PLUS, Tasha is offering all our Soul Pilates Members a FREE consultation and 15% off their first session! Read on to find out more about the powers of Reiki!
Many of us lead busy, hectic lives and find it hard to slow down, pause and find time for ourselves. Stress can take its toll and life’s demands can feel overwhelming at times, but regular self-care is essential for our health and wellbeing.
As Reiki, an energy healing therapy originating in Japan, offers a holistic approach to health that is particularly beneficial for those with busy lives.
Reiki is a gentle and safe hands-on healing therapy that can help you to relax, reconnect with yourself and to feel more present and at ease. Regular sessions can offer support for a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, enhancing your body’s own ability to heal itself on every level: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
How Reiki Can Support Your Wellbeing
Relaxation: Reiki sessions can provide a much-needed break from the demands of a busy schedule. Reiki can encourage deep relaxation, melting away stress and tension and allowing the body to rest and find stillness and peace.
Mental clarity: Reiki helps to calm the mind and clear away mental clutter, allowing you more clarity and focus, and giving you the space to really listen to yourself and your needs.
Balancing: Reiki works on all levels - the mind, body and spirit - helping you to explore a new sense of balance and perspective, and to navigate life’s challenges with more ease.
Recharging: Constantly being on the go can leave you feeling tired and depleted.
Reiki helps to harmonise the body’s energy flow, replenishing energy levels and enhancing vitality and wellbeing.
“It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately filling up the space.” Pema Chodron
At busy times it’s easy to put yourself last on the list but regular Reiki treatment is a wonderful and effective form of self-care, supporting you to be kinder to yourself, to come back to your body, and to feel more connected with yourself and others.
Tash is a fully qualified Reiki Practitioner, a member of the UK Reiki Federation and registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). She is also a Soul Pilates member.
Tash will be partnering with Soul Pilates to offer a 15% discount on her single treatment price for Soul Pilates Members. Members should check their emails for their exclusive code or email us on email@example.com to find out more.
It truly is for everyone and does so much more than just “strengthen your core”. Whether you are new to movement, looking to improve fitness, working through an injury or managing chronic pain. Pilates can enhance both performance and your day to day health.
We hear a lot of Pilates myths at Soul Pilates. From thinking Pilates is yoga minus the meditation (it’s not), to assuming it’s not much of a workout (wait ‘til you try it!), many people seem to have the wrong idea. So, to sort the Pilates fact from fiction, we have broken down some of the common misconceptions.
Pilates is just for women
The suitability and benefits of Pilates is not biased towards women! It never has been and in fact, the Pilates Method was originally created by Joseph Pilates – a gymnast, boxer and a military trainer who had a ‘strong’ physique even towards his later years.
Whilst Pilates did become an integral part of conditioning for dancers, bringing a greater ratio of female instructors, this is evolving again. We work with men of all ages. Including Rugby players, cyclists, runners, footballers and elite athletes - men and women alike.
Pilates is easy and not a real workout.
Ever taken a Reformer Pilates class? Then you’ll know just how wrong this myth is. Pilates is indeed a real work out. You are working out every muscle in your body including the deepest muscles that often get neglected in a ‘gym’ work out. It’s not always the most obviously hard looking exercises that are the most challenging, a tiny adjustment can make a huge difference by increasing the challenge of the movement.
This is because Pilates exercises require precise movements and the holding of challenging positions. Reformer Pilates also uses springs, pulleys and gravity rather than heavy weights to sculpt and strengthen the body.
You have to be flexible to do Pilates
The truth is that regular Pilates will increase your flexibility, but that doesn’t mean you have be bendy to start with. Instead, Pilates on the equipment can make even the most difficult exercise work for you, no matter what your physical limitations are. So, remember: it really doesn’t matter if you’re nowhere near touching your toes and want to do Pilates. If anything, it is a reason to commit to regular Pilates practise.
And believe us, your hamstrings will thank you for it.
Reformer Pilates is harder than mat pilates
Both Reformer and Mat Pilates can be equally challenging. With Mat you don’t have the feedback of the Reformer or the resistance of the springs to work with or against which can actually make the class more challenging for some. For instance, hypermobile bodies may benefit more from the feedback given by the Reformer. With Mat Pilates, you are only working with your own body weight and gravity which may be more challenging for clients who struggle with their proprioception (knowing where their body is in space).
Pilates is only good for core strength and flexibility
Nothing frustrates a Pilates teacher more than hearing Pilates being described as an “a good stretch” or “core workout.” It does so much more than this!
Pilates actually strengthens the deep stabilising muscles found throughout the body, not just in the stomach and back region. These are in the neck and shoulder, as well as the spine and the pelvis.
So, whilst it is true that Pilates works the “core” muscles in the centre of the body, it also – and much more importantly – stabilises and strengthens the whole body
Pilates is just for rehab and pain
Another Pilates myth that persists is that the movement practice is only for rehabbing injuries. Not true. Pilates is a completely adaptable practice based on the needs and goals a person presents with that day. Utilising a variety of equipment, a movement/exercise can be challenged accordingly with spring resistance, playing with base of support/balance, orientation relative to gravity, coordination, etc. This is why Pilates is part of an elite athlete’s practice, even when they are out of an injured state.
Looking to get started? At Soul Pilates we want to make sure you start your journey in the right way, at the right level for your needs and goals. So we encourage everyone new to Soul Pilates to book in for a free consultation call, pop in to the studio or drop us an email, so we can make sure you get started in a safe and supported environment and set yourself up for the best possible results.
We like to think we do Barre a little differently at Soul Pilates! With a fully equipped Barre studio in our Bishopston Bristol studio...owner Nic Lenny tells us a little more about what you can expect from our Bristol Barre classes.
Soul Barre really is suitable for all levels, all fitness abilities and all age. It is a low impact workout that is perfect for working through menopause to build bone density. I love how we see people of all ages and levels in the same class, working at their own pace to push themselves in a supportive way that generates real results, mentally and physically.
So before I start I will admit, I am a major Reformer Pilates lover. And to explain my reason for loving Barre so much, and why I created Soul Barre, I need to first tell you a little story about my personal fitness journey.
I fell in love with Pilates and later Reformer Pilates in my mid 20s. I was a burned out marketing exec. Often criticised for being emotional at work, I was frazzled. Tired, but wired. Always striving to achieve more. But mostly feeling like I failed at everything.
When I decided I wanted to lose weight and tone up to look good, I did what I think a lot of people do. I turned to high intensity workouts. Four times a week at the gym, boot camp classes, body pump. You name it I did it. And I did it regularly, with intensity, just as I was told.
Yet nothing changed in my body aesthetically. Instead I look back and realise I was more tired, I was in more pain, I never listened to my body and my body really didn’t like me very much. I punished my body, never nourishing it.
I discovered Pilates and subsequently Reformer Pilates and realised that a movement experience which calmed my mind, reset my nervous system whilst still lengthen and toning was the key to changing my body.
Because when you are stressed out (and most of us are) your body produces adrenaline and when it’s stressed for a long period of time it produces cortisol. As humans, the only time our body produced cortisol was at a time of famine or war. So biologically our body is communicating “I’m in danger, food is scarce. Hold onto any fat, you might need it! And don’t get pregnant, you’re in danger!”.
When you are in this place, and most of my clients who work in the corporate world are, and you do high intensity workouts such as running, spinning, hiit is you produce more adrenaline and add it into your already stressed our adrenal system. So you move your body more into stress.
