My name is Hanneke. Since June 2018, my husband and I have lived in Lane Cove. We’re from the Netherlands and because of my husbands job we’re so lucky to live in this beautiful country for a few years. I don’t have a job here in Australia so I looked for things to keep me busy and to meet new people. During my whole life, I have loved sports. When I was young I played field hockey and recently, before we left for our big adventure, I did lots of walking and twice a week an hour of Pilates mat.
While exploring Lane Cove “village” I saw the entrance of Soulful Fitness and went inside to have a look. 2 years later I’m still a very happy member. I had never done Pilates reformer and yoga before, so I just tried it and love it.
My favourite classes? Difficult question. I like all classes, sorry I can’t chose one. I love Amanda’s “Pilates Mat Fundamentals” It makes me more aware of my body, what muscles to use, the music is nice and Amanda is fun, although sometimes it’s hard for me to understand her Aussie slang! I really like to do Yin Yoga. Every teacher brings something different and it’s a gentle practice. The 2 Pilates reformer classes I go to every week are more of a challenge for me, but I like a challenge now and then too. Using the reformer bed make the exercises less difficult and it makes you stronger.
The benefits I have seen; My body has became stronger and more flexible. I also have increased my knowledge about my body and yin yoga has taught me to relax a little bit more. Last but not least, I have met some beautiful people.
Challenge you are working on? A big challenge for me is to look for a good balance. I always try very hard, which creates a lot of tension in my body. My challenge is to be more relaxed while exercising.
My advice for people thinking of starting: Just walk in, have a chat with the girls and try some classes.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? When looking for a gentle but still strong form of holistic exercise, I received a timely introduction to Soulful Fitness. I knew very quickly I had found "my people" and the perfect place to practice mind, body and soul disciplines.
What are your favourite classes? My favourite classes are Yin and Hatha yoga, as well as guided meditation.
What benefits have you seen? The benefits for me have been improved physical strength, mindfulness, flexibility, and inner courage.
Challenge that you are working on? Medical setbacks recently interrupted my program, now I am challenging myself to build physical fitness, make progress with Pilates, and improve aerobic capacity.
Advice for people thinking of starting? For those thinking of starting yoga and Pilates, I cannot recommend Soulful Fitness highly enough. From the expert professionalism of the teachers and administrators (with special mention to Amanda and Emma) to the warmth and personal support of everyone there, Soulful Fitness is the ultimate destination for those seeking a fulfilling fitness experience.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I started with clinical Pilates, 1 on 1, ten years ago due to 3 blown discs due to all the lifting in my work over the years. In the first 5 years, I built my core and strength back to overcome the injury. After working 1 on 1 for that time, I needed a studio, with an experienced teaching base, with a regular and varied program and small class size, with a guided and demonstration teaching method.
What are your favourite classes? My favorite classes are Power Pilates with Charell Berg, they are strong, and the content varies. I feel like I have challenged all parts of my body with each class.
What benefits have you seen? I turned 60 this year and feel fit and strong. I am a long distance walker, and feel Pilates has played a big part in my endurance. My core strength has continued to grow, as well as my overall body strength and flexibility. Pilates and having a strong core, played an important part in keeping me alive in the past year, when I was in a horrible accident as well.
Challenge that you are working on? I have been training to walk the Coastal Portuguese way of the Camino (280K). This is now postponed until we can resume travelling overseas, but I am still walking daily.
Advice for people thinking of starting? For anyone starting Pilates, I think it is important to have a 1 on 1 session to begin with, to understand the reformer bed and how to set it up properly for your body. I think it is important to watch the instructor and listen to carefully as they demonstrate each set of exercises, and start at the level 1 option, but as time passes be sure each class to give the next level of the exercise a try. Pilates is a slow but steady path, that is sort of like learning a new language.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? A few years back I started my yoga journey with on-line classes, short ½ hour classes I could do at home and usually before I went to work in the morning. I noticed a difference in how this made me feel, physically and mentally but the online classes had limits and I was eager to learn so much more. In 2019 when I retired from work I started looking for external yoga classes. I wanted to be in a group environment and learn with others. That’s when I noticed a “special” on at Soulful Fitness and with the added bonus of Pilates and Barre classes. After signing up for my first class in August 2019 I have not looked back.
What are your favourite classes? They are all favourites; I get so much out of each class I do. No matter which class I have booked in to, it seems to be right for me on that day and in that moment. Each teacher brings something individual and they can be very amusing, I have learnt so much but find it is the small “tips” that have made huge differences to me progressing in some postures.
