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
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!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program?
Honestly at first it was just to support my wife! She had mentioned an interest, and I could tell that the unique kind of movements, stretching and strength-building in both yoga and Pilates would help her a lot with some niggling injuries she has been carrying for a while, and I just wanted to support that. But now I’m hooked! I have always had a passing interest in yoga in particular, but it wasn’t until we became members at Soulful Fitness that I really started to explore that deeper.
What are your favourite classes?
I enjoy Vinyasa, Hatha and (when I can get to it) Kundalini yoga the most. I’m still very much learning, however I really enjoy the challenge and pushing myself a bit further each time. It’s an ongoing journey and its great to see where I’ve come from, and what I can further develop into. There is such a wide range of classes on offer and each one compliments and extends the last. The Yin yoga works on deep stretching that helps build the flexibility. The Hatha builds strength and knowledge of the postures. The Pilates helps build knowledge of your body, as well as deep core stability. By taking advantage of the different teachers, teaching styles and classes on offer you can find yourself developing at a much quicker pace then you may have expected!
What benefits have you seen? I’ve seen my flexibility and balance increase dramatically. I have a lot more strength and control in my deeper muscles and a much better understanding of my body, what it can and cannot do. From there I then know how to proceed and progress further. It really is something that transcends just the physical movements however, helping you build a lot focus and mental strength as well. You learn about a lot more then just your body.
Challenges that you are working on? Next stop for me will be working on improving my balance especially when transitioning yoga postures and also increasing my range of flexibility (so more Yin yoga classes!). Pose-wise it’s the ‘Supported Head-stand’ that is now my main goal.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Bite the bullet and do it. The benefits far outweigh most reasons for not giving it a shot. It will help with injuries, prevention of injuries, strength, toning, a better state of mental wellbeing – the list is endless. Just give it a go!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? Chocolates & Bulging Disk Problems . My son started working at Lindt Café and was bringing home desserts which I couldn’t resist! I was getting fat and something had to change i.e more exercise! I also had recurrent pain, tingling and numbness in my left arm courtesy of a bulging disk in my neck. 4 years of endless rounds of physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture would only help for a while but the pain/tingles would come back. To strengthen my back , I started doing Pilates reformer at a Pilates studio but it was too expensive to continue at $40 a session. Then Soulful Fitness opened and I was initially attracted to the unlimited Pilates, yoga,spin, barre etc classes . It sounded perfect for me.
What are your favourite classes? In my 1st 12 months at Soulful Fitness, the Pilates reformer class was my absolute favourite. As I’ve become stronger and more flexible, I started doing more Yoga classes as I needed more variety. Now I really enjoy Julio’s Hatha Yoga Class on Tuesdays. In fact, I really enjoy all the different yoga classes as the instructors are all very good and different.
What benefits have you seen? Better posture, stronger core, more flexible , firmer abs & biceps! Yay! More importantly, I don’t suffer from nagging back problems and arm numbness anymore.
Challenge that you are working on? Balance Poses in Yoga class.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Don’t hesitate ! Go for it and do something for yourself! … Now if only, I can stop eating chocolates else I would be far slimmer!!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I first started Yoga about 5 years ago just to try something different and instantly fell in love with the classes. I joined Soulful Fitness because I loved the idea that I could do lots of Yoga classes whenever I wanted. I then decided to try Pilates as well and again from the first class loved the way it made me feel.
What are your favourite classes? I don’t think I have a favourite – I do the gentler Yoga classes for the stretch, the stronger Yoga for the strength and the Pilates for the overall core strength. I like the idea that I can mix and have a good balance of all classes. All the instructors are very different and all very good so it makes practicing a breeze.
What benefits have you seen? I find that Yoga gives me peace of mind and balance in my life and that, together with the Weight Watchers healthy eating program has aided me to lose a substantial amount of weight and improve my overall health, energy and well-being. Regular Pilates training has given me much improved core strength, and I find that my posture has also improved so much. As I have got older – practicing Pilates and Yoga has made me feel stronger and fitter than I have ever been.