This is why so many people find Pilates super relaxing, great for their mental health and they see their body change in a way that never happened before.
When I opened Soul Pilates and brought this concept to our hundreds of clients, it’s been amazing to see the power Reformer has to change so many aspects of health. From digestion to fertility and chronic pain and to simply feeling more joyful about your own body.
But I always wanted to find a way to safely, and holistically, bring some more challenge to your body. To take on the benefits of isometric loading and more dynamic movement but in a way which still didn’t punish your body or frazzle your nervous system.
And Soul Barre was born. The heat of Barre with the mindfulness of Soul Pilates. Still educating you to listen to your body, work at a level which is appropriate to you and your energy levels on that day, but creating a class which will seriously tone, raise your heart beat and let you leave with a massive smile on your face.
Soul Barre works perfectly alongside reformer and is great for Barre beginners too! That’s why our Reformer memberships include Barre too because we see how when clients combine a mix of both classes they see and feel the most amazing results.
We truly believe Pilates can be a lifelong habit for anyone, at any age, and for any BODY!
It is a love impact, full body workout that focuses on strength as well as flexibility and posture - ensuring you can move through life feeling great, injury free and moving well.
To celebrate our 7 year anniversary of helping people move well and feel good for life! Read on to hear what Soul Pilates has meant for some of our longest standing members.
Peter Lovering - joined in 2015
7 years of Soul - The best fun you can have when your wrecked body is being carefully pulled apart and put back together again! Nic is a great healer of wounds physical and spiritual and a joy to spend time with. Thank you.
Helen Wycoski - joined in 2016
I joined Soul Pilates in May 2016 attending their equipment classes in Queens Square. Having had a hip replacement I found it really helped me with my movement and flexibility and then moved onto Reformer classes once the new studio opened in Gloucester Road.
Nic has done an amazing job with creating this new studio and I attended a trial session just before we went into lock down and then it was onto Zoom classes!! I find all the instructors are fantastic and no class is ever the same. Well done Nic and the team for making Pilates challenging but also fun.
Martin Sharp - joined in 2016
I started at Soul Pilates in 2016, with the aim of building resilience in my body to support the main activities I love to do, i.e. cycling and skiing. I was completely new to equipment Pilates and found it eye-opening as to the benefit it could give me not just for cycling and skiing, but for everyday life as well.
I`ve mainly done one-to-one lessons, but have also done some group classes, as well as a retreat in Cornwall. I`ve found sessions at Soul to be fun and interesting (I enjoy finding out about how my body works).
Overall, my posture has improved, and I`ve found Pilates at Soul to be both physically and mentally refreshing, and I always leave with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step.
Anne Sharp - joined in 2016
Quite simply, Soul Pilates helps me keep body and mind healthy. The mix and match of one to ones, classes and online offers great flexibility, and adding workshops and retreats into the mix keeps it interesting and relevant. I enjoy learning more about how my own body works and how to incorporate my Pilates practice into everyday life. After trying a number of studios when we first moved to Bristol, the Soul approach just felt right.
Clare Horne - joined in 2015
Working with Nic and the team at Soul Pilates for the last 7 years has been life changing for me, helping me move more effectively and painlessly. Life has thrown curve balls at my health and fitness but wherever I am in terms of my physical well being, a session at Soul never fails to give my body and mind a deep sense of calm, ease and release.
To find our more about virtual and in person Pilates sessions and classes visit www.soulpilates.co.uk
...whilst working from home?
We recently worked with Healing Holidays to provide some of our top ways to stay healthy, flexible and moving from home...read on to find out more of Owner of Soul Pilates, Nic's tip on flexible movement whilst Flexi working from home.
Many newspaper articles and headlines have claimed that 'sitting is the new smoking' and there are various research papers showing that a sedentary lifestyle is having a huge negative impact on our health. Whilst there is truth to this, with smoking there is nothing which can be done to offset any damage caused. But the good news is that a moderate level of physical activity can offset high levels of sitting. One study showed that even a small amount of light activity every 30 minutes will keep your blood glucose concentrations at a normal level.
The other thing I hear regularly, as a rehab focused Pilates Teacher, is an increase in back, neck and wrist pain caused from hours sitting behind a desk, staring at your computer. So what can you do to stay healthy, flexible and pain-free while working from home? And how can you avoid that hunched forward posture which is the result of desk working?
1. Create A “Commute” Walk
Motion really is lotion for your body, so fundamentally you need to move more! Start your day positively with a 20-minute 'walk to work'. Instead of your ‘commute’ being the bedroom to your homework space via the kitchen for breakfast, could you build in a 20-minute' walk to work'? A circular brisk walk to begin your day will increase your heart rate, calm your nervous system and lubricate your joints. To increase the benefit to your mental health, do it without distraction; so no phone or headphones. and just take in what you see, and even better if you can make it to a place with some trees. Did you know that trees release essential oils called phytoncides which when we breathe them in have a direct effect on our nervous system? Within as little as 15 minutes in a woodland environment, our resting heart rate is reduced, our blood pressure will fall and our cortisol levels are balanced, thereby promoting stress relief.
2. Add Regular Movement Into Your Day
Take time to get up every 30 minutes to move and stretch - don’t worry too much about stretching in an official way. Take some inspiration from the animal world who pandiculate when they get up after a nap. Just standing and reaching up and swaying and rolling your body from side to side is a great way to create more space and break up any tension which has built up in your tissues.
This is a great opportunity to stretch out your wrists too. My go-to wrist stretch is to simply make a fist with both hands out in front of you and move the wrist up and down and then make circles with the wrists, so you stretch out all the tissues around the wrists. I am seeing an increase in tennis elbow and wrist RSIs from my working from home clients, so don’t neglect these delicate joints.
3. Create An At-Home Practice
It’s likely you are working more than ever before. There are fewer distractions and less getting up and moving about generally in the office which means your working hours are more productive than ever before. So use this to your advantage and build an exercise practice into your working day. You could use your lunch break to not just get the laundry done but instead get started with a running practice or take an online cardio or barre class. Or one of my favourites is to turn that 3pm coffee and biscuit break into 20 minutes of mindful movement such as pilates which provides you with physical ease in your body whilst strengthening your core and calming your mind - all without the need for a shower afterwards! Perfect for working out during your working day.
4. Build HabitsStart small and build positive habits week on week. That way you’re more likely to create lasting change. Adding just 15 minutes of extra movement into your day is going to transform how you feel, your posture will improve and your health will thank you. Below are some of my favourite 15-minute classes to get you started.
15 Minute Morning Energiser
15 Minute Release & Relax
15 Minute Chill & Unwind
You can find out more about healing holidays wellness offering and retreats here.
To find out more about our Cornwall luxury Pilates retreats, click here
How Pilates Transformed my life
From a wheel chair user, as a result of ME, hyper mobility, exhaustion and pain to being a Pilates regular...and NOW our brand new Soul teacher! Meet Jenny!
"Being told in your mid 20s that you will be in horrendous pain every day for the rest of your life and most likely need to use a wheelchair/ scooter for most of it is absolutely soul destroying, I struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks when I went out...until I found Pilates"
Jenny truly is a real testament to how and why Pilates can be such a transformative exercise, whether you are suffering with Chronic Pain or just exhaustion from everyday life, it really can transform the way you move, think and live!