What benefits have you seen? Mental health has improved, stress levels decreased, flexibility and strength increased and a general feeling of good health. Simply living and loving life!
Challenge that you are working on? Still trying to open the hip flexors! (a lifetime pursuit after years of running ) and working on the boat pose using my core, not my neck muscles!
Advice for people thinking of starting? Time is too precious, make a commitment, be kind to yourself when starting out, lose self-doubt and before long you will feel a positive difference. Soulful Fitness is a friendly, welcoming Studio offering so many benefits, classes, workshops, retreats etc. Just do it!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I won a 30 day pass and yoga mat at a Trivia Night at my kids school. I was wanting to start exercising more regularly and had previously done a little yoga but didn’t know anything about Pilates. I bumped into Amanda (studio owner), trick or treating with my kids and she encouraged me to come into the studio to give it a try. I went in the next morning to try out Hatha Yoga with Phillippa (coincidentally her first day too) and I haven't looked back. Soulful Fitness is my HAPPY place. I will have been here 5 years this coming October.
What are your favourite classes? I love Pilates Reformer, Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga & the Sound Healing and Family Yoga workshops. My all time favourite classes are an Imelda double header on a Saturday morning with Reformer and Stretch then Hatha Yoga. My kids enjoy the kids yoga classes with Phillippa.
What benefits have you seen? At first, my fitness and flexibility improved slowly as I was only attending one or maybe two classes a week with breaks in between. In December 2018 with my brother’s wedding coming up I decided to do more classes regularly and make a dedicated effort to get fitter and stronger. I aim to do 4 or more classes a week. Since then I have seen a huge improvement in my strength and flexibility. I have lost weight and my body shape has changed. Mentally I am in a happier place too, I notice a difference when I haven't been in for a little while.
Challenge that you are working on?
In Yoga, I am working on being able to bind and to continue to increase my flexibility. In Pilates Reformer, I am working on strengthening my core so I can do roll overs and pikes better.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Go for it! Take it one class at a time and enjoy it, have fun. I found the more I came to classes, the more I wanted to. The teachers are great at offering the same exercise with different options for each level of ability, from complete beginners to experienced yogis. The community is wonderful and welcoming. You will not regret it.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? Following a couple of injuries, tennis was no longer an exercise option and, about that time, I was fortunate to be in the mall when an enthusiastic member of the Soulful Fitness team was handing out promotional material. The timing was right and part of the appeal was the opportunity to join and meet a group of like-minded people committed to Personal fitness.
What are your favourite classes? My favourite classes are Pilates in the various formats although many in the group also take advantage of the other classes on offer, including yoga.
What benefits have you seen? Pilates is working for me. I am stronger, more flexible and have lost several kilograms, mainly from my waistline. A “six-pack” was never a goal but avoiding developing a “muffin-top” certainly was. Accordingly, I am more comfortable and confident in my appearance.
And it is clear that Pilates and yoga have the potential to maintain and improve cognitive capacity, hopefully postponing the possibility of dementia which happened to my dad (in his mid 90’s). An additional benefit for myself was weight loss without having to resort to liposuction - Soulful Fitness offers disciplines which, by comparison, are non-invasive and much more fun.
Challenge that you are working on? The areas that I plan to focus on include cardio fitness and balance, both of which which I find challenging.
Advice for people thinking of starting? For anyone considering joining Soulful Fitness I would strongly recommend it. I have investigated alternatives but not found one that offers any advantage. The staff are personable, professional, efficient and the friends I have made make me feel like part of a family. So, just do it....
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I had spent eleven years caring for my husband who died of cancer in 2018. At the end of 2018 I realised that I was myself incredibly unfit as a result of my caring responsibilities for my husband, as well as responsibility for our four children and for my aged father. I needed to get moving.
What are your favourite classes? After getting a bit up to speed (for an old broad!) I feel most comfortable with Hatha Yoga. My favourite teacher is Kathryn West.
What benefits have you seen? Wow. I honestly think Soulful Fitness saved my life. With all the tragedies last year I could very easily have gone under. I prefer yoga but have practiced Pilates also. Utilizing both practices I have worked towards balance, strength and peacefulness.
Challenge that you are working on? I want to continue to improve my sense of ‘centredness’ particularly through breathing practice, within yoga practice and throughout my day
Advice for people thinking of starting? DO IT!! Soulful Fitness classes work for everyone. All ages, all stages. No competition. No stress. Just do it!