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.

nadia wallace’s reply to one guy: what is pilates, btw?

This is a great article written about what pilates is.

Cheers Sonia

pilates with nadia / new leaf pilates & yoga

I recently had a brief, lively chat with a prospective client.  Part of our conversation may be interesting for you.  (His name and a couple of details have been changed to preserve anonymity.)

This gentleman, let’s call him “David,” has had a good experience with a personal trainer over the last 6 months.  He’s in his late-30s, has full days at work, likes to be active, and has no injuries.  David happily reports that he’s lost a significant amount of weight through healthy diet and exercise over these last months.  But he hasn’t quite accomplished all of his goals for his body, through his workouts.  He’s not entirely sure what’s missing, and his search for that missing piece led him to call me.  David has heard of Pilates, and wanted to explore whether some Pilates personal training sessions might be an even better basic component of his fitness plan.

A couple…

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Pilates Week 17 – Fundamental 2 – Pelvic Placement

There are 2 alternatives for pelvic placement in Stott pilates the neutral pelvis and imprinted pelvis.

The neutral pelvic placement is when you have a gentle curve in the lower back or lumbar region of the spine.  To find your neutral pelvis place the heels of your hands on your hip bones and your pointer fingers on your pubic bone if you put a board across these 3 points in the neutral position it would be level.

The imprinted pelvic placement is when you gently find a posterior tilt by gently using your obliques to gently lengthen the lower back towards the mat, it’s a gentle movement, not squashing your lower back into the mat.  People who experience gripping in the lower back area are encouraged to work in an imprinted alignment, particularly if your legs are off the ground.

The neutral position of the pelvis is the strongest alignment for your spine so you should always aim to work in neutral pelvis in any exercise, unless you have been advised to work in an imprint position.

To find both positions, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor find the 3 points I speak of above then allow your pelvis to line up so these 3 points are in a horizontal plane.  Gently draw in on your obliques to lengthen your lower back and find imprint and then gently release to return to a neutral spine.

Pilates Week 16 – Fundamentals the First of 5 – Breathing

I had a conversation last week with a colleague who asked me whether I got sore from doing pilates she spotted me in our gym at work and said to me it looked easy but she was sure it is not.  I was quite pleased to hear it looked so easy but it got me to thinking about how one learns pilates and how the basic principles are so very important.

I often see people working out and realise that my love of pilates comes from the structure of the exercises and how there is so much to learn, which always keeps me interested as a student of pilates and also as a teacher.

So I have decided to catch up my weeks I am behind in my blog with the 5 basic principles of the Stott pilates that I have been trained in.  Because I again are very present to what can only look easy through proper practice and knowledge of the correct fundamentals on which Joseph pilates and the many variations of pilates are built.


Pilates breathing is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth with pursed lips, similar to when you are blowing out a candle.

You breathe deeply into the back and lower area of your ribcage.

When you exhale deeply this helps to activate the deep support muscles of your spine and pelvis by engaging the transversus abdominis.

This deep breathing helps to you avoid neck and shoulder tension and helps in relaxation.

As you inhale the ribcage opens out and up whichs helps in spinal extension.  The ribcage closes in and down when you exhale which aids in spinal flexion.

I always like to start my classes with at least 5 big deep inhales and exhales to get everyone focused on their breath.