To celebrate Jenny joining the Soul Pilates team as our latest expert, we wanted to share Jenny's amazing story....from when she started Pilates, the struggles she faced with hyper mobility and after her diagnosis of ME all the way through to where she is now - moving well, feeling great, managing her exhaustion and living her best life as a full time Pilates teacher!
Why did you start Pilates?
I first started Pilates partly out of curiosity to have a play on the equipment, and also something that was gentle enough on my chronically ill body and where I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable needing to stop or being able to speak up and say I’m struggling. I’d done yoga in the past but being hyper mobile allowed me to cheat into appearing that I could do it well, whilst having no strength in my body and not really gaining anything from it.
Tell us a little about your diagnosis of ME and where you were?
I got diagnosed with ME when I was 23, after years of constant exhaustion, I then had a minor car accident a year later which exacerbated the fatigue and caused a lot of pain and tension in my body. Being told in your mid 20s that you will be in horrendous pain every day for the rest of your life and most likely need to use a wheelchair/ scooter for most of it is absolutely soul destroying, I struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks when I went out. Plus there were the practical aspects of not being able to work full time, look after myself and a home, being seen as lazy for having an invisible illness and missing out on life when all your friends are living theirs. It was hard to say the least!
Tell us a little about your journey with starting Pilates
I started Pilates in 2018 with a few 1-1s which I found really beneficial for understanding my body and that it is different to those around me, being hypermobile too and always hearing cues in any movement classes I’ve done before are always about stretching and finding more mobility, I didn’t realise these are the opposite of what my body needs!
After a few 1-1s I started going to Nic’s Thursday evening equipment classes every week, these became a place of fun, support, a weekly catch up with some familiar faces each week, just a place of nourishment for my soul! I’d start noticing that I could bring awareness to my body and live in harmony with it, understand it better and not fight it so much, slowly I could see myself getting stronger, some weeks I’d go back to an exercise I couldn’t do a few weeks before and all of a sudden I could do it! This felt fantastic! Throughout lockdown I had more time to focus on myself and wellbeing, and doing a few classes a week on zoom was great to keep up my practise and sense of normality seeing familiar faces and really building on what I’d learnt before. These weekly classes honestly kept me going through those hard months.
At Soul I love that the teachers listen to how you are feeling on that day and adapt the class plans to it. Pilates is great for learning about your body and its patterns, its a calm and gentle environment where you’re listened to and it is also great fun! I never regret going to a class, I always leave feeling more energised and often taller!
What has Pilates taught you?
Pilates has taught me that everything is interconnected, there is a reason a lot of classes start with breathwork - it gets us out of the "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous system and into the "rest and digest" parasympathetic nervous system, this helps me in day to day life when I’m feeling stressed.
Pilates has taught me the power of being present and tuning into myself. It has enabled me to take responsibility for my health and wellbeing, I’m cheating nobody but myself by ignoring my body’s messages or feeding it rubbish! One of the key things I’ve really appreciated with the Soul Pilates approach is that they really let you have permission to listen to your body. You can’t expect your body to feel the same at the same time every week, so why do we treat it that way?
What has Pilates given you...
Pilates has given me permission to stop and listen to my body, to go at my own pace- I no longer ignore those gut feelings when something doesn’t feel right. As a result I’m in a much happier, stable and peaceful place in my life now. As Joseph Pilates would say, "I have found that vigour and zest for life"
Jenny will be available for 1:1s at our Queen Square studio, and will be running our Pilates Equipment Circuits class on Monday
Get in touch HERE to find out more and book a session.
How to create your own self-care sanctuary
Now more than ever, we're starting to understand the importance daily self-care can have on our physical and mental wellbeing. If you want to bring some more TLC into your daily routine, Margo Marrone — co-founder of all-natural skincare brand The Organic Pharmacy —shares her top tips on creating your very own self-care sanctuary at home.
Self-care can mean different things to different people: whether it’s Pilates, journaling, or pampering yourself with your favourite skincare products, taking time for things that bring you joy can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health. Here's how to create dedicated sanctuary spaces in your home and make this daily self-care easier and more achievable.
Emotional escape rooms
According to Pinterest Predicts, one of the biggest wellness trends to emerge in 2022 was the 'emotional escape room'. These designated spaces in our homes can be anything from a quiet, cosy reading nook, a small space for morning yoga, or a full-blown rage room: whatever feels like the best form of self-care to you.
While not everyone has the luxury of a spare room to use for emotional escape, you can always isolate part of an existing room and create a space dedicated to unwinding and decompressing after a long day. For example, sectioning part of a room off with a divider or sheer curtain can give the feeling of a separate space without making any permanent, expensive changes. Having this physical separation can give you a better distinction between work and leisure time, which is especially important if you work or study from home and need a space to help you to switch off at the end of the day.
We all know the countless benefits that physical movement can have on our wellbeing, and so a great way to incorporate more self-care into your home life is to create a dedicated exercise space. You don't need a home gym to get a good workout in, either: a space big enough to roll out a yoga mat is often all you need. Whether you get into Pilates, HIIT workouts, or invest in a small set of weights, getting a good sweat in is one of the best ways to look after yourself.
However, physical self-care can also come in the form of some pampering. Your bathroom might be the place where you feel most relaxed and the place you go to get away from it all, so in a way it may already be your emotional escape room. If so, why not treat yourself to some extra homeware items like scented candles, houseplants, and essential oil diffusers to create an extra relaxing, inviting atmosphere?
Even something small like buying a new fluffy robe to wear when applying skincare or hair masks can help your bathroom feel like your own personal spa. Take the time at the end of each day to remove your makeup, take a soothing bath, and use your favourite beauty products, and you'll notice just how much difference it can have on the way you feel.
Maintaining our emotional wellbeing is a lifelong process that often isn't made enough of a priority. However, we can't function well in our jobs, relationships, or anything else without taking time to nurture our mental health. It's therefore crucial to recognise what makes us feel better when we're stressed or anxious, and make more space for it in our busy schedules. This might be hobbies like painting, playing music, cooking, or simply spending time with your loved ones — whatever brings you a sense of calm and joy, try to create a space in your home with the right equipment that allows you to do it.
For example, if you're a bookworm who loves enjoying a great novel, choose a quiet corner of your house with a comfortable chair (perhaps by a window for some fresh air and light) and make this the space where you settle down to read with a cup of herbal tea. Alternatively, if you find journaling an effective way of working through your thoughts and feelings, keep a dedicated notepad in this nook so you always have a specific place to turn when you feel overwhelmed.
Your home should be the place where you feel the most calm, relaxed, and content amid the chaos of everyday life. And while creating separate rooms or spaces in your house can be a great way to structure more self-care into your day, it's equally rewarding to find joy in the little things. Sometimes, these can bring us more happiness and contentment than we realise.
For example, decorating your house with pieces of art or trinkets collected from special holidays or gifted by your loved ones can bring you joy simply by looking at them every day. Or, if you're a green thumb, growing a collection of flowers and houseplants can be a great way of bringing some of the great outdoors into your home. Watering, feeding, and repotting your favourite plants can be so therapeutic and they help to add colour and brightness to any room.
Taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing has never been more important, so why not turn your home into your own personal self-care sanctuary? For more tips on health, wellbeing, and exercise, be sure to check out the articles on our blog.
From Chronic Pain diagnosis to Pilates Teacher...
