What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in 2019 and went through a pretty intensive treatment program of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy for 12 months. I am now a year all clear which is amazing. I needed to undertake a rehabilitation program during and following treatment and I was tossing up between joining a gym and following a traditional cancer rehabilitation program or joining a specialist yoga and Pilates studio. I had done a lot of yoga in the past and always loved it, so I decided that if I was going to undertake a rehabilitation program it might as well be doing something I enjoy….so I went down the specialist yoga and Pilates route.
What are your favourite classes? I try to get to three classes a week which I like for different reasons. Ashtanga with Kimberley is great, I like the fact that it is essentially the same poses in each class which makes it easier to get in the zone and it can become quite meditative. It is also easier to observe how you are improving as you go through the poses and every week I seem to learn something new about some of the poses or remember to work on something I have forgotten. I like Pilates Reformer with Amanda, it is a great strengthening compliment to the stretching of yoga and I love the variety of poses you can do on the machines with relatively low impact on the joints. I have also started going to Malcum’s Hatha recently. I like the way he does fewer poses but with greater intensity and duration. He is also great at explaining what we should be working on with each pose. I would like to do more classes, but life can’t all be about yoga and Pilates!
What benefits have you seen? Although I have done heaps of yoga in the past, I manage one class a week. Whilst that was great and definitely better than nothing, the exponential benefits I get from three classes per week are really noticeable. I started at Soulful Fitness just after I had finished my chemotherapy, I was pretty frail. I found the yoga and Pilates really helped me prepare and get through some pretty major surgery and subsequent radiotherapy. Now, post treatment, it has helped me to be in a position where I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been which is pretty amazing considering where I was 18 months ago
Challenge that you are working on? Flexibility has always been a big issue for me – you would think that I could touch my toes after doing yoga for so long! I can’t, but that’s ok. That’s the great thing about yoga, it suits everyone – even if you are the least flexible person in the world (me!), it really doesn’t matter. Yoga is about you and where you are at, and not about whether you can do the poses perfectly. The other big issue is my core. I had a big chunk of my core surgically removed and that is an ongoing mission trying to rebuild it. So if you ever see me doing a rubbish boat pose and collapsing afterwards…that’s my excuse!
Advice for people thinking of starting?Just start! It doesn’t matter how flexible you are, or how well you can do the poses - no-one is judging you!. Yoga is about you and your journey. The yoga room is one of the few places in the world where you can devote an hour to yourself, feel great and enjoy a really positive vibe with likeminded people.
Persist! It might be hard to find time to devote each week and it might be intimidating at the start when you look at all these other bendy people. You also might find the poses and instructions confusing. The more you go, all of this will matter less and less. The time it takes will soon seem like a small investment to make as you start to feel better in all aspects of your life – physically and mentally. By making time for yourself, you become a better person for others. It doesn’t matter how bendy you are, like me, you may never become bendy – but that’s ok, just think about how un-bendy you would be if you didn’t do it! Yoga is a journey – in a short time you will become pretty familiar with the different poses – they might seem overwhelming at the start, but you will come to realise that many of them are related to one another and learnings from one, easily apply to others. The great thing about yoga is that you never stop learning, every class I learn or remember something that improves my practice. Try a few different classes and find the teacher and the class that you gel with. Just ask the staff at Soulful – they will help find the right classes for you – some teachers are much more intense than others, so it is important that you find the right class and the right teachers that suits you. Soulful has heaps of classes suitable to cater for a wide range of needs and abilities! Namaste!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I needed to get stronger and fitter, and lose some weight.
What are your favourite classes? I value both the mix of classes and the varying styles of the different instructors. I attend Pilates mat and reformer, and various barre classes.
What benefits have you seen? Exactly what I was looking for - weight loss, strength and improved fitness - and great advice from the staff.
Challenge you are working on? Improving my cardio capacity.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Hate to pinch a slogan, but....Just do it! Don’t wait for that ‘right’ or ‘quiet’ time that may never arrive.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I embarked on my membership with the idea of doing Pilates to increase my core strength, as I’d seen my mother unsteady on her feet as she became older. My exercise background had been aerobics, but that had lapsed over time, so by the time I stumbled across Soulful Fitness I hadn’t been doing any regular exercise for several years.
What are your favourite classes? Having intended to concentrate on Pilates, I found myself gravitating towards yoga. I enjoy the calming effects of yoga philosophy as well as the physical benefits of increasing core strength and balance and the challenges of performing postures that I had though beyond my ability. I enjoy Hatha and Vinyasa classes particularly.
What benefits have you seen? My core strength and flexibility have increased over my years of practice. As well, yoga is a way of switching off after my working day and a means of gaining perspective of day to day life issues.
Challenge that you are working on? I’m working on Crow pose and still haven’t yet had the courage to attempt headstands or handstands. I’m also yet to find enough patience to consider Yin classes, as I really enjoy the more vigorous asanas.
Advice for people thinking of starting? For those thinking of staring a yoga or Pilates programme, don’t be limited by what you think you can’t do. There is a level for the most basic beginner, and there are always options to increase the scope of your practice as you become more proficient through repeated practice.
