What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I started joining Pilates classes in 2016, after having a low back injury at work. I realized that I needed regular exercise to support my daily activities. After researching here and there, I decided Pilates was the best low-impact exercise to gain strength in my core. I used to be actively engaged in high-impact exercises in my younger age, such as running or playing tennis, even teaching aerobic classes. It is getting hard to maintain these exercises when my age number is adding up. In Pilates, I am re-educating my body by strengthening the core with alignment, breathing, coordination and balance. In every single classes, I discover well-designed movements targeted efficient route to my physical and emotional well-being. The Pilates method teaches me to be in control of my body and I allow myself to be conscious of the changes, not only my posture alignment and strength, but also my mind, attitude and mood.
What are your favourite classes? My favourite classes are Pilates Reformer and Pilates Mat. I love Charell's Reformer, with the combination of golden music and great techniques which makes the class so much fun and effective. My favourite Pilates Mat class is with Imelda, when the challenge is always there every week, making my obliques and core screaming happily (I literally feel my abs look similar to J-LO's, after Imelda's class). Another favourite Pilates Mat class is Kathryn's class, it makes my triceps and lower abs get stronger. I also enjoy coming to Vanessa, Maemie and Noni's Reformer classes. The dynamics of those classes remind me of my youth. All those classes are so addictive, I don't want to miss any of them. On behalf of my glutes, cores, obliques and quads, biceps and triceps, I thank all teachers for the impact they have had on my body. I also enjoy doing online classes during lockdown.
What benefits have you seen? In the first four months of doing Pilates, I noticed some physical changes as I gained more strength. I learned to pay attention to small muscles which I didn't even know existed. I improved my awareness of not only posture, endurance, strength and flexibility but also the quality of life. I become more focused in doing the exercise as well as in my work. Throughout the years, I also realized Pilates is not just about gaining a rock-hard core but it is more a complete coordination of physical, mental and emotional well-being too. The benefits from the acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and peace are priceless. I always come home with a big smile after finishing classes, feeling melted and happy. More importantly, having a good sleep after double classes. Another benefit is also a state of happiness being surrounded by regular people who are present in classes. This community became the ground to help me heal through my sorrow after my sister's passing recently. The heavy mind was healed through movement and regular Pilates console the soul as I focused on the health. I believe change happens through movement and movement heals.
Challenge that you are working on? After doing Pilates for many years, I am keen to challenge myself to squeeze my time to join yoga classes. The challenge is definitely in dedicating my time to look after myself this year by having less stress and continue designing a healthy happy body and mind. "Everyone is the architect of his own happiness"-Joseph Pilates
Advice for people thinking of starting? Patience and persistence are important in successfully accomplish achievable outcomes. Simply start by coming to any classes available. Choose your preferences and adjust your time to be available. It's not about comparing to what others can do, but focus on self-improvement. Great motivation, commitment and self-discipline are essential to achieve any goals. It is our duty, not only to attain health but to maintain it.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I’d been doing Body Pump and weights / circuit training for years, but I was not motivated or seeing results any more, and felt I needed a new focus. I also felt that my tight back, neck and hamstrings needed something different, as I work at a computer all day. I thought yoga and Pilates was exercise I could learn now and practice forever.
What are your favourite classes? My standout favourites are Imelda’s Pilates mat and reformer classes, Emma and Vanessa on reformer, and Charell’s Pilates mat. I’m very loyal! I mostly do 6am classes during the week, as I’m working full time. My goal for 2022 is to fit in more yoga.
What benefits have you seen? I thought I was fairly strong, but my upper body and core strength has increased significantly. I sleep better and I have more energy, the more I practice. I still find my classes challenging, as they offer progression, so you are always working to improve. I (mostly) kept up my practice during lockdown using the online and live classes, and that was an amazing resource to stop me going mad WFH. We have recently had a very stressful period at home, and throughout I forced myself (literally!) to attend my usual classes, and it was a great mental as well as physical support.
Challenge that you are working on? So many! Tricep pushups – room to improve! Working on my spinal flexibility, which is better but still not great – so fitting in more yoga is the plan next year. Losing some COVID kilos would be nice too.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Be brave and try things! I was a bit daunted by reformer for a while, and avoided it – now I’m addicted. Also, do a variety of classes if you can, as each teacher gives you new skills and challenges.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? My wife, Lorraine and I joined up in early 2018 as we were impressed with the wide range of yoga and Pilates classes on offer as well as the spin classes and the very friendly staff. We were new to the area having moved from a house on the North shore where we had lived for 34 years to a Unit in Lane Cove. We felt Soulful Fitness would help us integrate into the community here along with improving our health and wellbeing.
What are your favourite classes? Initially we attended classes such as restorative yoga, Hatha and Yin Yoga, Basics Pilates Reformer and Pilates Mat fundamentals as well as a number of Kundalini yoga classes and made use of the exercise bikes. Subsequently, we attended Barre classes and embraced Tai Chi classes when they became available. I also kept up the Pilates classes and Lorraine attended Hatha and Yin yoga classes. These are all our favourites.