1. Explain your reason for starting Pilates
I started Mat Pilates classes at the local village hall after the birth of my second baby back in April 2014. The recovery after my 1st baby had been very difficult, with lots of back and pelvic pain so I wanted to make sure that I could help manage my recovery a little differently 2nd time around. The teacher was amazing, very supportive and gave lots of post-natal modifications for me, I was completely hooked!
2. How did your diagnosis impact your physical and mental health?
When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2016, I honestly felt like my life was over. I’d had gone from being an active mother of two boys to being unable to move or walk properly in the short space of 4 weeks!
My knees, hips and ankles were swollen and inflamed and my body stuck in a forward hunched position, I was unable to dress myself, so my husband had to dress me. My fingers and wrists were swollen and inflamed and stuck in a flexed claw like position which meant I couldn't cut up my own food or hold a hot drink in my hands. I had to have a tippy cup for hot liquids to stop me spilling it all over myself and getting burned.
My children at that time were aged 4 just starting school and 2 years old, I was unable to physically pick them up or dress them or even cuddle them, every little touch or knock on my body felt like a surge of immense pain and felt like my joints were on fire. I was in a constant state of distress, pain, fatigue and intense irritability and fear of a life maybe in a wheelchair with a lifelong disability.
I couldn’t bear to think about the future, I think looking back this was one of the lowest points in my life, second to that of losing my Mum. To quote Matt Haig "The best thing about rock bottom is the rock part. You discover the solid bit of you. The bit that can't be broken down further. The thing that you might sentimentally call a soul. At our lowest we find the solid ground of our foundation. And we can build ourselves anew"
Looking back being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 5 years ago was a catalyst for change.
3. Explain your journey with Pilates, from starting to where you are now
After a few years of attending Mat Pilates classes at the village hall I did my 1st 1:1 session with Nic at Soul Pilates in Feb 2016! I absolutely loved it and realised I wanted to teach this type of Pilates too, so in April 2016 I secured a place to do fully comprehensive Pilates teacher training the following year. Unfortunately, at this time in September 2016 I became very ill with diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis,
It was a very distressing and scary time for me and my family but somehow I still kept going to classes at Soul Pilates even when I couldn’t walk properly, I’d somehow shuffle up the stairs to classes, even though any movement was challenging, mentally I would feel that little bit more clarity and a calm wash over me, I’d have a sense of more space within my body and for that hour a little less pain, I felt like I had some control over this awful disease.
I remember the 1st time I saw my rheumatology physiotherapist early 2017 his words were, ‘I am amazed! you’ve done all the hard work already’ It made me realise that training to become a teacher was not only going to help me physically and mentally for the rest of my life but I could use my knowledge to inspire others and help them navigate the complexities of chronic illness.
I started my teacher training full time in September 2017 and qualified in June 2018. Since then, it has been an incredible journey, in the early days it was a challenge as I was still navigating and learning to live with RA getting used to the various medications, I spent a lot of time at hospitals for various appointments. But getting to do Pilates regularly helped alleviate the anxiety around these changes. I’ve constantly grown as a teacher and delved even deeper into the restorative power and possibilities of pilates alongside other movement methods. Every day I learn something new, I’ve become stronger, gained more flexibility and increased the range in my joints. Pain has become less and less over the years with the joint and fatigue ‘flares’ becoming further apart. As of two months ago I am now officially in remission from RA, with that I am slowly starting to reduce the medications I take.
I honestly believe that if I hadn’t found Pilates this would have been impossible.
4. Do you have any words of motivation or encouragement for those reading this who might be experiencing adversity or nervous about starting Pilates?
I think the 1st word of encouragement would be that the studios at soul are a safe environment for you to be supported in, we will always hold a space for you to be heard so you feel listened to and understood. For those who are nervous, scared, or fearful: the beauty of Pilates is that there are so many ways of making it accessible to everyone, it will be completely individual to you and your needs.
You will be in the hands of very knowledgeable skilled teachers who are empathetic, kind, and mindful to all your needs both physically and mentally.
Making that appointment for a 1:1 is a small step to take but the rewards could potentially change your life for the better.
5. What has Pilates taught you about how you approach your health & wellbeing
I feel incredibly grateful that I managed to find Pilates, it has been a gateway to many more areas of opportunity. It has allowed me to connect with other amazing people/teachers/practitioners who have helped me to find a way to positively influence and change my entire life.
From sleeping well to moving well, my diet and nutrition, how to breathe, how to rest, how to find stillness, to be curious and want to learn and discover more about myself and the human body …. the list is endless. But most important of all Pilates not only has given me my physical health back but it has given me the space and awareness and the ability to look after my own mental health to unpick and understand, grief, trauma, loss, complex emotions of many years prior and how that impacted on my physical being and whole health.
Ultimately it has allowed me to rebuild myself both in mind and body.
It's Small Business Saturday and firstly we want to thank you for supporting us, a small business, via your commitment to your body. We also want to celebrate some amazing local businesses we just love here on the Gloucester Road.
So read on for our short guide to just a few of the stores we love on the Gloucester Road.
Icon Beauty - a gorgeous salon with top treatments and the only Bristol salon stocking the amazing vegan skin care range by Estime & Sens! (image from Icon Beauty)
Wild Leaf - I mean Pilates + Plants is life right? We just love the lay out and variety of this store and a great place to pick up a Christmas gift!
Jack the Falafel - a new lunch go to. This independent vegan cafe serves homemade curries, falafels and cakes and vegan chai drinks! Plus they are giving our member 10% this month! Just show them your membership on the app or the email to get your discount!
The Sofa Project - SOFA Project is a reuse, recycling and rehabilitation charity selling great quality second-hand furniture, appliances and homewares.
Spicer&Cole - for our daily brownie habit at both our City Centre & Bishopston studio!
The Rambling Rose - our go to for bouquets and perfect for an bespoke, beautiful Christmas Wreath!
Grape & Grind - We of course love La Vignoble, but when shopping local on the Gloucester Road this specialist in wine, beer, spirits and coffee store is a great place to pick up some unusual wines and coffees.
Better Food - A fabulous new addition to the Gloucester Road! This independent Bristol retailer is an Aladdins cave of delicious organic, local and ethical food and products
Future Leap - A sustainable business hub offering co-working spaces and events spaces alongside some amazing retail products! An exhibition space with futuristic green technologies and sustainability services, including a sustainable lifestyle shop.
1 - The ethos that runs through our studio means that a Pilates class with us is not just a workout. It's mindfulness, meditation, strength building, toning and rehabing those aches and pains all rolled into one powerful class. Now that's an efficient use of one hour!
2 - Our unique approach not only trains the body but, we think, more importantly retrains the nervous system. This allows the body to feel more at ease physically and mentally not just in class but in life. Because more ease and efficiency means improved mental health, more tone in your body, improved digestion and less pain.
3 - If you have ever seen a chiro, osteopath or physical therapist, then know that our approach is going to take your rehab to the next level. Literally training your body to move differently so it doesn't go back into pain. We work with everyone from those with aches and pains to Consultants referring into us for post surgery rehab. Because if you keep moving the same way, you will keep needing to be re-aligned. Soul Pilates will teach your body and nervous system to move better every day.
4 - Improved Mental Health - whist our clients see and feel the difference in their bodies very quickly, the benefit they most often cite from Soul Pilates is their improved mental health. Our approach means you're going to be so focused on your body and breath that you will create more space in your mind in a similar way to a meditation session, all while working the body too.
