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!
I wanted to tell you all personally what we as a studio are doing to help protect you and our staff from the recent Coronavirus outbreak.
We plan to stay open with business as usual, across both studios, unless official advice changes. So all classes ad sessions are still on and our Open Weekend in Bishopston for our new studio will continue to run as planned.
Our motto is “Move Better, Feel Better” and we truly believe this has never been more relevant than it is right now. If you are well, being sedentary, scared and in a heightened state of alert is not the greatest immune booster. So we felt it was important to still offer our services to create a calm, welcoming and safe environment to help those who can, continue to live life as close to normal as possible.
With that in mind, I wanted to reassure you of the measures we are putting in place to minimise any risk. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a bit of a cleaning obsessive anyway so most of what I am telling you here is what we’ve always done. But we’re doing more of it, and we’re also asking for you to play your part so we can work as a collective to keep moving well and feeling well.
Class Sizes & Hygiene
Love Nic, Soul Studio Founder x
What is Pilates?
Pilates was created in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates. He believed that mental and physical health are interrelated and created a method to coordinate the mind, body and spirit. He created a set of principles alongside exercises and specialist equipment to create opportunities for functional movement which he called ‘Contrology’. Over the years his work proved to be a powerful tonic to modern day life, which is becoming increasingly sedentary, and Pilates gained a reputation for physical rehabilitation alongside mental wellbeing.
At Soul Pilates, we align with the original ethos that Joseph Pilates created alongside the latest in movement science. If Joe was around today we’re sure he would constantly be striving to learn more so he could teach in greater depth, and we do too!
We run 1:1 sessions, which are predominantly used to support clients with on-going pain or health concerns, alongside small group specialist classes. We’ve gained a reputation for our excellent teaching standards which is something we’re really proud of, and as a team we are constantly learning and fascinated by the body and what it is capable of.
Our approach at Soul is to provide a mindful movement experience, as this connection of the body with the mind is a powerful medicine for many of our modern day health concerns. The power of movement constantly astounds us and our vision is to help our clients move better so they can feel better.
Pilates is endorsed by doctors, physical therapists, professional athletes and dancers around the world. Pilates is excellent for the rehabilitation of injuries and relieving chronic pain.
What is the difference between a 1:1 and a class?
Ideally we would see everyone for a 1:1 to start with, but we certainly would like to see you for a personal session if you’re currently experiencing physical discomfort, have an on-going condition (such as Parkinsons, MS), have recently had surgery or have on-going rehabilitation needs.
It can sometimes be easy to forget why you turned your passion into your career. Pilates was something which I loved so much during my career in marketing. It provided me with ease, strength and tone in my body but also space and calm in my mind. That’s why after many years as a Pilates Class regular, I decided to train with Polestar Pilates, initially just to learn more, and subsequently my love grew and I ultimately turned it into my full time career and my own studio which is soon to have 2 locations and 12 teachers.
But like many passions that you turn into your career it can be all too easy to forget the reasons why you really loved it in the first place. Luckily this never really happened for me. I have kept up my movement practice which I still love and feel inspired by, plus I get to be one of those people who really does love their job and I literally feel like I never work a day in my life. I think I get more out of teaching that my clients get out of being taught!
But every now and again I’m reminded of just how amazing the power of Pilates is and this happened just last week in a big way. Now in my 40th week of pregnancy with my second child I’m all too aware of the changes that a woman goes through during pregnancy, which whilst an amazing work of nature, doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t scream at you, sometimes a little and sometimes a LOT during those 40 weeks (or in my case a little longer!).
Have you been hearing the word ‘fascia’ bandied about as you try and get your downdog on or swim into your updog and thought ‘wtf is this teacher talking about?’
Well my friends, today is your lucky day, time for an explanation of what fascia is and why we’re all getting excited about it.
By Clare Shaw, Soul PHiiT & Soul Yoga Instructor
Pilates is an incredibly popular form of exercise that was developed in the early-1900’s, but didn’t make it over to England until the 1970’s. Since then it’s been knocking around on the fitness scene and been a constant presence in people’s workout routines.
