Why Teach Yoga?

Why Teach Yoga?

As I sit on my 14 hour flight back home, I have roughly 4 hours left to go I think it is time to share the highlights of an experience i will never forget and answer the question why teach yoga?

14 months ago I took the plunge and signed up for Yoga teacher training. If you asked me back then why I wanted to be a yoga teacher, the answer was simply, I love pilates and love teaching it, so because I love yoga I would like to teach that too, coupled with the fact that I have always been a WHY? child.  I studied pilates because I wanted to know why it healed my lower back injury and I guess to be honest I wanted to study yoga to understand just why it makes me feel better in general.

I couldn’t really put my finger on what makes me feel better after yoga but I knew I did so the quest began…

IMG_4861Mayacamas Ranch the lovely place we lived at for our month long intensive Yoga Teacher Training, with Gina Caputo and Kathryn Budig

After spending 28 days at the most blissful ranch in the Nappa Valley with 3 of the most amazing yoga teachers I have ever met Gina Caputo, Kathryn Budig, Caitlyn Kinney, and 32 other yoga teacher trainees, I now have many answers to why I was drawn to add Yoga to my studio and not just stop at pilates.

I know there will be more and more reasons to come but here is my why.

Yoga is the strength behind how it seemed possible to travel to the other side of the world to study with teachers I had only recently discovered, rather than take the easy option of local weekend classes the way I studied pilates.  With no disrespect to any teacher training programs in Australia, it just seemed the thing for Sonia to do.  I had spent 12 months in the States before and have always had a soft spot in my heart for Americans.  Now I get to bring a little piece of knowledge home from my beloved continent which I am honoured and blessed to share with my Australian yoga students.  These ladies have years of experience and the roots of their teachings come from the very early teachers in the United States.

The reason I say Yoga was the strength behind my determination, is that I now understand just how yoga works.  It gives you the experience of doing something you never thought was possible, we all have dreams to do things and with the asanas of yoga you get to experience pushing your body outside of it’s comfort zone towards amazing poses in the safety of your yoga studio on your mat.  Which then translates into courage to the do the things you want to do off the mat in your life.

I had never realised this until during my training I got to see myself push past many fears of hurting or injuring myself to a place where something else was possible.  Inspired by my teachers who push you to do what you don’t think possible, from a loving space of “I’ve got you back, you can do this”

There is nothing like the relationship where the teacher holds the space for the student to push the boundaries of what is possible for themselves .  We human beings are built for survival which equals keeping safe, staying inside the boundaries.

IMG_2683Me and my teacher the amazing Gina Caputo – Yogini on the Loose http://www.ginacaputo.com/

Keep in mind when reading my story I have been practicing different types of yoga and pilates for over 10 years and this experience was in my intensive teacher training.  Yoga is a practice and with time and a supportive teacher to keep you safe you too can push towards your edge, please realise if you are new to yoga, this type of experience happens when and only when you are ready for the challenge.  Yoga is your journey and every journey is individual.  Many people have fears about back bending and handstands, it is completely natural fear because these are not shapes or positions we ordinarily do with our body.

Here is just one example to take you on the journey and perhaps inspire you to start or keep going with your yoga practice.

At the age of 2 or 3 I am jumping blissfully on my parents double bed, having the time of my life, until I fall, my dad rushes in, he is taking care of me while mum is working her weekend shift at the hospital.  I don’t remember details but I have broken my collar bone.  I have the memory because we have a photo of my shoulder strapped and all my life have been told never ever jump on the bed, the safety boundary I created.  My body has trapped the details and definitely kept me safe ever since.

I am the one who gets really excited to do daring things but will never do them unless someone takes charge and tells me its ok and safe.  I don’t jump off anything and I practice “safe” sporting pursuits like pilates, yoga, paddle boarding, walking the dog.  None of these push you to the edge of your fear.  Or so I thought until I arrived at yoga teacher training.

They say yoga creeps up on you the way it needs to, just like your special recipe and I can honestly say that is the case for me.  I remember many occasions in the last 4 weeks thinking what the *** have I done, I don’t belong here.

In one of our last yoga classes of the training, I was introduced to deep back bends and handstand prep in the middle of the room.  The minute Kathryn told us this is what we would work on my heart jumped to my throat and my body wanted me out of that room.  But I summoned my why and said to myself you can do this, they have got your back.

Handstand prep away from the wall, if not for the weeks of yoga leading up to this point and the strength I had already gained, i would have sat it out but I chose to just follow the cues right to the edge of the fear.