Challenge that you are working on? I am constantly trying to improve my practice and to work on the disciplines that I learn in Yoga and Pilates to take into my everyday life. And of course – there are always the few extra elusive kilos to shed!
Advice for people thinking of starting? Just do it – practice at your own pace – don’t worry about those around you. The more you practice the more your body will respond to the moves and the better you will feel. We all start out not knowing what to do – take your time, listen to your body and just enjoy!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? By chance and curiosity I attended my first yoga class. That class shifted my paradigm about exercise. I felt physically challenged, yet blissful and mentally aligned with my body. A feeling my usual cardio work out never evoked. Soon after I moved to Lane Cove, found Soulful Fitness and cancelled my gym membership.
What are your favourite classes? If you had to ask my favourite classes, then I would have to say Reformer. I love the challenges and variety of each class. There are so many props to play with- long box, short box, magic circle, feet in straps ...an hour is just not enough time- so I go twice a day!
What benefits have you seen? The most noticeable benefit I've seen practising Pilates is the awareness of my body. Every motion is controlled and calculated. I'm more conscious on working my "small" muscles and breathing to focus. I now listen to my body and am working out for my mental and physical well-being.
Challenge that you are working on? I'm working on addressing my shoulder stability and gaining strength in the obliques for side planks.
Advice for people thinking of starting? The best advice I can give is to not think about starting. Just start! My personal guarantee that you won't regret your decision. Every class has its benefits but it's about finding something that fits you, so sign up to try every single class on offer.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? A chronic case of pubic synthesis after the birth of my second child meant that I went from being fit and active, to not being able to walk without pain. My physio recommended Pilates, and I’ve never looked back.
What are your favourite classes? I love Pilates - any class - the more challenging the better. I do try to make it to a spin class every now and then - but it’s a struggle. The reason I love soulful fitness, is the number and variety of classes on offer.
What benefits have you seen? Physically and mentally and at this time in my life, Pilates just works for me. I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen.
Challenge that you are working on? Any challenge that Imelda thinks is hard!
Advice for people thinking of starting? Keep with it - it’s very satisfying to be able to do a move you once thought impossible.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I suffer from snapping hip syndrome, the pain caused by this condition was so bad it prevented me from sleeping. I also have problems with my knees which combined with the snapping hip affects my walking. I consulted my doctor who referred me to a physio. The physio gave me a Pilates regime of exercises to do regularly at home. I lack the discipline and the knowledge of how to execute the Pilates effectively. With staff guidance I committed to a membership, this has forced me to address my mobility issues. The soulful fitness app enables me to tailor my classes to fit my schedule. I have always wanted to explore yoga philosophy. I have reached a stage of life that requires re evaluation of ones life goals. Yoga will enable me to clear my mind and live in the present.
What are your favourite classes? The classes that have helped me the most are the Pilates Mat, The Pilates Reformer, Fitbarre, Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Reformer Pilates .
What benefits have you seen? The yoga has enabled me to focus on my intention and purpose of my exercise sessions. The yoga has explained importance of breathing and how to breathe when executing poses. This has prevented me from further aggravating my injuries. After sessions my back and hip joints feel more fluid. The Pilates explains the purpose of each movement and how to do each movement without causing further injuring or aggravating incorrect skeletal areas. I am working on listening to my friends and family more effectively. Pilates and yoga has enabled me to improve this. I have a very fit husband who loves to hike, beach walk and explore wilderness areas. My lack of mobility was affecting his quality of life. Since joining I have been able to join him and keep up with him much to his delight.
Challenge that you are working on? I am watching my friends go down the path of invasive surgical solutions to hip, knee and back problems. I am determined to maintain my level of commitment, my goal is to be able to sit cross legged on the floor with my future grandchildren. I want to be able to bushwalk and hike outback Australia. I am working on hip strengthening and stretching. Better alignment of my back so my knees are straight. I am determined to find those allusive core muscles or any muscles that are essential for stability and better coordination and balance.