Focusing on core strength and stability, it utilises controlled movements and breathing to build strength, coordination, balance and improve alignment.
Where did Pilates come from?
It was developed by Joseph Pilates, a German bodybuilding enthusiast who focused his life on becoming fit and healthy after a sickly childhood. He began a new approach to fitness which combined body conditioning using body weight and apparatus, such as the Reformer, which is still used in studios today! He extensively researched many different forms of exercise; from Ancient Roman exercise routines to modern day fitness, such as gymnastics, and from tai chi to meditation.
In the 1920’s Joseph Pilates opened his first studio in New York and his methods were a hit! Especially with dancers - they found it a perfect way to recover from injuries and strengthen their weak spots. It grew in popularity before being brought over to the UK where the first Pilates studio opened in London in 1970. And, as they say, the rest is history!
A beginners guide to Pilates
Hundreds of studios and venues across the UK now offer Pilates and they range in a broad spectrum of styles. Have you ever been curious to try it out? We’ve collaborated with Soul Pilates, a quality Pilates studio based in the centre of Bristol, to bring you an in-depth beginners guide to Pilates. See what it’s all about and if it’s something you would want to give a go!
Guest Post from MoveGB
Recently you may have seen adverts on prime-time TV for Versus Arthritis and thought, Arthritis that’s what old people, or isn’t it just sore fingers when it gets cold? Or maybe you didn’t think about it at all.
Well that was me up until two years ago; I have always been physically active from a young age, doing cross country running at a county level at Primary School to travelling around the world Rock climbing in my late teens and early twenties (this photo is me climbing in Thailand, and printed in a book, World Climbing by Simon Carter). Competing at a UK level in the British Indoor Climbing Championships, snowboarding, running half marathons, swimming, doing yoga. It never crossed my mind that I would be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 37.
By Rachel Ross, Soul Pilates Teacher
After the birth of my two children I found it difficult to juggle being a mother and help my body recover from the changes of giving birth whilst maintaining my love of fitness. But I made sure I found the time, if even if it was to leave the house for an hour on my own to do yoga, then I found Pilates.
I discovered the studio Soul Pilates and went to regular equipment sessions sometimes twice a week. After a while I decided that’s what I wanted to do as a career, to be a Pilates teacher. In May 2016 I managed to secure a place to start teacher training at the Physiotherapy and Pilates Rehabilitation Centre in Clevedon (in affiliation with Alan Herdman Pilates). The course was due to start September 2017, plenty of time to hone my skills, learn more of the repertoire and get my old Biology degree books out and get a head start.
However, during a family holiday to Canada in the Summer of 2016 to visit my husband’s parents, I kept being plagued by tendon trouble in my hands, and a sense of being irritable and tired all the time. I still kept running and practicing Pilates in the beautiful surroundings of my in-law’s house. I thought I had maybe over done it. or maybe it was the jet-lag; a multitude of reasons but this pain in my hands continued when we returned back home to Bristol.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative arthritis; it occurs commonly in the joints which weight bear causing them to become painful resulting in limitations in movement and function.
The joints which can be affected are the knees, hips and feet specifically the big toe along with joints which are used a lot in daily life such as the hands, back and neck.
‘Around a third of people aged 45 years and over in the UK, a total of 8.75 million people, have sought treatment for osteoarthritis’ (Arthritis research, UK).
In the synovial joints such as the hip, knee, toes, fingers and wrists the structure of these joints allows movement of two adjoining bones.
By Rachel Ross, Soul Pilates Teacher
“Pull your shoulders back and down”, “engage your core”, “sit up straight”… we’ve probably all heard these kinds of cues when it comes to finding ways to improve our posture. But let me let you into a little secret: our posture is not something which is consciously controlled - that means you can’t think your way to better posture. By looking to control our body’s position with these thoughts we unknowingly often just create more tension and stiffness in our body which ultimately leads to more postural problems and therefore increased body discomfort.
It might be interesting to know that your pelvis is twisted, or your shoulders are rounded, or you have an increased curve in your lower back BUT the truth is this is not information your brain can actually do anything with. In my experience when people try to correct these issues by dropping one side of their pelvis, standing in a different way or holding their shoulders back, they start to experience more, not less problems.