What benefits have you seen? The benefits have been many both spiritually and physically. Firstly, the friendliness of not only every member of staff but also so many of the members who attend the same classes. The teachers make the classes so much fun and there is a great deal of laughter in all the sessions. As is commonly and correctly said, laughter is the best medicine. Secondly, another major benefit for me is concentrating on what I am doing and putting aside all those other thoughts that keep trying to intervene. The reduction in stress levels is palpable. Mentally I now feel more at ease. Thirdly, leaving aside the disruptions and serious problems we have all suffered from during the lock-downs as a result of the pandemic over the last two years, I feel so much better physically as a result of being a member of Soulful Fitness. Every part of the body is worked on and if I miss classes for a few weeks for whatever reason, I am aware I will have to catch up again to regain flexibility, balance and general strengthening. I do wish to commend management for arranging for so many of the classes to be available via our computer screens during the lock-downs.
Challenge that you are working on? In February last year, I had a full left knee replacement which took longer than I had anticipated to recover. However, as a result of attending Soulful Fitness beforehand, I was both physically and mentally better prepared than I would otherwise have been and subsequently after a fairly long period of physiotherapy, I was able to resume classes which were also instrumental in strengthening my knee. Today, I give it no thought whatsoever except I can now run if I want to and do not limp when I walk. I am in what I call a transition to full retirement, and I am a Non-Executive Director on a number of Charity Boards as well as the Board of a Commercial Company. In addition, I am the Chairman of the Strata Committee in our Unit complex. I only mention this because it is a challenge at times to attend the classes I would wish to especially given my wife and I also like to travel. At least we did before COVID! Another challenge is to try out other classes and see how I like them. Given the easing of COVID restrictions, the opportunity now presents itself.
Advice for people thinking of starting? My advice for people thinking of starting is to remember you are joining a welcoming community focused on improving your health in all respects. It is well rounded in terms of its offerings and I would urge those people to try out as many classes as they can. Class times are flexible to cater for the many different requirements of members. It is exciting and challenging but all at your own pace. During classes instructors are very careful to ensure you avoid any physical injury and remember there is no judgement by others regarding how you are coping. This is a case of being individually challenged and other members fully acknowledge that point. Give it a go and see what happens!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I decided to join when I was 3 months pregnant as I wanted to find something that was low impact and easy to adapt as I got further along in my pregnancy. I was also looking to get involved in a community of positive like-minded people. I have met some wonderful ladies along the way who have been incredibly supportive. I’ve always walked past Soulful Fitness as I get my nails done a few doors down, so one day I popped my head in and met the beautiful Emma and I could not wait to star!
What are your favourite classes? My favourite class is Pilates Reformer with Vanessa she is firm and always lets me know if I need to adjust my form. As well as Pilates Reformer and stretch with Imelda, she is always pushing me to hit new boundaries. I’ve recently started doing the 6am class as this is the only time my partner can look after bub. I’m not normally a morning person at all, but now I’m addicted. There is no better way to start the day! I also very much enjoy the online classes. Having a little one its not always easy to get up Lane Cove to do the classes in person. There are so many online classes to choose from I have picked a few favourites that are my go-to.
OMG I absolutely must book every sound healing class that is available on the schedule. This is an incredible way to unwind, relax, let go of everything and focus on yourself. Most of the time I fall asleep, however I always leave with an overwhelming feeling of happiness, joy, and well-being.
What benefits have you seen? Overall, I feel stronger and more confident. I’ve seen substantial changes with my core strength, pelvic floor as well as glutes and legs. I finally fit back into my pre pregnant clothes as I’ve lost 8kg doing daily online classes during lockdown as well as focusing eating a balanced healthy diet. I’m also in general a more positive person as my mental health has improved tremendously.
Challenge that you are working on? At the moment I’m focused on slowly building up my core strength. I would love to be able to do a perfect plank without Imelda telling me to keep my hips in line. I’m also very focused on what I’m eating so I am loving Amanda’s delicious recipes!
Advice for people thinking of starting? You wont regret it, challenge yourself, get your body moving and meet wonderful people!
1. What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I live very close to the studio, and I would walk past the sign often, wondering what it was like. At the time I was seeing a personal trainer once a week but finding it difficult to motivate myself to do any other meaningful exercise or movement on the other days. I was having a lot of pain in my knees, which an orthopaedic surgeon confirmed was due to a congenital condition, and exercise was the only option (and knee replacements one day). I've never been a sporty person, and even though we had a crosstrainer at home (used by hubby), I tended to avoid it! I didn't think of myself as a "gym" person either so hadn't thought about joining Soulful Fitness as I didn't think it would be so different from your traditional gyms. I needed to build up my leg muscles to keep my knees working, and a cycling, Pilates and yoga combination looked like it might be a good place to start.