Advice for people thinking of starting? My advice is to attend yoga and Pilates classes as young as possible. I have advised both my daughters and daughter in law to enrol in Pilates and yoga classes to enable them to maintain their mobility. This will enable them to avoid my injuries and make them respect their bodies. They will learn how to exercise effectively with minimum strain on joints and back.
1. What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? To improve overall wellbeing by strengthening our cores, gaining greater flexibility, strength and vitality.
2. What are your favourite classes? Barre for Tanya and Vinyasa yoga for Ross.
3. What benefits have you seen? More energy, greater flexibility and better posture, in both mind and body. Ross has suffered with chronic back and neck problems for 30 years and was going to the chiropractor weekly; now he only goes monthly and that is purely for some low level maintenance.
4. Challenge that you are working on? Losing some weight, greater hip flexibility and inner strength in balancing poses.
5. Advice for people thinking of starting? The best thing we have ever done; just wish we had started 30 years go. Be open to trying all of the styles/classes as they all complement each other and try different teachers; they are all amazing and beautiful souls but each brings their own unique flavour. There is no judgement and no competing in these classes, so you can feel safe and confident in doing the best you can on that day. We all started somewhere and there is no end to your practice, so take the first step.
I really wanted to get into Pilates and Yoga because I wanted a whole lifestyle change that suited me. I'm personally not a fan of Gym's or running in the outdoors because I have no self discipline, so I really wanted to be part of a fitness studio where I would enjoy going to, while having flexibility in classes and times. My first class of the week is Hatha Yoga with Julio, where I walk out all stretched and ready to take on the week. I also enjoy all of Elize's Pilates classes such as Cardio Bounce, where muscles I didn't know existed, get worked out. I have been coming to Soulful for a year now and have not only lost weight for the first time in over 10years but I have also become aware of what my body is capable of and how much I can do with it. I am hoping by the end of this year I will improve with my planks and ab work, which I was unable to do when I first started. Joining Soulful has been an amazing decision for me and my health and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a clean friendly environment to get to know their body and how to take care of it from the inside.
Thanks so much Team Soulful Lane Cove
1. What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program?
I'm looking for low impact workout rather than a heavy gym based weight workout. Also some exercises which will motivate me to have a healthy lifestyle.
2. What are your favourite classes?
It's hard to say but I love Hatha Yoga and Pilates Reformer. Both classes keep my body strong, balanced as well a quiet, calm and peaceful mind.
3. What benefits have you seen?
It's helped me recover from torn ACL a year ago. It really helped gain my strength back. Also got me back to healthy life style routine.
4. Challenge that you are working on?
Remaining motivated over the festive season.😞
5. Advice for people thinking of starting?
Don't hesitate, "just do it"...Walk up to reception and everyone there will help you reach your goal no matter what it is.!
1. What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I had thought about it for years but it was on vacation when a women jumped into the hotel pool next to me, she was so fit and could get in and out of the pool with such ease. She told me she had been a yoga instructor for 50 years and I wanted to be like that. She said to find a good yoga school that suits you, and I have
2. What are your favourite classes? Hatha yoga because its a bit slower and I can follow it easier and deep stretching is great. I have also introduced 3 other people including my wife I'm enjoying it so much. Phillippa's guided meditation on Sunday is also becoming one of my favourites, I find it really helps.
3. What benefits have you seen? Definitely more flexible in the hamstrings and back pain is minimized.
4. Challenge that you are working on? More flexibility.
5. Advice for people thinking of starting? Start before you are 46 years old!
1. What made you decide to take on a Pilates or Yoga practise? New to Lane Cove and Sydney last November, I was exploring Lane Cove and saw Soulful Fitness. Looooved the name and thought that's my time of place and after signing up never looked back...I was a gym bunny back in the UK but started to feel differently after attending a yoga retreat and realised that the reason I enjoyed yoga so much was the connection of mind and body, which I didn't get from physical exercise alone. This isn't to say I don't love a hard spin session!😂 but I get such a sense of wellbeing from yoga.