By Nic Lenny, Studio Founder
We are perfectly designed to run. The problem is we have modified our lifestyle the point where our physical activity has been reduced to the absolute bare minimum. Basically we live our lives sitting in a chair and that negatively affects our health. We then try to undo this by heading out for a run only to feel sore and often get injured.
We now know that a sedentary lifestyle kills more people than obesity, hypertension and diabetes combined. This is a staggering fact and one which is easily reversible. Many people think running is damaging to their health but the reality is the sofa is far more dangerous to our health and our bodies!
By Nic, Studio Founder & Runity Coach
Are you foam rolling your IT band? Does it hurt in a satisfying way but not really changing how your IT band actually feels? Here we show you an adapted Pilates exercise using a band which lengthens your IT band, inner thighs, ankles and glutes. You will literally feel the difference instantly!
By Nic Lenny, Studio Founder
Studio owner Nic takes you through a 20 minute core workout in this video you can follow at home. But first she explains what "the core" is, (and what it isn't), and why strengthening your core is not simply about abdominal work and sits ups!
By Nic Lenny, Studio Founder
As we head into a New Year, I've found myself having a few conversations recently with clients who have been asking me about my own health journey, why I become a Pilates Instructor and my personal road to recovery from a car accident and subsequent chronic pain. All these conversations seemed to surround the concept of 'wellness'.
So what is 'wellness'? How do you achieve it? And what’s the secret to being well, to being happy and, to coin a slightly overused phase these days, "living your best life"?
I think I need to be pretty upfront about this and say that honestly, I don’t have a single answer. But the truth is no-one really does, despite the marketing hype promising you health, wellness and a body like a bikini clad Instagram star. I believe the reason no one has “the answer” is that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to being well, to being happy and to living any sort of great life.
In my experience, both with myself and from with working with clients with varying complex needs and backgrounds, what I’ve realised that ‘wellness’, or as I like to think of it - "being well", is a bit like baking a cake.
First you need a set of ingredients. And as someone who really does like cake, I can tell you, there are many, many options when it comes to cake and this is a very good thing! Some recipes you try and they work really well, some need a bit of you own personal tweaking, and some spectacularly fail to rise, or stick to the tin.
I think wellness is a bit like this. It’s not simply about Pilates, or meditation, or what you’re eating, or how you feel about yourself, or what childhood you had, or what exercise you’re doing, or if you love or hate your job, or the downtime you take, or the people you surround yourself with. To be honest it’s a combination of all these things and a whole heap more. These are all ingredients to the recipe of wellness. And the amount of each ingredient required varies hugely from person to person. We are not all created equal and I think this is what provides the rich tapestry of humanity.
By Nic Lenny, Studio Founder
We love to see you working on what you've learned in your sessions at home. Here are some handy video tutorials on the key points we're looking for in each of these common Pilates homework exercises.
By Nic Lenny, Studio Founder
A Video Guide to Dead Bugs / Knee Floats
Did you know that up to 80% of your immune system is found in your gut, and that the health of your digestive system affects your mood, motivation, will power, energy and even your intuition?
From a movement teaching perspective I find the gut / core absolutely fascinating.
I imagine that if you have ever worked out, you would have heard the cue 'tighten your core', 'pull in your belly' 'zip up your pelvic floor' and probably countless more ways to tighten your 'stomach' - unfortunately these really aren't the best cues to truly train your 'core', and in fact can have the unwanted side effects of anxiety, an increase in blood pressure, constipation, a flacid gut, indigestion, increased risk of injury, decrease in flexibility and less ability to absorb force - need I go on?
Guest Post by Rachael Hall, Franklin Method Educator
What is the core anyway?
Well it is way more that the thin layer of abdominal muscles that surrounds your belly. It is your stomach, your intestines, your colon, your kidneys, your psoas, your ql, your diaphragm, your pelvic floor, your spinal muscles - and these beautiful, clever parts work together as a whole, in symphony, they communicate with each other, they influence each other and they definitely do not want to be held in a vice regularly by 'tightening your core'.