5 - Suitable for everyBODY - our approach means we work with people from literally every spectrum of life. In our 1:1s we work with clients with disabilities, post stroke, those with degenerative conditions and everything in between. So you can be sure no matter where you're starting from you will not be too old, too unfit or too nervous to start at Soul. Our approach is about teaching individuals so everyone and everyBODY feels supported and nurtured to feel its absolute best.
Unsure of where to start? Or if Reformer is right for you? Then book into a free consultation call with the team to discuss your needs and how Reformer can work for you.
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I have had so many messages via Instagram lately asking me for advice on using our classes to support their recovery from illness, especially post Covid. Maybe you want to move but you don't have much energy yet, so what do you do?
I think the thing to remember if that movement is always going to help you to feel better, so long as you do something which works with, and not against, your body. So please listen, and tune in and don't push through how you're feeling right now. If you fall asleep mid-class then that is totally ok!
So here are my suggestions of a couple of shorter classes from our sister site MoveBetter.TV that I think will support you with feeling more in touch with your body again so that it begins to heal from the inside out and your nervous system can feel restored and your immune system boosted once again.
YOU CAN TRY THEM FREE FOR 14-DAYS by signing up at www.movebetter.tv/joinus
35mins Grounding Class with a Focus on Breath
This class will really help you feel restored and relaxed.
30mins Lengthening Class
This short class feels so delicious on your body.
I had a breast reduction at 19. My boobs were massive by the time I was 13 / 14. I gave up sprinting and long-jumping along with any hope of wearing pretty tops and pretty bras. My shoulders hurt and my back constantly ached from standing. So by the time I was 19 I decided I had had enough. The boobs were going and my life would begin again. Running and strapless tops here I come.
Then I was in a car accident. I got whiplash. The proper type. Not the claim blame type which just goes away. I had severe shoulder pain. I spent a year in physio working on my shoulder. I ran out of credits with my insurance company who insisted I see a specialist. I turned up only to find I was seeing a neurologist. I was so embarrassed. “I think there’s been a mix up, I’ve hurt my shoulder and just need you to sign off some more physio sessions I said”. He spent some time looking at me and then told me “there’s nothing wrong with your shoulder, it’s your neck. You’ve damaged a facet joint but it’s so minimal you won’t see anything on a scan which is why it wasn’t picked up but it’s impinging a nerve as this is giving you the pain in your shoulder and the tingling in your hand.”
This was the first time I started to appreciate that where you feel the pain isn’t always what is causing the pain.
I started seeing a Pain Specialist, had some injections into my neck which helped a little and then told they could “burn” the nerve to stop it firing which didn’t sound so helpful to me. “It wasn’t that bad” I told myself. I can live with this.
A few years later I fell running for a train. I wasn’t drunk I promise. I hurt my ankle and was then told I needed surgery to repair it. I had the surgery and whilst it was technically repaired I had exactly the same pain post surgery as pre. I did my physio, did a lot of Pilates (this was all before I trained as a teacher) and told myself that “well this is as good as it gets” and got on with it.
I then decided to train as an instructor with Polestar Pilates who are the most wonderful training body. The level of detail they go into really is astounding. It’s very rehab based but you realise very quickly that really everyone has some sort of rehab need. And that rehab is really just about making your body work better, be more efficient so it’s pain free.
This is when everything changed. I learned myself that we are not meant to be in pain. That it’s not something you’re supposed to just put up with. That you can change it. You can feel better.
Now let me make this clear. Pain is a very big topic and I’m not pretending to cover everything off here. But here are the things I find myself saying time and time again to my clients.
The LANGUAGE you use to describe your body affects how it feels
The language you use about yourself really matters when it comes to pain. Your “bad leg” will always be “bad” if you label it as that. Your “painful shoulder” will be in pain and your “weak ankle” will always stay weak. And of course we have the “bad back”…well…
Change the way you talk about your body and it will change the way it behaves.
Chronic pain is often linked to your emotions
This is not to say it’s not real. It’s very real. Your body is a system of communication and it’s always communicating with you about how it feels both on a physical level but also about your relationships, careers, lifestyle etc. The you don’t listen it shouts. And shouting is pain.
I have worked extensively in rehabilitating people with long term pain and I would say nearly every time we get to a point where someone realises that instead of “I just put the bins out and my back went” actually “my mum died suddenly around the same time” and the penny drops.
We store our emotions in our body. And when you get an area moving which hasn’t moved in a while, because it’s been holding on or keeping everything inside, then you might feel emotional and notice a memory that you had blocked out.
So understand that pain isn’t always a pathology. It can often begin with a life event and later become a pathology such as a bulging disc.
A PAIN-FREE MOVEMENT experience is literally the best medicine
This is well documented. If you can move in a way which is pain free then your nervous system starts to recalibrate. Because often long term pain can be more about the pain receptors being heightened than anything physical. A pain-free movement experience starts to retrain the body as to what is possible.
Surgery often doesn’t always FIX the pain
I have worked with so many people over the years who’ve had surgery and, like me, afterwards said, “I don’t really feel pain free and I expected to”. This is because you had a movement pattern that caused the issue. Maybe the way you walk led to compression in your spine which cause you to prolapse a disc. You had surgery to remove the disc and fuse the spine. The problem was removed right? Wrong! You still move the exactly same way only now you’re putting pressure on the disc above or below the one you had removed. So now another area is inflamed.
As well as any surgery you must learn to move with ease, un-learning any bad habits and re-learning efficient ones.
In fact the best results I’ve ever seen from surgery are when a client has come in before surgery to work on improving their movement patterns so they can much more quickly feel the befit of their surgery.
Your body can literally do ANYTHING
Our posture isn’t fixed. We’re not born with it. It changes throughout our life and can continue to change. Our brains are equally plastic and continue to be shaped through out life depending on our experiences.
We have the power to shift everything.
Master the EASE
In terms of movement, learning to move with ease, mastering the basic strategies with utter efficiency is the key to being able to get stronger and fitter without injury and pain. When you meet restrictions in your movement this is exactly where you need to be. If you get stuck on your roll up, spend time on the "stuck" section rather than just giving up because you can't do it. Unless you have been told you shouldn’t do something by a medical professional often it’s the lack of movement in an area where you’re going to get the most benefit when you learn to move it.
I spent 3 years trying to extend backwards over the ladder barrel in the studio. Spine extension was so painful for me with my injury but I kept working on the strategies I needed and one day I realised I was ready to attempt it again and it felt easy. It still feels easy 8 years later.
I promise you that this approach will last you a lifetime. But that also means it's not a quick fix. It takes time but it's well worth it.
LOWER BACK PAIN is often caused by the wrong muscles working too hard
Let go of the “I must do more to sort out my back” approach. The truth is lower back pain is often caused by your global muscles doing too much and your local muscles not doing enough. Pilates is all about getting the local muscles to do their thing, not just in class but in life. Any active engaging will only ever work the global muscles. You want the subtly in movement.
This is going to be your life long friend.
I started Pilates in my 20s following a car accident which left me with severe chronic neck pain which lasted years. After seeing several specialists and pain management consultants and a lot of lying inside MRI machines, I found Pilates and instantly fell in love with how it made me feel. In fact it was the only thing which removed my pain completely and also toned me up (I dropped 2 dress sizes) and gave me mental clarity like no other workout. I decided to train as an instructor and now 15 years later I own two Pilates studios in Bristol, England and our wonderful online community MoveBetterTV where we bring movement into your homes in our unique way.