2. What are your favourite classes and why? Yin and Hatha are my favourite classes. All the teachers bring something different to the classes which I love, a reflection of their passion.
3. What benefits have you seen mental / physical? Flexibility, stamina, wellbeing, learning to stop the mind chatter for a short time whilst on my mat...(thank you Hayley!)
4. Challenge that you are working on at the moment? Eg pose? Currently embracing living in this wonderful place and all it has to offer so decided to join local rowing club and commenced a learn to row course...I've been a rowing widow for approx 30 years in the UK! So why not....also building up to improving my strength in Hatha.
I would also like to say how blessed and grateful I am for choosing soulful fitness, I have met some amazing people who have made me feel so welcome and become friends which is just the icing on the cake!
1. What made you decide to take on a Pilates or Yoga practise? Before I started yoga I was doing a lot of running, gym exercises and spinning. My flexibility was terrible and my muscles were very tight from all of the cardio work. For years my friend had been telling me to try yoga so I thought I'd humour her and give it a go. Now I'm hooked and she gets great satisfaction from being able to say 'I told you so'.
2. What are your favourite classes and why?
I love Vinyasa because it's a strong practise and works up a sweat.
3. What benefits have you seen mental / physical?
I'm now a huge yoga convert and have noticed lots of mental and physical benefits. My flexibility is the best it's ever been, my muscles are toned and strong, and I'm much less stressed at work.
4. Challenge/ Goals that you are working on at the moment?
I'm determined to nail crow and side crow by the end of the year. I'd also love to be able to do a headstand.
5. A tip for a new member to get into it?
If you're doing yoga, treat yourself to a good, non-slip mat. It will make all the difference.
1. What made you decide to take on a Pilates or Yoga practise? To help alleviate my chronic back pain following a car accident four years ago and to increase my overall health and fitness.
2. What are your favourite classes and why? Vinyasa and Yin yoga, I love how my body feels afterwards.
3. What benefits have you seen mental / physical? My back pain has improved immensely and I no longer have to visit a chiropractor and osteopath regularly, I've also become a lot stronger and more flexible.
4. Challenge/ Goals that you are working on at the moment? Wheel pose and also trying to keep my mind focused during yoga classes as it tends to wander.
5. A tip for a new member to get into it? Try all of the classes to find the ones you really love and the instructors whose style suits you best.
What made you decide to take on a Pilates or Yoga practise?
I’ve been going to a gym regularly for a few years and while I was getting a lot stronger I noticed that I wasn’t at all flexible. I decided to give yoga a go to try and increase my flexibility
What are your favourite classes and why? I currently go to classes five days a week, attending Hatha, Vinyasa, Heated Flow and Ashtanga yoga. I enjoy them all as I feel I get different benefits from each and I love the different teaching styles of the various trainers.
What benefits have you seen mental / physical? My flexibility has definitely increased (although frustratingly I still can’t touch my toes) and I find my ability to focus fully on the classes and block out any distractions is getting better all the time. I find I’m more relaxed at work and seem better able to handle stressful situations. My metabolism has increased and I have dropped a couple of kilos since joining. Oh, and I’m drinking way more tea instead of coffee, which nearly broke the bank on my first trip to T2 to stock up!
Challenge that you are working on at the moment? The headstand! I’ve gotten much better at it, but would love to be able to do it without wobbling.
My journey at Soulful Fitness has been a joyous one. In the past it would not be uncommon for me to join a gym and visit once every 3 to 6 months as I did not feel comfortable. For the first time in my life I feel as though I have found exercise that I look forward to attending in the form of Pilates, despite how busy life gets with family and work. On holidays recently I found myself continuing to complete Pilates exercises despite being away from my usual routine and the day of my return I could not wait to come back to class. Many of the goals I set myself back when I first joined have been achieved including to toning up, improve my flexibility, increase my back and core strength and dropping a dress size but I believe the benefits have been beyond the physical. It is refreshing to find exercise that you can see yourself doing long term and look forward to. My newest favourite class has become Ruth's Power Reformer class on a Monday evening which definitely a fun challenge. I also really enjoy Faye's Mat Pilates class on Sundays mornings as a nice relaxing end to the week. Into the future with Soulful Fitness I look forward to trying new things, setting new goals and achieving them!