Me and Kathryn Budig – My teacher I had followed online for the 14 months prior to teacher training at www.yogaglo.com

Inspired by the practice of my fellow trainees who gracefully pop up into handstands and hang out there like they are standing on their feet, I keep going.  The cue was leaning into our hands off of one foot, the fear was real and terrifying, it bought back the memory of being hurt, even though theoretically I knew that the worst I could do was fall over and maybe face plant.  At that moment I heard Kathryn, this beautiful strong lady still cueing the class but right in front of me, encouraging me to breath and cueing every movement needed to keep me safe, but push me through what was stopping me.  We held the pose a little longer and then got to come out and I honestly believe my body was reassured by the fact it was ok.  Ever the learner, I will look into this further, something to do with the central nervous system that fascinates me.  So handstand press up is now something I am adding to my practice when I get back home and find just the right teacher for Sonia.

The other pose in this amazing practice was a back bend from kneeling, at 27 again I injured myself, this time playing trivial pursuit, I know you will have to read that twice, my posture had got so week that just moving the wrong way to roll the dice put me in bed for over a week.  Funny really since I choose my activities for safety.

We get to the back bend of this class and I literally just kneel there not willing to bend, my body always tells me in back bends this is not a wise position for me to be in.  Gina who is assisting this class while Kathryn is teaching, comes to assist me, she gently supports me from the front and encourages me into the back bend, then Kathryn appears behind me and gives me the extra encouragement needed to reach out towards her and allow my back to bend. As they gently bring me out of the pose words cannot describe the relief that I experienced knowing the strength I now I have in my back from all my pilates practice.  It was truly one of those experiences I will never forget but also the answer to why teach yoga?


The main building of Mayacamas Ranch which was our yoga studio everyday, such a beautiful tranquil place to learn all that was there to learn 🙂

I know that everyone has walked a different path, so your story will not be the same, but there will be things that hold you back, because you are also a human being, with safety nets created from your experiences.  Yoga is a way to build the strength to do the things you always wanted to do, but stopped and never knew why.  And if I can give this wisdom away to just one person, that is why I want to teach Yoga.

Cheers and hope to see you in a yoga class soon.

Much love – Sonia Louise


Another Step on the Path to my Dream Coming True

Silhouette of woman practicing yoga on the beach during a beautiful sunset.

I just realised last night not all my clients at the studio know my exciting news for November.  I thought I had been talking about it so much that everyone knew and it seems this is not so.

My excitement is that in November I am going to the Nappa Valley in the United States to train to be a Yoga teacher with two of the most amazing Yoga Teachers in the world Gina Caputo and Kathryn Budig.  It is a 4 week long immersion certification, so when I get back I will be able to add yoga classes to our schedule.  Yes I am not sure when but I know that it will sort itself out as everything else along the path has so far. 🙂

Visit Gina Caputo and Kathryn Budig’s website

Gina Caputo: http://www.ginacaputo.com/

Kathryn Budig: http://kathrynbudig.com/


6 ½ years ago I left my job as a Senior Management Accountant with one of Australia’s largest food manufacturers and I said to myself this is just not me.  I had a dream of one day owning a yoga/Pilates retreat where people could come to a beautiful space and practice yoga/Pilates.  So I embarked on that journey.

As you can see I am not at the end of the journey because the retreat is still a beautiful place in my mind.  But I do now teach Pilates at my own studio and now I am off to add Yoga teaching to my skills.  Which is the next step in this amazing journey towards my dream career.

As I have mentioned before it could not be further from the career I have already established myself in as a Finance Manager.  But these skills certainly do not go astray.  I have often asked myself why I went down that path that seem to be wrong, however I am entirely grateful that at least I was on a path and to be honest if not for that career I would not be able to finance my dream which is slowly but surely starting to take shape.

Anyhow essentially I just wanted to let you all know that yes I will be away for 4 weeks from November 7 – December 5, but I also wanted to let you know I am at work in the background talking to some lovely yoga and Pilates instructors who I am hoping are going to join the studio and start taking some classes.  Which will mean that you all get more timeslots to fit in some Pilates or yoga and most of all you are looked after while I am overseas get my new skills.

I hope you all are having a lovely week, and thankyou to each and every one of you, because without you, I can fulfil my dreams, which is to share the benefit of mindful movement which is my passion.



