Inspired to dust off the wheels again…


It’s the first week back in the office and I have witnessed firsthand how inspiration is catching.  A few in the office have come back all inspired and talking all things bikes.

My cubicle neighbour decided he would join the every growing workers who cycle to work and when I received his text saying he got home in 1hr ten minutes I thought yes I will try this out.  So after teaching 4 classes of Pilates this week in the official opening week of the studio I head home to sort out my bike tyres and get her ready for the maiden voyage on the new (to me, because I only recently opened my eyes and found out about it) Eastlink bike trail, which by the way goes almost all the way from my workplace to my front door.

Being ever fascinated by fitness and how it catches on I have watched people get engaged about riding to work, myself included and I am still marvelling at how I myself 6 months ago could not commit but as soon as I started talking to the others and saw them do it, I found the inspiration to give it a go.

I generally do my own thing with Pilates, yoga and supping and if anyone wants to join me they are more than welcome, but I am just as happy by my introverted self.

Woman riding bicycle with her legs in the air

My bike affair has been a little different, I bought her way back when I arrived back from a year in the states, I had fallen in love with the fitness aspect of riding while working off all the dunkin donut pounds I had put on in my first few months abroad.  No kidding I was hovering between a size 14 and 16 and had never felt worse.  For someone who is now a consistent size 8 this was horrifying and the start on my path to wellness.  I started over there by myself but really got into it when I found a group of people to go riding with on weekend trips away.  It all seemed to fit with my love of being in nature and shifting those terrible pounds I had gained in the process.

So tomorrow my plan is to drive half way to one of my best mates houses, park the Mazda there, jump on my little hybrid and head off on this little adventure to work along the Eastlink bike trail.  Then work all day, and sometime after 5pm I will bike back to my mates house and pick up the Mazda and drive to the studio to take Monday nights class.

It will be a nice change from Pilates, yoga and supping as I do love to get out on the bike and see the world from a different perspective.

How about you, do you have a treadlie sitting in the garage gathering dust?

Beautiful young woman on bike

Guidance from Above


For those of you who know me, you know my Dad passed away 7 years ago.  It was the toughest thing in life I have ever had to endure, it is also one of the most defining events of my life.  I wonder if, as they say my soul chose the path of a daughter who loses her father as a young adult, so that he would no longer be here to answer all my questions about the world, but to guide me to be stronger and stand on my own two feet from above.

Throughout my journey of refining my true path in life, I have had many little signs that teaching movement in the form of pilates and yoga is the right thing for me.  They come as often as I look out for them, but I can never really be confident  is it my Dad guiding me or just a coincidence.  I share my story here not to convince anyone of life after death but mainly as a reminder that miracles do happen and if we look for signs they do come.  Also I wanted to capture it in written word so as to always remember, I am sure I will as it was the most miraculous of all signs, but I also know the gloss wears off these moments and I want to capture it while it is still vivid.

I am driving to meet the landlord’s agent at the property I am looking at to set up my first pilates studio and I have one of those moments of fear, when I think, am I really supposed to be going down this path, it is a big financial commitment, is it really something I want to do, or in fact can do, will people want to come to my pilates classes etc.

Many times when I have been unsure I have looked up and asked for some sign that this is ok, generally I get little signs every time.  So this is the time I need it to be real clear and if fact that is what I say to Dad, show me that this is the right move and be very very clear about it, in much more colourful language than that.  I then say ok, I’ll leave that one with you Dad.

Father and daughter at outdoor.

I proceed on to the property where I meet the lovely agent.  We go up to view the property and I check that it is definitely going to be ok that the landlord installs floorboards instead of carpet for my studio.  He say’s oh yes the landlord is completely fine with that as his wife is a yoga teacher too in a suburb closer to Melbourne.  So she is excited to be potentially letting it for this purpose and had thought when they first bought, it would be perfect for a studio.  So there I thought I had it my sign that I should proceed with the dream of running my studio.  Good sign dad thanks heaps.

