Liz’s Pilates journey has been one of healing and connecting through movement. One of the most positive people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. She cracks us up with her t-shirts, the latest of which was “Little Miss Sunshine”. Just perfect!
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What do you do for work and for play?
I am semi-retired nurse; I still work a couple of days a week because I love it.
My passions, outside of work, include travel and renovating properties. Walking with my little dog, Billy, is a great joy. Swimming is my meditation. For fun, I like to kayak and I’ve just bought a stand-up-paddle board.
You came to your first Pilates class two years ago, in November 2021. What was it that inspired you to start?
I was new to the area and living on a rural property. It was a big deal to move to an isolated place, as part of a couple. Whilst I had my partner, I didn’t have a network of people here and that was unsteadying. There was plenty to do on the farm to keep me fit but those chores never felt like exercise for me.
Then came my breast cancer diagnosis. I knew I needed to do nurturing things that would keep my energy level and positivity up. It was vitally important for me to find people to connect with.
There were exercise classes offered specifically for breast-cancer patients but I wanted to be with people who didn’t know my diagnosis. Illness is a headspace, I didn’t want to be labelled a sick person or feel like a victim. Cancer was something I had, it wasn’t what defined me.
I considered yoga but it was too stretchy and aggravated an old injury. Gyms are too busy for me. Pilates appeared to offer a slower form of exercise that wasn’t a beat up. You were teaching from home at the time, it was the most local class I could find and I decided to come along.
You attended two Pilates classes per week. What kept you coming?
I immediately felt welcomed and nourished by the classes and the people I met there. Staying in a healthy mindset and connecting was priceless for me. Pilates helped to keep me mentally and physically well throughout my chemotherapy. It literally kept me alive, I was very grateful for it.
My cancer was spotted early and I had a good diagnosis, I was extremely lucky. It required surgery and a full year of chemotherapy. Now, one year after completing all the treatment, I have made a full recovery and I feel great! I go for check-ups every three months.
You returned to classes in May this year, now at Wiigulga. How was that?
There had been a lot going on in my life: moving and doing up a new house, daughter’s wedding and a relationship breakup for me! It was wonderful to come back into a new crowd of people, I didn’t have to relive any traumas and we could chat and have a cuppa after class. There were no fake responses it was a safe space with no judgement, accepting and positive.
What is it that you get from the Pilates now?
It gives me confidence and resilience. I’m bullet-proofing my body against injury and immobility. It renews my energy.
I changed my diet and lost 10kg but it is Pilates that has changed my shape and made me excited to get back into a swimsuit for a recent tropical holiday.
You started coming to Yin yoga just a few weeks ago. Tell me about that.
Yin yoga is something that I look forward to each week - I’m in love with it! It’s better than drinking a gin and tonic on a Friday night! It is my time to turn off and tap into the spiritual, it’s unashamedly indulgent. Slowing down for that 75 minutes feels so good. I leave feeling contented, relaxed and restored. It really is sensational, more people need to make time for this in their lives!
I like the cerebral element too. During the class you talk us through a philosophy topic or an aspect of science that explains why the practice is so effective. This has led me into some further personal development work and that has been very valuable.
Life can be stressful: stuff happens, or it doesn’t happen! I’ve been able to take my Yin yoga practice off the mat. Mindfulness enables me to pause and reflect, to asses what’s really happening. I find that I’m more able to responding thoughtfully to situations, not simply react.
What’s your advice for someone coming to my classes for the first time?
Keep open to exploring and enjoying and be content to work at your own level. The classes are great value and they provide a warm and friendly atmosphere. Come along, you have nothing to lose!
Who should do Pilates and/or yoga?
Everyone should! Especially anyone losing touch with movement. We spend so much time on our phones and working at computers we forget to move.
What’s your favourite Pilates exercise or yoga pose