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!
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I really enjoy both Pilates and yoga and when I tried Soulful Fitness I was delighted to find they had both a wide range of Pilates and yoga classes on offer.
What are your favourite classes? It’s hard to choose - Barre with Emma, Pilates Matwork with Mickey, Ashtanga Yoga with Maggie, Reformer with Carole
What benefits have you seen? From a physical perspective, I am stronger and I can feel my legs are getting more toned as is my core. But equally importantly, I can think the classes help clear my mind and I’m happier when I doing them regularly.
Challenge that you are working on? I would love to be able to run longer distances and learn some of the more challenging yoga poses like inversions and crow
Advice for people thinking of starting? Get out of your comfort zone and try something you wouldn’t normally choose - you might be pleasantly surprised!
What made me take on Pilates and Yoga? In January 2016 I spent a month in intensive care due to complications from heart surgery, and I suffered 2 strokes whilst in intensive care. Once I had regained my strength and completed my rehabilitation, I wanted to ensure I continued to improve my strength and work to improve my health. When I was in intensive care my husband suggested yoga could be a good thing to look into for me to take up as I got better. Fast forward to August 2016 and I decided to look into yoga. I visited the studio and signed up on the spot.
Favouirte Classes? My favourite classes are Hatha and restorative yoga, I’ve recently retired and have now tried Ashtanga and Yin Yoga. I have also attended the retreats in 2018 & 2019, which were a great break, very relaxing and an opportunity to meet other members.
What benefits have you seen? The benefits for me have been building overall strength and having had two strokes I find yoga has been amazing in helping me with my balance.
Future challenge? I am working on trying some of the more challenging poses like “crow”.
Advice for people thinking of starting? I would encourage everyone considering taking up yoga or Pilates to simply begin, not only will you see benefits to your health and wellbeing, the studio is so friendly and welcoming. The staff and all the members make Soulful Fitness a community.
What made you take on a Pilates and Yoga program? I have always been interested in the benefits of Pilates and Yoga practices. I decided to take up Membership with Soulful Fitness after witnessing a steady procession of happy and satisfied members walking past Adam Larissa where I worked. Many of whom extolled the virtues of their practices. I also got to know some of the friendly, diverse, and talented Instructors
What are your favourite classes? My favourite classes are Tai Chi and Hatha and Pranayama Breathing. But in fact, I love them all as I do a mix of Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi.
What benefits have you seen? The mix of classes that is available to me has helped me with increased Strength and Better Balance. The Breathing and meditative aspects help with “Being in the Now” and assist with quietening incessant “mind chatter”. I believe that due to the mind, body, and spirit focus of these practices that my general health well-being is so much better. My family have noticed it as well. Good health and serenity have a ripple on effect. My Chiropractor said that “my new norm is better than my old norm”!
There is also the added benefit of the positive energy that is generated by being with like-minded people and dedicated instructors.
Challenge that you are working on? My main challenges continue to be working on improving my balance and breathing.
Advice for people thinking of starting? For anyone who is considering taking up a Pilates and Yoga practice I say do it now! The benefits to health and well-being are immeasurable. This is certainly one of the best things I have ever done.
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.