What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? It was a moment of insanity over two years ago now. I had reluctantly come to the realization that the days of contact sport were (well) behind me. Running and cycling were never really my cup of tea i.e. I was rubbish at both. I suspected it might be a good idea to be able to walk, pick things up off the floor, move, after I turned 50. It was pretty simple really. I signed up. Went to my first Pilates class, and absolutely hated it. I felt out of place; I had no idea what I was doing; it hurt; I was the only male in the class. Then I realized, while I had only come for physical exercise, what I really needed to do was get my head straight. I needed to feel awkward. I needed to be in the minority. I needed to be a fish out of water. I was imperfect, well actually, I was hopeless, but, I needed to be. I was lucky because Sarah at the time (no doubt with Amanda behind her), pushed me on. I have repaid them by continuing to be entirely hopeless at yoga and Pilates; hiding their little green yoga figures; drinking the rock water; and, yes, I am not allowed to touch the candles.
What are your favourite classes? I think the guy who narrates the bike riding classes is hilarious. There is a room with machines that people slide on but I have never been in there - it looks dangerous. I am too dainty for Barre. I should do more Pilates. I have really fallen into, and over in, yoga. I mostly do Yin - it is pretty cool.
What benefits have you seen? Most notable is that my legs no longer feel like concrete. Perhaps it is just the enjoyment of a couple of hours a week of doing something that is different and I am not very good at.
Challenge that you are working on? I don't really have any goals. I would like to say that I am just in the moment but that would indicate that I practice yoga when all that is really happening is my mind is already blank - I mean still.
Advice for people thinking of starting? I can guarantee you will not be the worst in the class - that job is taken
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? While skiing in February 2017 I managed to break my right leg just below the knee. Surgery back in Australia was followed by many weeks on crutches interspersed with physio and hydro-therapy sessions. But how to best work on wasted leg & calf muscles, virtually no core strength and a very saggy butt?Thankfully my friend Victoria mentioned her sister was enjoying Pilates at Soulful Fitness. We joined in May and that was the best decision ever! Both my physio and orthopaedic surgeon also endorsed Pilates as a great next step on the road to recovery.
What are your favourite classes? My goal is to attend classes four days each week including both Reformer and Power Pilates which I love as well as Mat Fundamentals with Amanda to reinforce the basics and Mat Props with Elize for equipment challenges. I’m also learning to love the stretches and release from Yin Yoga. Over the years I had tried Ashtanga & Hatha yoga but it never really “clicked” partly because I already had flexibility issues in one knee after an ACL reconstruction, so the class sometimes moved on while I was still trying to eg arrange myself into a balanced warrior pose!
The recent July Challenge was a great incentive that forced me outside my comfort zone to try spin and barre classes. Not sure you will find me on the spin bike too often, but I have since attended barre several times and enjoy the cardio aspects. My knees on the other hand… (lol!)
What benefits have you seen? My core and upper body strength has increased enormously. When I first started I could barely lift more than my head off the mat and needed the barre rail to pull myself up off the floor. Improved strength also meant I was able to return to competitive yacht racing much sooner than expected and have since participated in numerous local and overseas regattas as well as regular Wednesday afternoon races.
Challenge that you are working on? Current challenge is to improve balance and alignment, particularly on the right leg where osteo arthritis has caused a knock-knee stance – the answer is all in the glutes I’m told!!! I feel physical and mental benefits after deep stretching in Yin class so I’m also working to steadily improve my practice each week.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Have courage and Just Do It – you won’t regret it! The team at Soulful Fitness are terrific, instructors are very supportive and provide guidance for both easier and stronger options. And what really makes each class are the people. A diverse community of different abilities and ages, male and female but all there to do their best and enjoy “me time” in a relaxed environment.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I moved to Lane Cove last year and was looking for a place where I could drop into the space of yoga whenever I needed time out from the busy world. I had started a teaching role in Learning Support and was feeling overloaded. I really needed to find my way back to balance. I had also experienced losing my Mum the year before so it was an intensive time to be starting a new job in an intensive environment, and to be processing grief. I had also found new love which was amazing, so I was trying to find balance from the run down aspect I was feeling with a demanding new job role. Joining Soulful Fitness helped me immensely to come back into balance. I felt less stressed once I started coming regularly.
What are your favourite classes? Restorative, Yin, Kundalinia, Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga. I am able to clear my mind and process my thoughts on the yoga mat, it balances me. I love the workshops too!
What benefits have you seen? I am much calmer if I practice yoga 3 times a week. If I do not, my mind tends to become too over-analytical.
Challenge that you are working on? Trying to make it to 1-2 Pilates classes a week. I need to work on my core. I also have an ongoing knee issue so I do a lot of modifications.
Advice for people thinking of starting? I highly recommend giving Soulful Fitness a go. It is a space in which to relax, unwind, be with yourself and process your life experiences. It is like a little mini retreat in your day, in your week. The staff are very friendly, it is a relaxed environment in which to come and unwind, exercise, and feel apart of a community. I especially love the workshops. I have just attended a Crystal Bowl Sound Healing evening. It was very relaxing, and I can see that deep transformation could come from regularly doing this type of healing. I also loved the Kundalini workshop a couple of weeks ago. Again, very relaxing and a deep practice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone at Soulful Fitness!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I started doing Pilates about 15 years ago and loved it but due to work commitments and young kids I felt that I couldn’t find the time to slot it into my life. About 18 months ago I had a wake up call. I had a number of family tragedies in a short space of time which then brought on depression. I took 12 months unpaid leave from my job (I have a very understanding boss thankfully) and gave myself the time and space to work on me. This brought me back to personal training and Pilates. In the end Pilates won out and I have been coming to Soulful fitness for a little over 12 months (and probably spend a good 5 days a week here).
What are your favourite classes? I’m a sucker for Pilates reformer. I love the challenges I get from each class and each instructor. It builds up my strength and helps me with my core stability which was falling apart after 2 kids. I also love Amanda’s Pilates Fundamentals class. This class can be challenging and painful (in a good way) but also a great way to strengthen and work on isolating my glutes and core. I do try and do a few yoga classes a week. Yin is great for deep stretches after I do weigh classes. The releases I get from these classes are amazing. I’m still trying to get my head around Hatha and vinyasa... I haven’t given up yet!
What benefits have you seen? In the last 12 months or so I have built muscle back up, corrected posture issues, strengthen my core, become more flexible, more energy and have happier within. I broke my heal on my birthday last year and was devastated that I wouldn’t be able to do my regular classes. After 2 weeks of sitting around feeling sorry for myself I came back to the studio and got straight back into Pilates Reformer Restorative and Pilates fundamental classes. The instructors were amazing and tailored exercises to my needs (as for everyone else). A few weeks doing these classes I was back to normal classes, again with specific tailoring to my needs, and feeling happy again. I felt that getting back to doing exercise made my recovery so much easier and quicker that what the Dr’s and physios had advised.
Challenge that you are working on? My biggest challenge I am working on at the moment is getting better at yoga. I see the benefits in other people, and want this for myself. I just need to get out of my own head first. In the meantime i will keep on at it.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Anyone thinking of starting to work out, whether its your first time or resuming after a number of years off, this is what you need. Its gentle on the body, low or no impact so fantastic for joints and its with a great bunch of like-minded people to enjoy it with. Amanda and her team are nothing but supportive and the people in the classes are friendly, funny and accepting... come on down and kick off your new and improved self now.
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