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.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? Being tall I had lower back problems and permanent back pain for the last 23 years. I tried everything from specialist massages, acupressure, acupuncture, osteopath, chiro, etc. This gave me some relief from waking up in the morning trying to get out of bed with some less pain. We moved to Lane Cove not long ago and one day, on Dec 16, I walked in to SOULFUL FITNESS thinking “Will this help me with my back?” and I signed up. I remember that I said to a staff member: I don’t know if this will improve my back but I have to try.” The staff member answered: “Don’t worry it will work for you.”
What are your favourite classes? My favourites are Pilates Mat Props and Pilates Reformer. Sometimes I enjoy Cardio Bounce Reformer and Yoga sessions. I want to do a bit more for my soul and will start with some Meditation classes.
What benefits have you seen? I've never looked back on what I went through for so many years. The improvement is incredible. I have NO back pain anymore. I am a lot more flexible than I used to be. My muscle elasticity and joint mobility improved a lot. It also encouraged me to loose some weight. I lost 15kg since I started and I feel fabulous.
Challenge that you are working on? I want to get a lot more flexible and gain more strength for my core muscles. I am not quite there yet. (Trying to protect your lower back pain with as less movement as possible took its toll over the last 23 years).
Advice for people thinking of starting? If someone has a similar story to tell of their health I am 100% certain Pilates and Yoga will help (I count myself as a severe case in back problems in the past). I believe “There will be many other reasons to start a more flexible life”. As these exercises consists of low-impact and muscular strength and endurance movements, not to easy when you first start but there is a lot encouragement from all the staff members and all these exercises really help.
“Thank you Amanda and team for such a positive and life changing experience with encouragement from everybody. I am loving it and keep doing it.”
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? Since my early 20’s I’ve always focused on high impact training by running, biking, swimming but never really taken the time to properly stretch or focus on core muscle groups. This kept the weight off but as you get older it took a toll on my knees, hips and hamstrings. I needed to find a way to recover from injuries and still maintain strength and definition. I had taken a yoga course 10 years ago in Perth and really enjoyed it so I thought I would try it again.
What are your favourite classes? My ultimate classes are All Things Pilates Reformer - on all levels - power, standard and the cardio class. Each instructor has a unique way of teaching the class and I’m amazed as to how may exercises there are for a complete body workout. We rarely repeat the moves. The basic concept of isometrics is by far the best way to train. I only wished I was aware of Reformer 10+ years ago. Also I can’t go pass a Hatha or Vinyasa yoga class and any class with a touch of candles and live guitar.
What benefits have you seen? The benefits of Reformer have been astounding. I have worked through all my injuries... built strength, stability and muscle definition which I’ve always wanted to achieve without all the pain. I went snow skiing for the first time in 2 years since the start of Reformer and I walked away without any soreness and incredible endurance – I felt like I could have skied for days. Only recently, I went out for a 4.5k run – first time in 5 years – again without any soreness and great stamina – simply amazing!
Challenge that you are working on? Menopause & Diet. Need I say anymore! A fairly healthy diet was always easy for me but since turning 50, I seem to have lost self control – especially in the sweets department. I’m having to focus on what my body is telling me and fight off the sugar cravings, amongst other things... as I make my way through this hormonal change of life.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Simply start, make it a part of your everyday routine (or at least 4 days a week) and you will never look back! You will reap the benefits quicker than you think and exercising is a wonderful balance of mind & body. There will be obvious, positive changes on the outside, but even greater confidence and emotional balance on the inside. Vary your classes and include getting outdoors with walks, even if they are short and quick. Don’t be afraid to push yourself as you will always recover!
I would like to personally thank the team I deal with on the front line... Kory, Iris & Jess. They’ve been wonderful to work with and really look after me as a member. It is also nice to see how Soulful fitness has grown into such a dedicated studio for their members complete well being. Thank you Amanda & Soulful Fitness for being a game changer in everyday health & fitness!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I’ve been coming to Soulful Fitness for about a year now and can honestly say it has been the best decision ever. Before doing Pilates and Yoga, I was very on and off with the gym, and wasn't very dedicated to going. I used to have a lot of trouble with my shoulder, and at least once a week I'd wake up in the middle of the night in absolute agony. My shoulder triggers a lot of nerve pain which is caused mainly by stress, bad posture and shallow breathing. I really felt that yoga (especially the stretching and the breathing) could really teach me how to combat this. On first impressions, I was very impressed with how many classes were available to choose from - I felt like a kid in a candy shop! It is so easy to book into classes through the app, which makes it even easier for me to set a goal to do at least 4 classes a week.
What are your favourite classes? I quite enjoy going to Hatha, Vinyasa and Cardio Bounce Pilates. I enjoy working on my postures in Hatha and building my strength in Vinyasa. Cardio Bounce is great for toning and strengthening.
What benefits have you seen? Yoga has been a huge help for my deepening my breathing an improving my posture. It helps me relax and gets the oxygen circulating in my body. Poor breathing is one of the main triggers for my shoulder pain, and even more so when I've had a busy day, as I tend to find my breathing is more shallow. This also tightens the muscles and triggers nerve pain from my neck all the way down my arm to my fingers. The poses in Hatha have helped me maintain a better posture in my day to day life. I am no longer tightening as much in the shoulders through out the day. Since I've been doing Yoga, these occurrences have become less and less.
Challenge that you are working on? I am currently working on building strength in my wrists. It is quite a challenge for me to make it all the way through a Vinyasa class without taking a rest because of the strain. I am working on making them stronger, so I can maintain the flow. I am also focusing on my awareness of my neck. I have a very bad habit of sticking my head forward and am trying to keep my head better aligned with my spine.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Soulful Fitness has been the best decision I ever made for my health and well-being. I am now hooked. If you give it a go I’m sure you will be too!