Then we proceed to walk out to our cars and we chit chat a little and for some reason I tell the agent I am from the country.  He says really?  Whereabouts in the country? “Colac” I reply, the next thing he asks was the start of my really clear sign. “Who is your father?”, “John Chambers”, I say “Why?” I can’t remember his exact words but he is amazed and tells me that his wife used to live in the house attached to the back of my father’s old shop.  He knew my dad well and in fact the passport photo in his passport that just expired was taken by my dad when he was in the previous shop.  Which meant this man had known my dad for many years.  So here it is, the clearest sign I could ever ask for, I am on the right path.  To put it in a bit better context, I am in a suburb the other side of Melbourne 3 hours from Colac, and the chances of the two of us even meeting let alone having a discussion and realising this are slim at best.

Free woman enjoying freedom feeling happy at beach

So I have my sign, this is the path there is no turning back now, I look at the agent and tell him of my little chat with dad and then say ok let’s do this.  The following week I sign the lease and I now have the keys and took my first class this week in the new space.

Are there signs you are being sent from your angels and missing?  You might want to just check in occasionally and see.

P.S. my dad and I in my younger years are the biggest sceptics of all, we are logical thinkers but I am now a believer in all things miracles.  I also have a sense of peace around the saying that everything happens for a reason, you just have to be open to seeing the reason from any perspective.


Sonia Louise

Inspiration to follow a dream….

Beautiful Girl with Balloons


I started the blog for Sonia Louise Pilates in January, and it started with a commitment to post an exercise a week.   For 17 weeks I did really well.  Then I really stumbled across these things called blogs.  Which took me off track down a 6 month journey of learning, growing, facing reality and then taking the plunge into the biggest dream I have had, to open a studio.  Inspired by a humble guy named, I will get to how, later in the post but bear with me as I share the path.

Coming up 6 years ago, I radically quite my job as the Senior Management Accountant at one of Australia’s major manufacturers.  I walked out the door of that place with no job but a strong knowing in my heart that what I was doing was not my passion and I needed to find what that was and then follow in the footsteps of one of my greatest mentors (my beloved father who the previous year passed on from a terrible fight with cancer).  At the time I took 8 weeks off and really confronted what I wanted to do with this one life I have.  I was not getting any younger and I really only fell into accounting because my wise mum said if you become an accountant you will always have a job.

I had absolutely no idea what I loved to do and I had no idea how to create a business if I didn’t have a product, but I started investigating, researching and really looking at what if?

I spent the first 4 weeks resting and recovering from the corporate climb I have just escaped from, I have heard a couple of times now about climbing the ladder only to realise it is against the wrong wall, this surely was me.   I just had no idea what wall I should place my ladder against.   But I began the empowering journey of exploring just where I should place that ladder.

My journey kept touching on health and wellness, all the way along.  Back then my dream was a yoga/pilates studio in the bush, close enough to Melbourne for clients to get to.  I know one day this will be my final destination, but to quote Lao Tzu and journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  So I started taking steps towards that goal.

These steps were, find a job to keep me fed, clothed and sheltered, start a consistent yoga/pilates practice, train as a coach and then fulfil on being a coach on the Introduction Leaders program at Landmark Education, work hard at becoming the best finance manager I can be,  train as a pilates instructor, continue to develop myself professionally and personally and then finally sign a lease on my first pilates studio.

I reached this destination Friday evening.  Finally signing the lease to my new studio.  It is a really scary step but many of the inspiring blogs I read online say to use your fear as a guide to point you in the direction you need to go.

Here is a picture of my new studio before any work, the floorboards go in next week which is very exciting.

Chelsea Heights Studio 1

Over the next few weeks I intend to share the ups and the downs of this journey, replacing the weekly exercise post with these next steps in my journey.

Jonathan who I spoke of earlier inspired me when I heard his story, he signed the lease on his yoga studio the day before September 11.  Check him out the path he travelled since then is amazing and has truly inspired me to finally take that leap of faith I have been putting off in favour of the comforts of what I know and a really stable corporate career.

Stay tuned and follow the journey of the next step in Sonia Louise Pilates.

Pilates at the Carrum Beach

So last night I proposed a challenge to my Wednesday night pilates class “who would like to try Pilates in the water” says Sonia.  Much to my surprise, 3 of my regulars turn up with their towels and are up for it.  So we warmed up on our mats, not that it felt we needed to, as the temperature had been well over 30 degrees all day.

Then we took our foam rollers and headed down to the water’s edge.

It was amazing we had such a fun time learning together, I had never taught a class in the water before.  Let me tell you this was a challenge for all of us, even though the water was like glass, there was the occasionally wave rolling in from those pesky jet skis buzzing around on a summer’s night.