What I love most about being an instructor is that you never know everything about the body. There is always more being discovered and therefore more to learn. I find it fascinating and have spent thousands training with some of the best movement and anatomy experts in the land to really understand how our bodies work and how to get the most of them while keeping them pain free. A lot of what I learned really went against everything that was being said to me in most movement classes, everything I read online and really goes against the grain of the fitness industry in general.
I don’t ‘engage' my core (or my glutes)
This is a HUGE one for me. Let me explain: Our body is the most amazingly complex system that does all this ‘stuff’ without you ever consciously thinking about it. In fact this subconscious thinking is the key here. When you walk, you don’t tell each and every muscle to engage and release. You just walk. So why then do we think that the only way to get our abdominals muscles working is to engage them? Our brains literally don't have this conscious connection in this way. We don’t know exactly which part of your core to engage, or by how much. So when you “engage your core” (this goes for ANY muscle in the body) you literally stiffen it, shorten it and actually start training hypertension into your core. When in fact what you want are muscles which know exactly when to engage, when to release, when to be short, when do be long. And to do this you have to ALLOW your muscles to do their job by putting yourself into the correct position. When you’re in the correct position your core will do its thing, your glutes will fire. I hear so many people telling me that they’ve been told they’ve got weak glutes and do lots of glute exercises only to find they still don’t fire when they run. Because the issue is not that they don’t engage or are weak and need strengthening. The AREN’T engaging because your movement pattern is out.
So let me sum this up: Put your bones in the right place and your muscles will do their thing, in exactly the way they were designed. You just need to allow them to.
Actively engaging leads to stiffness, shortness and this puts a huge amount of pressure on the lower back. Pulling in your core when walking around does not reduce your back pain. It is probably causing it.
Seriously don’t do it. But yes do get a strong core! Just in a functional way.
I don’t push myself to breaking point
I was recently chatting to our wonderful manager Dani (she’s also a totally awesome PT) about a client of hers who had talked about how her pain was holding her back in her trianing and made her feel like a failure and it brought me right back to a time when I had felt exactly the and I literally nearly cried thinking about it.
Before I was an instructor I used to do a lot of boot camp type classes. You know the type you’re supposed to be when you want to tone up, loose weight and get fit. The type which push you to your limits so you can see what you’re capable of. But the thing is I had severe nerve pain originating from my neck which ran all the way through my left shoulder and down onto my arm.
I would keep pushing in class, my arm would be screaming at me to stop and I would literally hear “push through the pain” shouted at me. I would end up in tears feeling like an utter failure at my inability to push through whatever I was supposed to push through.
But I wasn’t a failure. My body was literally shouting at me. It knew, for whatever reason, that what I was doing was not right for me in that moment.
It’s important to recognise if you’re just being lazy and need a bit of a (gentle) push OR if your body is telling you it’s unhappy. And there could be a lot of reasons why it’s unhappy but that’s a topic for another day. I'm currently doing Our 10-Day Challenge and woah it's pushing me for sure: cardiovascularly, muscularly YES. But pain? Absolutely not - well apart from the sore muscles the next day which ease off with a bit of stretching.
I stopped thinking it needed to be hard to be any good
Carrying on from number 2, through Pilates I learned to train ease into my body. To find efficiency in my body.
The Pilates classes I attended felt more like massages then workouts but somehow I noticed that I got stronger and leaner than I had ever done from working out 4 times a week AND my pain literally disappeared. I mean it actually went. I cannot stress how many specialists I had seen and was left believing that this was my lot.
What I learned is that pain is never something you should just live with but that you need to really create efficiency in your body before you can push it to its limits. So that pushing becomes a challenge not just something which is “hard”. Because if it’s “hard” it’s probably because you can’t do it. And if you can’t do it, what are you training into your body?
Think of your body like a car. We service a car so it runs smoothly and can therefore manage journeys with ease. If the suspension was a bit out your car would wear out quicker. Your body is exactly the same. You need to service it with efficient movement training so it learns to run smoothly then when you had extra load, speed your movement up, challenge with a lack of support, you’re doing it on a machine which is running smoothly. Which won’t wear out. Which won’t scream at you.
When I opened my physical Soul Pilates studios, and now our online offering MoveBetter.TV, I wanted to teach everyone who came through our physical or metaphorical doors what I had been taught over the previous 5 years. Because this literally changed my life and I wanted to share this with everyone so they could feel as good as I did.
I often say “my Pilates training changed my life” and people assume it’s because I left the corporate rat race of marketing to become a Pilates teacher and studio owner. But this is not what I mean.
Literally my Pilates training change my life. It changed the way I viewed my body, my chronic pain, my work-life, my home-life, my relationships. It brought me to a place I never even knew existed. And this is what I wanted to do for other people: to teach and guide like I was taught and guided.
Because through my practice I realised that pretty much everything I had been brought up to believe was actually not true.
In a nutshell, DO LESS TO ACHIEVE MORE. Especially in movement and absolutely in life.
This is the ethos that seeps into everything we offer on this platform. We want every experience with us to leave you feeling amazing with more knowledge of your body from every class and a calmer mind which is ready to deal with anything life throws at it.
So here are my top tips to feeling great every day.
1 - Let the easy things be EASY.
This is the one which can trigger the most people because it goes against the grain of a way many of us live our lives. We are literally conditioned to believe that nothing comes without an enormous effort. 'No pain no gain' whether that’s in studying or exercise or life.
Through movement I really learned how I could feel so much better in my life. Instead of looking to find the burn in a class and thinking that that was the goal, I thought about “how can I make this feel as easy as possible”. If it feels easy does that mean the muscles aren’t working as hard? NO! In fact they are working just as they should, just as they were designed. And you still have something left in the tank to give. You’re not always using up every ounce of effort when exercising. If my movement is constantly taking me to my edges then is it any wonder that my nervous system feels burned out, anxious and stressed?
The truth is (and this is science, not just my opinion) that your body needs to find ease so that it doesn’t burn itself out doing the simple tasks in life. When you train ease into your body and your nervous system, you learn that the simple things are simple. Then you have more left in the tank to give, so you're working with your energy and not forcing it when it’s not there.
2 - DON’T engage your core.
Please don’t. There is this huge narrative out there that you should walk around actively engaging your core and your glutes to have a good posture. And in a class you should actively engage your core, or any muscle really if you want to ‘work’ it.
Well let me make this clear. This is simply not true.
Our body is the most wonderfully complex system. It knows when to engage and when to relax when you allow it to. We don’t control every muscle in our body so why should we think we need to do this with our tummy? And if you constantly engage it, you’re actually creating more stiffness (hello lower back pain) and less function.
Plus you’re telling your nervous system you want to override the system (you know the one it’s so awesome at no computer has ever been able to replicate) and constantly hold on. Using muscles when they’re not needed. Constantly having a system turned on is like leaving the lights on when you’ve gone to bed. It’s not needed and uses up energy unnecessarily.
How many muscles are you holding onto unnecessarily?
A big “ah ha” moment in class are when a client sees a holding pattern they’ve never noticed. Something they’ve probably done for years. Because a big part of Pilates is about undoing a lot of old patterns and learning more efficient ways to move.