And She Discovered Pilates Is So Much More – By Karen

Pilates class


I have been gym junkie for years and love exercising but as I get older my muscles don’t recover like they use to.  I was speaking with a girl at work one day, talking about exercise and complaining that my shoulder and knees ache, most days walking around as if I was older than I was.  She suggested Pilates and was telling me how it changed her life.

So late last year I decided I would give Pilates a goand what a change it has made.  I have now been doingPilates classes for the past 8 months and in this time my body has become stronger, I stand taller, my core gets stronger every day and I feel fantastic. The aches and pains I once had are no longer there and I still attend a couple of high intensity classes a week, so I get the best of both worlds.

If someone would have said to me years ago tryPilates, I would have saidthis isn’t exercising looks like a stretching class.

Aerobic Pilates stuff like mat balls roller magic ring

Pilates is so much more, I get a better workout in Pilatesthan I do in other classes I do at the gym,  I am stronger through my body & mind, I have toned and I feel amazing. I highly recommend Pilates to everyone, it will change your life.


Pilates Contribution to Elite Athlete Success by Simon Forthun

Elite large

The Glasgow Commonwealth games are an opportunity for many to appreciate sporting performance at the highest level. Speed, power, range of effortless movement and mental toughness are on show. Just performing at the games requires intense preparation pushing the limits and risking injury. Elite athletes from many sports have turned to Pilates to help their performance.

Young people doing Pilates exercises

A fundamental objective of Pilates is optimal posture and spinal & pelvic alignment which can prevent or reduce low back pain, hip and knee strain and improve shoulder girdle stability and overall balance.Pilates is about stabilizing with and moving from the core—abs, back, glutes, inner & outer thigh. Pilates is a whole body exercise modality that lengthens and strengthens muscles while building a uniformly developed and balanced body.1This approach to exercise focuses power to come from the core and protects joints from strain and impact. The body is more able to perform movement consistently and prevent injury to joints.

The key principles of Pilates focus on integration of breath, flexibility, strength, control, and precision and body awareness. Elite athletes recognize these “skills” as critical to any sport or functional movement.1Elite athletes may find their body type is unable to achieve their desired performance and turn to Pilates to fill the gap.Australia’s Cate and Bronte Campbell who recently won silver and bronze in the Glasgow Commonwealth games 50m freestyle both recording personal best times acknowledged pilates contribution to their performance. The sisters have been taking pilates classes with dancers from the Queensland Ballet for three or four months to develop a better spring off the blocks. “Our pilates teacher is a ballet dancer and she’s teaching us how to jump like ballerinas so we’ve been working on our starts and trying to improve them as much as we can,’’ Bronte said.


Victoria Pendelton metro.co.uk

Victoria Pendelton, British track cyclist says “I’ve been doing Pilates for more than a year, and for me, it’s been a real breakthrough in managing back pain and building my postural muscles.”(July 2012 issue of Marie Claire) Like a lot of cyclists, Victoria suffers from lumbar spine issues from spending numerous hours hunched over the handlebars. Those whose job is at a desk or computer often have the same issue.1

Charlotte purdue

Charlotte Purdue purerunner.co.uk

Charlotte Purdue English representative in the 10,000m track event at the Glasgow games typically runs over 100kms per week. Charlotte regularly does pilates as part of her training to build up core endurance, spinal stability and improve posture.

Diverse group of friends having fun at the gym

Pilates is part of many elite athletes training regimes and contributes to the performances we enjoy watching at events like to Commonwealth games.

1Elite Athletes in 2012 London Olympics Credit Pilates for Improved Performance and Injury Reduction – Core Fitness by Jana

Early Mornings – A great time to exercise


My favourite time to exercise has always been early mornings, so far since the opening of the studio I have resisted adding early morning classes because this has always been my time to exercise with Miss Milly.

During the week however I have finally realised there may be others out there that also enjoy early morning exercise and maybe I was cutting a whole group of people out of being able to enjoy pilates in the morning because I have scheduled my classes in the evenings.

Other than my early morning walks with Mill, my favourite day is Wednesday which is the day I attend my early morning pilates class.  For the rest of the day I feel amazing and I know it is because I have woken up to do what my body needs most and that is movement.

So I have bitten the bullet and scheduled some early morning classes.  Monday’s and Thursday’s for a start to see if there is anyone else out there willing to jump out of their warm bed a little earlier and come down for a pilates session.

Hope to see you there, please do book online however because if I don’t have takers Miss Milly gets her walk instead :).