We certainly used our core muscles, did lots of kicking, balancing on our foam rollers and just generally had plenty of fun.  So my suggestion is next time you are in the water actively contract those tummy muscles just like you do on the mat, you will be surprised to feel them holding you afloat and working hard to keep you balanced while you are lazing on your noodle, lilo or anything that floats.

I love the water I believe it is very calming and peaceful and one of my dear clients had not swum in years she informed me, so it was lovely to share the moment of being back in the water with her.  Playing at the beach is one of the ways we can remember we are never to old to just hang out and have fun.

Here is a photo for you to check out the happy smiles on their faces, I am so lucky to share my love of pilates with such warm, fun people.

beach pilates



Pilates Week 1 – Hundreds Prep

Week 1 – SLP 2013 Challenge

I finally worked out how to upload pictures one week into the challenge the beauty of life and the internet is you can learn something new everyday!

Hundreds Prep
Focus: abdominals and flowing movement

Hundreds Prep 1

Hundreds Prep 1

Lie on your back in the neutral-spine position, with your legs stretched out flat along the floor and your inner thighs squeezed together. Stretch your arms out on the floor behind you and draw your navel firmly towards your spine. Sink the back of your ribcage down into the floor and relax your shoulders. Point your toes.

Hundreds Prep 2
Breathe in and you bend your legs, sliding your toes along the floor until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, keeping your spine in neutral, your abdominals firm and the back of your ribs anchored.

Hundreds Prep 3

Keeping your tailbone anchored, breathe out as you curl forward, lifting your chest, bringing your arms over your head towards your hips and stretching your legs straight up into the air.

Hundreds Prep 4

Keeping your chest lifted, breathe in and bend your legs at the knees, touching your toes back onto the floor.

As you breathe out, return to the start position, sliding your toes along the floor as you reach your arms over your head and back onto the floor behind you.

Repetitions: Five

Sonia Louise Pilates 2013 Challenge

So I had another fun idea last night whilst out and about with Miss Milly (my gorgeous puppy who lives only in the present, we can learn so much from them).  I thought how can I share my passion for pilates online with those who are interested yet I can’t be with them in person like my regular clients.

I came up with the idea of posting a new exercise every week of the year, so it will be 52 exercises in total.  Inspired by my dear friend Louise who will be blogging every day, I toned it down a bit 365 exercises was not something I could commit to but 52 seems like a challenge yet achievable.

My intention is to master them all in my own practice but also master the teaching of them with anyone who wants to join me on the trip.

For a little commitment phobe like myself it is a genuinely daunting task, but they say face your fears and do it anyway, and I believe if you share a challenge someone somewhere will cheer you on so please be that cheerleader for me, God knows I am going to need it. 

Maybe not, because Pilates is what I love, learning and mastering things is also a passion my dear Dad once pointed out so combining them will make the challenge achievable.

So join me for the year by following the blog and getting your weekly Pilates exercise, along the way who knows the benefits but some of them I can imagine will be, better posture, more core strength, more peace of mind from focusing on your body and breath and maybe even a deeper love for moving your body, which we all know is one of the keys to health.

Stay tuned exercises to be posted Sunday evening every week……..

Pilates and Integrity

While I was out on my daily walk with Mil today I started thinking about Pilates and Integrity.  I have done lots of reading and many courses over the last few years and one of my favourite learnings was Integrity.

“Without integrity nothing works” is how the distinction from many of the Landmark courses I have completed starts, I must admit for a long time this distinction didn’t sit well with me, but when I finally got it I loved how simple and to the point it is.  So today I was thinking about my passion Pilates and how it relates.  One of the many teachers I have learnt from says “put the bones in the right place and move them” or rather give the skeleton some integrity and it will operate with more efficiency.   What we do in Pilates is exactly this we get some integrity back in your structure and then we build your muscles so you learn and retrain your body how to have more efficiency in movement.

Today was one of those lightbulb moments in my teaching career because it has helped me understand better how to teach my passion to others and also made me realise how simple and logical Joseph Pilates was in developing his method.

So my advice is get yourself to a class with an instructor who loves teaching this and you will never regret it.  My clients often comment how what they are learning every week helps them in everyday life and this makes me smile, it really is a beautiful method to train the body for ease of movement which I might add every single one of us does daily.