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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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'.
What’s brought you here today? Are you looking to be toned, to be thinner, maybe it’s to not be in pain or are you seeking a bigger (or a smaller) bum…?
When I was in the planning for the opening of the Soul Pilates studio three years ago, I looked around at the wider industry and these were the kinds of messages I was constantly bombarded with. And, from a marketing point of view this is the kind of message that sells. People mostly want to be a better version of themselves it seems. But this wasn't my vision and it wasn’t my reality.
Rewind 8 years and I was living in Leeds as a Digital Director for a prestigious marketing agency. I drove a convertible, ran for my train in sky scraper heels, flew between Leeds and Geneva for meetings, went to the gym almost every day and weighted 2 stone more than I do now.