Because no matter how often you might see a massage therapist, osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist, and they put you right, if you keep moving the same way you keep running into the same problems. You have to learn to move differently to make a change that lasts. And this approach literally lasts for a lifetime.
3 - Women aren’t the same every day. Work with your cycle and learn when it wants restorative movement and when it’s ready to pump and glow.
A man’s hormonal cycle is 24-hours long. A man is the same every day. Well hormonally anyway. Whereas a woman’s is 28-days (or whatever your cycle is) long.
A woman is not the same hormonally or energetically every day.
When you tune into your energy depending on where in your cycle you are, you will see that some days (usually around ovulation) you are super energetic and this is a great time to try a Pilates Cardio class or go for a longer run. Whereas other times (usually around your period) you are low on energy and should rest or do something really restorative. When you start to acknowledge this you really start working with and not against your body. Understanding that the ebb and flow of our energy is a natural part of being a woman.
4 - Let go of the word “SHOULD”
Should has to be the dirtiest word in the dictionary. Well maybe just in terms of feeling burned out!
“I should do a workout”, “I should go here”, “I should do this” - the should is your body’s way of saying “I could this, BUT I really don’t feel like it”. Start to recognise when you’re pushing a “should” onto a body which is saying “I could but I’d rather do something else ”. This will stop you feeling burned out and leave you far more able to meet the right challenges for you and your body right now.
5 - If it’s HARD it’s because you can’t do it.
We are conditioned to believe that nothing good comes unless it’s hard, especially when it comes to exercise. I would argue that if something is truly hard it’s because you can’t do it. And if you can’t do it you have to ask what are you training into your body? Instead look to find appropriate challenges.
A strategy you’ve mastered and now feels easy? Then increase the load, or reduce the support so that your body can meet the challenge. This will support your nervous system understanding balance. And it’s a balanced nervous system which allows you to feel… balanced!
6 - Train your body to feel how you WANT TO FEEL.
Think of exercise as a life training. Less of forcing it into a shape and more about using movement and exercise as a way of creating the way you want your body to feel. Strong but comfortable. Energetic but at ease. Always having something left in the tank so when life throws your a curve ball you’re ready and able. Simply having a different intention in your workouts will have a huge effect on your energetic being.
Because here is an absolute truth. When you focus on this, your body will move in this direction too. Feel good on the side, look good on the outside. Feel strong on the inside, look visibly strong on the outside. Feel calm and centred, live a life which is calm and centred.
7 - READINESS TENSION is something you might not know you’re carrying.
Are you always ready for anything that might happen? I mean it might not happen but you’re ready if it does? Is this you?
Well this readiness tension is something that creeps into your body and into your fascia. It fatigues you before you’ve done anything. And if that “thing” did come along you’d be less able to deal with it.
Spend time finding stillness, be that as true stillness such as meditation, or as stillness in movement (yes that’s really what our Pilates classes are all about) so you training ease and not holding on, into your system
Our MoveGB partnership, and those of you who attend our classes through its membership, has been a long-standing part of our Soul family for over five years.
We have been a premium partner of Move and have worked with them from the beginning to find the best ways for you all to move with us on your memberships in every one of our classes. MoveGB members are a big part of our family (about half of you) but there have been quite sudden and impactful changes made at MoveGB that has sadly forced us (and many other studios) to reassess our partnership with them.
We appreciate that many of you use MoveGB not only to attend Soul but also other locations in Bristol. We’ve always wanted to help our clients enjoy all the movement activities they love to do, which is why being part of MoveGB felt like a natural extension of our ethos.
Two days after lockdown began, MoveGB announced a radical and immediate change to the model they use to pay us (and every other Bristol studio) for classes you attend. This wiped out a huge proportion of our income (70% less than what they previously paid us) which in turn has impacted what we are able to pay our teachers. For every class a MoveGB member attends, our teachers now earn less than if that person had booked directly with us.
I cannot tell you how painful this news was. Not only was it a huge enforced change, but one that came with very little notice, impacting not just Soul but also our teachers, all during one of the most challenging periods our industry has ever seen.
Unfortunately, this is not a short-term change for the duration of the lockdown. MoveGB has made this is a permanent change to their terms, which means that it not only affects the current virtual classes, but also the physical studios once we reopen.
In fairness to MoveGB, this change only brings Bristol in-line with the other UK cities it operates in. Whilst the unexpectedness and immediacy of the change has been difficult, I acknowledge that Bristol has benefited for many years from being MoveGB's pilot city and that the original model it has supported in Bristol over that time is no longer sustainable.
The reason I am telling you this now is that in order to keep our physical studios running, our teachers paid fairly and you moving better, there will be changes to the way MoveGB members can access our services when classes resume at the physical studios.
When we reopen the studio spaces, MoveGB members will no longer be able to attend our Equipment or Reformer classes via MoveGB. We pride ourselves on teaching small, tailored classes and their new model simply is not viable for a specialised studio such as ours if we are to be paid less than half of what we previously received per attendance.
For our Mat-based classes in the studio, there will be a limited number of spots made available for certain classes each week.
This means that if you want to continue attending a favourite class, you will need to book directly with Soul when we reopen.
We know this may be a step away from how you're used to accessing Soul through MoveGB, which is why we wanted to give you notice ahead of the studios opening again.
At that point, in addition to our normal class passes, we will be launching a new series of exciting Soul memberships to provide a variety of options to suit different budgets, ranging from £69 to £199. These will enable you to access a range of your favourite classes, supported by our new online offering, and we hope these memberships will allow you to still enjoy your Soul experience outside of MoveGB.
Once we know when our classes can resume we will launch these memberships to buy online. In the meantime, there is no immediate change to what MoveGB members can access whilst we operate an online-only timetable.
Whilst we have been busy adapting, we have also been busy evolving something that I have had in planning for a while. “My Soul Studio” is a brand new online offering designed to help you move more and at more flexible times from the comfort of your own home.
Think more Soul classes, more of your favourite teachers, more movement options and more times to suit your schedules, all combined with access to our physical studio classes.
So watch this space for more information coming very soon!
We have lots of look forward to and I am hoping we can move, laugh and feel great together really soon.
A dynamic one hour workout which is great for helping you get out of your mind and into your body. This class focuses on pelvic stability and ease, pelvic floor strengthening, functional movement and strength.
A great class for all levels but especially good for those with any pelvic floor dysfunction, those working post-natally (like Nic who's baby is 4 months old at the time of filming!), and those who want to improve their posture, release the hips and strengthen the deep core muscles. This is one of those classes which ticks a LOT of boxes!
This class was filmed as part of our live virtual classes which you can book via our website.
For more classes like this please visit www.mysoul.studio.
Here, at Soul Pilates, we are aware that keeping our team hydrated will aid them to perform at their very best throughout the work day.
As a result, we decided to invest in a water cooler from AquAid.
Our unique relationship with AquAid has also given our company the opportunity to help those less fortunate than ourselves, because with each purchase an automatic donation is made to the Africa Trust.
These funds are used to build ‘Elephant Pumps’ - a modified version of an age old Chinese rope pulley system. One such pump is currently being installed in Africa on our behalf and it will be a much needed source of clean and fresh drinking water for many.
Our organisation’s name will be proudly displayed on our well and we look forward to adding a photo and letters of thanks from the villagers to our site in the near future.
