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:

Kathryn Budig:


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

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

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

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

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 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.