Congratulations to our Soulful Fitness tribe member David Ballance for completing the 6 foot track Blue Mountains Trail Marathon in March from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. 45kms trail running in 5 hours and 10 mins was better than his time last year thanks to his yoga practise. Even though it was nearly 10 degrees hotter than last year his hamstrings did not cramp this year when last year they did and Dave says its because of yoga. Rest up David we'll see you for class in a few days, well done on an amazing run we are so proud.
Meet Sharon Higgins-Bush. She was one of the very first members at the studio, being a member of Soulful Fitness pretty much from the day it opened. The things she likes about the studio are that it’s close to home, it offers a great variety of classes, the staff are all very friendly, the teaching is professional and It has a lovely ambience. She runs her own business and as a working mum with two children it’s often difficult to make time for herself. Going to classes just two days a week really makes a difference to her well-being. Sharon's nine year old daughter said “Mum, it’s good when you go to Pilates – I can see it makes you happy”. She is right – it really does and Sharon is thrilled.
She wants to thank Amanda, Hayley, Natalia and the team. We are super proud of her ability to keep regular visits up despite heavy work loads and family commitments.
Teck Tau (you may know him as Tim) was one of Soulful Fitness's very first members joining before the opening of the studio. Teck was first introduced to Pilates few years ago as he often had a sore lower back. After moving to Lane Cove, he was very excited when noticing Soulful Fitness’s brochures and signboard as it was exactly what he had been looking for… a studio in the neighbourhood with various forms of yoga and Pilates under one roof. Now, he is trying to get back to his exercise routine and feels like he is on the right track to a healthy lifestyle. In addition to Teck's favourite Pilates classes, he also truly enjoys the different forms of yoga such as Astanga and Yin and is hoping by mixing these classes, it will help to achieve a balance in overall fitness. Teck is thankful to all the instructors and crew at Soulful Fitness for being so friendly, patient and warm.
Tanya Bessell has smashed her weight loss goal of losing 10 kilos by Xmas to have lost it by mid November. She has done this by attending barre, spin, Pilates mat and Pilates reformer classes. She sleeps better, works better, looks better, feels better, has more energy and does not have as many feet issues as she used to. She drinks over 2 ltrs of water a day when she hardly drunk any, and misses working out when she doesn't attend. Friends are commenting that her skin looks great and then saying that they can see that she has lost weight. Tanya says that everyone is so encouraging and she has really enjoyed meeting new people on the same journey and sharing the experience together. She is so motivated to keep going as she wants to lose another 10 kilos and we cant wait to help.
Margaret Glesson has been attending the studio for around 4 months and feels so much better physically and mentally. She originally joined because she has MS and needs to strengthen her hips on both sides equally as she has issues with the muscles and tendons in these areas. Since doing the Pilates, Pilates Reformer, Barre and Hatha Yoga classes, she feels stronger and even her Chiro has noticed the difference in her strength and range of movement. She is going to be working on her back strength in the future and even getting into the virtual spinning room to lose a few kilos. Not only does Margaret have MS but as a result of the disease, has under 10% eye site. She is a true inspiration and doesn't let excuses stop her from living life as healthy as she can (also with a sense of humour.. we love her jokes!)
Amanda Benny has been attending Soulful Fitness since the very first day the studio opened. Amanda is a busy customer service manager in charge of a huge team meeting stressful daily productivity for a large national retail company. She initially joined for the spin classes but Amanda quickly found herself also enjoying the strength, stretch and healing aspect of the dynamic Vinyasa classes (as you can see we took a sneaky pic of her doing a restorative back bend). Amanda has gained all over body strength, can now do the poses much easier, is fitter, handles challenges at work easier, has lost a couple of kilos and feels younger than she did 10 years ago.