2. What are your favourite classes? After finding that I wasn't really strong enough to hold yoga poses for very long (I needed to build some muscle strength) I concentrated on doing mat Pilates and some barre classes. I found I loved barre, even though I had never taken dance as a child. I was a bit scared of the reformer beds, but once I gave it a try, it's now my favourite class!
3. What benefits have you seen? So many! Physically I am much stronger, especially my core, glutes and legs which has improved my knee stability and reduced my pain. I have more energy and am able to do my everyday tasks better. I'm more aware of my posture and I "listen" to my body. I've found that mentally I feel calmer and grounded, especially straight after a class and for the rest of that day. I'm more confident in my body and what I've been able to achieve. I'm stronger and fitter than I have ever been as an adult, which is pretty amazing as I'm in my 50s and never thought that possible!
4.Challenge that you are working on? I am currently working on my back flexibility and strength and stabilising my pelvis. I would like to go back to yoga again, but my challenge is being able to relax so I will look at some gentle yoga and relaxation classes to slot in between the strength training.
5. Advice for people thinking of starting? Making a commitment to your health and mental wellbeing is an investment in yourself. If you are new to exercise, make it as easy as possible to stay on track with your goals. If you find you run out of time at the end of the day, commit to doing your exercise first thing in the morning. Give yourself some recovery days so your muscles are not too sore. I'm so glad I found Soulful Fitness, as it has helped me change my body and life for the better!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? It has been a few years now that I wandered into Soulful to check out what classes were offered. I had attended a seniors fitness program in Chatswood but felt I wanted more toning and more of a challenge. I was not shifting any weight and due to the nature of my work I was still doing so much sitting with desk work and driving to and from work. My lower back gave me grief and I needed regular physio to help me deal with the discomfort. A tear in my meniscus in my knee also let me know I needed to work on my body to strengthen my dormant muscles. On top of that my energy level was not great and I knew I needed a routine and a variety of challenges. I had experienced Yoga and Pilates before when I attended a community evening Pilates class and Bikram Yoga many years ago and did really enjoy the work out. I was looking for a local fitness place that could offer both and more.
What are your favourite classes? Yin Yoga , Pilates and Barre. Yin Yoga is slower and for me the stretching really was a challenge as I don’t think I ever knew that so many parts of my body could benefit from these amazing positions. It was a challenge but I immediately felt a release and subtlety I had not felt for a long time . I also learned to actual allowing myself to be open to meditation. I never felt that I had the personality to do it as my brain just seems to keep chattering. I feel now that I am getting there and feel I can ease tension and through using the Nidra method do so by focusing and relaxing. Pilates gives me that feeling of strength, the forgotten muscles around my belly, those soft glutes, all so desperately in need of a workout. I found the reformer at first quite scary but then also a bit of a dare. Now I miss it and long to get on them again. Barre is exciting, It is the music, the pace, the feeling of being back in the ballet pose, which I so loved as a teenager. Barre really makes me feel I pour out the sweat and feel I have done a workout and actually made it through.
What benefits have you seen? I not only feel fitter and so much more energetic, but I have noticed I am less floppy with those abdominal areas a lot tighter than they have been for decades. I also lost weight. Moreover it is also feeling of emotional strength I now realise must have come through the methods I have learned in Yoga, in meditation and through my general physical acuity. I know now I can manage better when things don’t go well and I am less afraid of uncertainties and disappointments. What I did not expect was the sense of community in Soulful. I have made friends and had some very meaningful conversations with team members, which I truly treasured.
Challenge that you are working on? The challenge now in the lockdown is to actually keep a schedule going as a routine. How easy is it at home to just skip that exercise session that you booked yourself in for. Nobody checks. So now I have set a goal on the number of classes I attend a week. I do them early in the day before work. At times I know I have taken on too many in the day and that I actually should rest the next day. That is hard for me, as I have to admit to myself that at 74 I also need to know my limits.
Advice for people thinking of starting? I remember in the beginning so many of the moves and positions were quite unfamiliar to me. I had to know the terms and phrases as well, but there was always the encouragement and the non judgment that made me settle in quite quickly. I recall always hiding somewhere in the back so no one would see my blunders. Now I try to get in early so I get to be at the front so I can observe better and not miss out on the subtleties. I still have many moments that are challenging but do not feel ashamed or judged, but I see it more as a new challenge that I will try to conquer or just let be as something just not for me. Do what you can and enjoy the practice and don’t force yourself as it is not a competition.
Just wanted to say a massive thank you to Amanda and the team for allowing me to use the the studio, practicing my sequences and for sharing your knowledge so openly whilst I completed my Pilates training certificate! You guys are some of the best trainers I have ever seen and we are so lucky to have you in the cove. Amanda, the studio has always been my safe haven. Having had many health issues and struggled mentally after some significant surgeries over the years, I am so grateful for all that you have given me. I wanted to share that I have now completed Pilates teaching certification and I look forward to continuing my education. Long post, but I just wanted to say thank you!