done.
What benefits have you seen?
In addition to my original goals around flexibility, my focus has evolved over the last couple of years. I especially like the mental benefits coming from Yoga, as like many people I have a very busy work and home life, and really enjoy the ‘me time’ at the studio. Also, in the last 12 months or so I have been on a bit of a general health kick - eating more natural and less processed food, less alcohol, more exercise and getting back to a more healthy weight. Yoga & Pilates has been an important part of this journey - to date physically I have dropped around 12 kg’s as a great side effect of living more healthily and mentally am much more ‘in the moment’ and in a ‘Que Sera Sera’ mindset.
Challenge that you are working on?
I don’t have a particular challenge - I see my Yoga and Pilates practice as an important part of my lifestyle. If I had to pick one thing, it would be related to flexibility and strength, and to eventually be able to complete some of the more advanced Yoga positions involving balancing and stretching.
5. Advice for people thinking of starting?
“Just Do It”. The benefits from a Yoga and Pilates program will be far more than you expect, and there is always something to work on mentally and physically.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I've been a long-time believer in the benefits of yoga, and have practiced for just over 7 years. I love the benefits it has on my mental health, particularly when living in such a fast-paced city. It enables me to think clearly, while nurturing my body. I adore Pilates as it is allowing me to build more muscle, which is beneficial when working towards some trickier yoga postures. Regular Pilates and Yoga provided me with the strength and clarity to recently complete my own 200 hour vinyasa teacher training.
What are your favourite classes? Hayley's vinyasa- she's never without a radiant smile and quick wit, even when holding us in chair pose for 5 seconds longer than we want to... Julio's Yin and Meditation- the best way to bliss out on a Sunday arvo. Imelda's Pilates reformer- you'll leave feeling muscles you didn't know existed.
What benefits have you seen? Mentally: I am calmer, more rational, and generally happier day-to-day, which I put down to moving my body in a healthy way, and regular meditation.
Physically: I am stronger, I have more lean muscle, and it's also helped me recover from a bad knee injury, allowing me greater mobility.
Challenge that you are working on? Bakasana, Crow Pose. I'm also working on challenging myself by teaching my friends and family!
Advice for people thinking of starting? I've had a few people say to me recently 'oh, I couldn't do yoga, as I'm not flexible.' They shut themselves down, instead of giving themselves the opportunity to try. Yoga is a beautiful way to get in touch with your mind and body, and it doesn't matter if you can't touch your toes/do a certain posture. That's what modifications are for! Health and well-being is a journey, not a destination, so why not start now? Use yourself as a baseline, and love your body. Watch it love you back! There is a real community in Soulful Fitness. I initially came for classes, and now I come for the people!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease which caused inflammation in my joints. The recommended medication is cortisone which reduces bone density. My Physiotherapist suggested I try an exercise program to help strengthen my joints and bones. As my daughter had been practicing Yoga for some years she encouraged me to join her on one of her classes. I had attended Pilates classes earlier in my life and knew the practice increased strength in the abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks. The slow and controlled movements put minimal impact on my joints.
What are your favourite classes? I enjoy both Pilates and Yoga however the Yoga class is my favourite as it quiets my busy mind, and slows my breath even though there are layers of activity. Yoga involves a lot of concentration so you are forced to forget about aspects of your life that may be currently challenging.
What benefits have you seen? I no longer require cortisone as the pain in my joints has ceased. I have a stronger core and as a results my balance and posture has improved. Increased flexibility. I feel more confident engaging in everyday activities and a feeling of well being.
Challenge that you are working on? Balance and concentrating on proper alignment to maintain a strong core. Being mindful of deep breathing in and out during the sessions.
Advice for people thinking of starting? It is never too early or too late to start a fitness program which can be individually designed for you.