Awakening – A nugget of gold too good not to share :)

I was wandering around the internet this weekend procrastinating as I sometimes do when I have a mountain of study and I found this share by a lovely yoga soul Jackie Dumaine who is one inspiring lady, and it resonated so much I just thought why not share, we all go through this life thinking we are alone in our struggles when in fact we all have them.


Awakening – Author Unknown

A time comes in your life when you finally get…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out…ENOUGH.

Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening…

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.

You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn’t do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and everything isn’t always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

forty year old woman doing yoga at sunrise on the beach

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties…and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not you job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people…and you learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody’s punishing you and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than you heart’s desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

Finally, with courage in you heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.


woman with balloons



Why attend a studio/small group class?

Studio Classes

I get asked often the difference between a group mat class and a studio/small group class.  It is a question I have wondered over the years of my pilates practice.  I just recently discovered my own answer and one to share, that does justice to the very valid question I too have pondered, what in fact is the deal?

Some background to my story first, I for many years 8 or 9 in fact loved my pilates and only attended group classes in a gym or followed along with one of the many online classes or DVDs I had at home.  I have not only built strength in my core, gained a much leaner and toned body, but I have also grown to love and respect the practice of pilates.  One of the most compelling reasons I enrolled in my teacher training was so that I could learn why this form of exercise had helped me so much, particularly in rehabilitating from serious low back pain and migraines myself.

Therefore I will never lose my love for a general all round pilates class that offers variety of movements for all parts of the body.  The group mat class is excellent at achieving this, and in fact is what I have based the whole structure of Sonia Louise Pilates on, my motto being that to get someone to fall in love with pilates, they need to first try it on for size, and see in fact if it is for them, then slowly as they see the benefits they will learn more and more and pilates will become something they can’t not do, because it makes them feel better.  This is how I feel anyway.

small class

The group mat class does this so well, we run through the pilates exercises in a systematic process, working the whole body which gives you a great all over workout from head to toe, inner core to the balance of standing on your toes.  For a great workout, an introduction to pilates and a reasonably priced fitness regime that will compliment all your other physical pursuits, group mat class is for you.  I love them and I will never stop teaching them because I believe it offers everyone the chance to add this type of training to their life and gain the many benefits I so often hear from my clients.

The small group/studio class is only a new love of mine.  I myself other than my teacher training had never experienced this form of pilates.  6 weeks ago I started attending a studio classes of my own with an amazing teacher who has been teaching for many years.  I stumbled across him because I really wanted to increase my learning and knowledge, but could not see how I could fit that in around my full time day job and running the studio.  This was our solution, a studio class once a week at 6.30am Wed morning.

At that point in time I had not considered the option of small group classes but it became a very real possibility quite quickly for me.  The small group/studio class is limited to 4 people only and to be honest if you are lucky sometimes you will be 1 of 1, 2 or 3 but even with 4 in the class, you will receive the attention of the instructor specific for your body weaknesses, tightness and strength requirements.  If there is one thing I have learnt in my first 3 years of teaching every single body is different and needs something just a little different.

So if you think about it maximum of 4 people in your class means you get 1 on 1 attention for at least a quarter of the class.  This is not possible in larger group environments.  What I myself have found is that, even though I can say I am advanced at the mat exercises, some of the exercises that I am doing when there is a keen eye upon me, can be done even so much more precise and believe me every week, my instructor finds somewhere else I could finely tune my movement pattern and hence I wake up the next day introduced to a new muscle that is now doing its job so much more efficiently.

The other exciting thing about the small group class is you get to have a spin on the reformer, we play a lot more with the equipment and we can modify things so that we can work on those spots that only you need to work on, it is not for everyone but it is definitely worth a try.

Pilates aerobic instructor woman in cadillac

Like I said above, I will never stop teaching group classes because I love the atmosphere, the challenge and the excitement in the room when everyone gets to cheer that first time you roll up, or roll like a ball smoothly.

But I must say studio classes are amazing for those of us personalities who like to refine things a little or a lot, or that like the learn (which is me definitely) and for anyone wanting to invest a little more in their practice of pilates.

For sessions times please go back to the home page and click book online.

Pilates Group Mat Classes – $15 casual or $120 for 10 sessions

Small group/Studio Classes $35

Cheers and I hope this answers some questions, as I always say in class if you have further questions please ask, call or send an email I would love to chat 🙂

Sonia Louise