To date AquAid have built over 8,000 such Elephant Pumps across parts of Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; and have donated in excess of £16 million to charity.
Runity (Pain-free Running) coach and Pilates teacher Nic takes you through a dynamic warm up routine which is great to get your body prepared for running and reduce the risk of injury.
We've been really missing the reformer and Pilates equipment during lockdown so we've been working really hard to create a new virtual class bringing you all that you love from the reformer into your home.
Like many studios we've moved online during lockdown. Find out about our approach to classes and 1:1s and how we can help you keep moving as well as calm and connected in your mind and body.
At Soul we want you to experience more than simply exercises so that you feel empowered, connected and at ease in your body.
Studio Founder Nic talks about the difference in a Pilates class and a 1:1 to help you understand which might be right for you.
Welcome to the world of Virtual classes with Soul! We will be coming to you via the power of Zoom which is a web-based video technology that lets us see each other via our cameras on a computer, tablet or phone. Here are some tips to help you have a really great class experience so that you get the most out of your session.
It is really simple to set up so that we can see you (if you’re happy with this, you don’t have to) and you can see and hear us!
You Home Studio Set Up
Do try to place your device in a way so we can see all of you on your mat. This might not be possible but if it is, it will allow us to teach you in as close to the way as we do in the studio. We may not be physically with you or able to do hands on correction but we will want to ensure you’re moving with precision and we can only do that if we can see you! So side on is best where possible but don’t worry if it isn’t!
Do take the time to get into your class 5 minutes ahead of the start time. This will give you plenty of time to test your set up, and ask the teacher for help if you’re having problems. We will do our best to help you where needed, hopefully this guide will do that for you! And as we do more of this, it will become easier each time.
We will be recording the class so if you can’t join or had any issues you can email us to share the link which is valid for 72 hours.
Joining your Virtual Class
If you book direct with us, you will receive your link as soon as you book your class. It will also appear in the reminder email which is sent out 1 day prior to your class. These emails are automated emails from MindBody and may be something you're used to ignoring so please check these for your class link! If you haven't received the link, please email us well ahead of your class time for us to check your settings on your MindBody profile to check you've opted in to received account and class notifications. You can also do this yourself by checking your details and preferences in your profile.
If you plan to view on tablet or mobile please download the Zoom app in advance, you can search in your app store or if you view https://zoom.us/download you will see the links to the android and Apple app store half way down this page.
You will need to create an account but this is free and creating an account will give you more features which are super helpful.
Make sure your Zoom name is your name so we know who you are!
Can I speak? How do I communicate with the teacher?
Zoom is a tool primarily for video conferences, so when you speak, the main view changes to be you for everyone who’s in the class. For that reason we have selected that you are muted as standard, with your video on.
You can change this but just be aware that if you speak, everyone will see you. So to make it easier can we ask you to “raise a hand” and we will unmute you, or just wave at the screen! Or you can use the chat function to ask a question. You can chat to “everyone” or just select the studio. It's really important to us that we interact with you. know where your body is at and provide you with as close to the physical interactive class experience as is possible.
Making sure you can see your teacher and not your fellow class members!
If you are on a desktop, you can click on the three dots and “pin” the the screen of the teacher, or select "speaker view". You will also see everyone in the class as part of your "gallery view" which you can move around on the screen. Do ensure that we are your main view before class starts!
On the mobile or tablet app, you can scroll through until you have the teacher in view. As you scroll you will see another option is to see everyone in the gallery. If this is all you can see then just scroll left/right until you see the virtual studio only.
If you can’t see us as the main screen do let us know via chat, and try these tips.
If you can’t hear the teacher
You may need to turn on the audio on your device which is in the bottom left corner and then ensure you’re muted!
At the end of your class
Do please let us know your thoughts by emailing us a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out out virtual class timetable here.
Look after yourselves and each other!
Nic, Studio Founder xx
As humans we’re creatures of habit and crave routine which has, for many of us, gone out of the window lately and can really have an adverse effect on your wellbeing and your mental health.
But this is where an exercise routine can really help create some structure into your day and your week.
But if you’re used to attending a gym or studio, you might be finding it hard to adjust to a home practice, especially if you’ve got kids at home, your space is limited, or you’re just lacking motivation.
By taking some time to plan ahead and to create a space which can be a sanctuary for you, is likely to have as much impact on your mental health as your physical health which has never been more needed.
For some, its worthwhile trying to keep to a similar exercise routine that you did previously. So if you did HiiT on a Tuesday at lunchtime, you might want to keep that up to provide some structure to your day and week.
Following the Government’s advice yesterday we have decided to close physically as a studio from 8pm today for an initial period of 2 weeks so we can continue to monitor the situation and ensure the safety of you, your loved ones and our teachers.
As you know, we are a detail orientated studio and we truly value your wellbeing. In times of crisis, moments of calm and space are even more important than ever. That’s why we will be moving our services online during this period of closure.
We know that a virtual platform can never fully replace the physical studio setting but we’re going to work really hard to find ways to bring the Soul Studio to life online. Before I was a Pilates teacher I was a Digital Marketing Director and I’m fully aware that this will take some time, and some trial and error, but we would love if you could come along for the ride with us and help us build something special. We want to bring our amazing Soul family online so that we can continue to laugh, connect and move well so that we feel well.
So how are we going to do this?
If you have a 1:1 booking with us already and want to trial how this would work virtually (trust me it actually works very well, we’ve done this many times before!), all you need is a mat, a space at home and your laptop, phone or tablet and wifi. We will send you a link before your booked session. And if you’d like some guidance we can walk you through your first set up over the phone!
If you wish to book a 1:1, you can do this in the normal way by clicking here and we will send you your link 15 mins before your session.
We want to ensure that the classes we offer you are as close to the real deal as we can possibly get. So this week we will be trialling a few classes online so that we can learn and adapt and then look to run a virtual class schedule next week. All you need to do is simply book into class as you normally would via MoveGB or directly on MindBody or our website and we will email you a link 15 minutes prior to your class so that you can join in.
Our teachers, where possible and where restrictions allow, will still be in the studio guiding you though some quality movement for you to do at home. The platform allows you to talk, ask questions and tell us anything you might be working through in much the same way as a physical class does.
This Week’s Virtual Class Timetable:
Wednesday 1.10pm - 2pm Pilates Matwork, all levels, with Olivia
Olivia will kick off our online programme! You can expect her usual light hearted approach to movement mixing a blend of calm with some definite muscle activation and heat!
Wednesday 6pm - BFHiiT with Claire
Claire is going to guide you through an uplifting fitness class blending the best of her Barre ad PHiiT classes, finishing with some calming meditation and yogic breathing.
Thursday 6pm - Pilates Matwork, all levels with Anthea
Anthea will provide some much needed calm and connection in her Pilates Matwork class.
Next Week you can expect a fuller online timetable plus those who join in our virtual classes will also get access to additional free content so you can continue to move at home outside of our live classes. We will also look to have a members area for us to connect and talk and we will look to provide a weekly moment of calm which you can log into watch.
In a time where we’re being asked to socially distance I hope we can all still come together and support each other, finding ways to still thrive as a community. So do please join us online this week!
We will extend all pass expiry dates indefinitely and put a pause on any monthly passes (unless you contact us to tell us otherwise so you can use this to join in our online classes).
Big love and please keep an eye out on social and your email for updates plus a link to next week’s virtual Soul Studio.
Much love and do please keep in touch!