Member 4+ years
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I had always be interested in taking up yoga and seeing what it involved. The idea of being able to use breathing techniques and relaxation techniques in day to day life really appealed to me.
What are your favourite classes? Yin Yoga and the spin studio
What benefits have you seen? I’ve noticed that I’ve become more self aware due to the emphasis the classes place on relaxation and breathing. If we feel good in the classes we should also be able to use the techniques we learn to feel good even when we are at work.
Challenge that you are working on? I’m working on improving my fitness. The spin studio will help with this.
Advice for people thinking of starting? Set yourself realistic achievable goals. Self improvement is not going to happen quickly. These things take time. Going to a studio is a good step, but there are many additional steps involved in achieving a goal. Be kind to yourself - you can still have cheat days
What made you take on a Pilates / yoga programme? My son, William, encouraged me to try out Soulful Fitness. Pilates had been recommended by a physiotherapist following arthritis in my left hip, a frozen shoulder, and a history of back pain.
Which are your favourite classes? I love the Pilates reformer classes, the yoga classes and the bike riding. They are all great!
What benefits have your seen? I have had improvements in body and mind. I am more confident of ably undertaking heavy jobs in the house and garden. Also, I have an improved sense of well-being, greater flexibility and enjoy a more correct posture. In addition, and most importantly, I have less discomfort from my arthritic hip, my frozen shoulder has increased mobility, and I have been free of back pain. And my wife tells me I have complained less about my aches and pains!
Challenges that you are working on? Each class has its own challenges! I am working towards increased mobility and strength to maintain a high standard of physical health for day to day enjoyment and to prevent recurrence of past ailments.
Advice for people thinking of starting: It’s an investment in your body and your life. Like going for a swim in the ocean, the first few steps into cool water are the hardest, but once you are in you will feel better, won’t regret it, and won’t want to leave.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I went on holiday to Bali in 2018 with a lot of doing nothing in mind. I was constantly exhausted and unhappy. Ubud was my first destination and my hotel happened to be right next door to the Yoga Barn: a movement, yoga and meditation centre. I was curious about the place that looked so beautiful from the outside. I did a class of Hatha and found it incredibly hard. Long story short, I cancelled the rest of my travel plans and practiced at the Yoga Barn for the rest of my stay. I started feeling relaxed and incredibly peaceful and obviously wanted to sustain that feeling on my return to Sydney.
What are your favourite classes? I love all the yoga classes full stop. Hatha teaches me patience, Vinyasa gives me strength and Yin calms me down. I appreciate the fact that we have some many great teachers at the studio. Over the last year and a half, I learnt a lot from each of them.
What benefits have you seen?
I would rather rephrase this question to ‘What benefits have you felt’? Becoming focused, committed, disciplined and self-respecting are just a few of them. What people can see on the outside is that I lost a huge amount of weight and managed to sustain it. For me, the physical benefits of a daily practice are not as important. However, 9 years ago I was a passenger in a high-speed car crash. After the accident, I was terrified to use my body that was so badly hurt and fragile. I was worried that with any movement it could fall apart afresh. Yoga helped me regain confidence about using my arms and legs again.
Challenge that you are working on?
Balance…in all its aspects. But like with everything one must practice something to become better at it. It will eventually improve, I know it.
Advice for people thinking of starting?
Consistency brings results. If you exercise once or twice this will not lead to any progress. If you do not exercise for a little while, this will also be quite irrelevant to your overall fitness outcome. If you continue either, you will start noticing the effects. Good or bad - the choice is yours.
My name is Hanneke. Since June 2018, my husband and I have lived in Lane Cove. We’re from the Netherlands and because of my husbands job we’re so lucky to live in this beautiful country for a few years. I don’t have a job here in Australia so I looked for things to keep me busy and to meet new people. During my whole life, I have loved sports. When I was young I played field hockey and recently, before we left for our big adventure, I did lots of walking and twice a week an hour of Pilates mat.
While exploring Lane Cove “village” I saw the entrance of Soulful Fitness and went inside to have a look. 2 years later I’m still a very happy member. I had never done Pilates reformer and yoga before, so I just tried it and love it.
My favourite classes? Difficult question. I like all classes, sorry I can’t chose one. I love Amanda’s “Pilates Mat Fundamentals” It makes me more aware of my body, what muscles to use, the music is nice and Amanda is fun, although sometimes it’s hard for me to understand her Aussie slang! I really like to do Yin Yoga. Every teacher brings something different and it’s a gentle practice. The 2 Pilates reformer classes I go to every week are more of a challenge for me, but I like a challenge now and then too. Using the reformer bed make the exercises less difficult and it makes you stronger.
The benefits I have seen; My body has became stronger and more flexible. I also have increased my knowledge about my body and yin yoga has taught me to relax a little bit more. Last but not least, I have met some beautiful people.
Challenge you are working on? A big challenge for me is to look for a good balance. I always try very hard, which creates a lot of tension in my body. My challenge is to be more relaxed while exercising.
My advice for people thinking of starting: Just walk in, have a chat with the girls and try some classes.