It’s been a while between inspirational fitness posts (the last one was on amazing yogi Kate Kendall who heads up Wanderlust this month!) so I’m super excited to share with you all a little Q & A with my smiley, salt of the earth, fellow chocolate lover and Pilates teacher, Sonia Forato.
I’ve been doing Pilates with Sonia, on and off, for almost two years now at Australian Technology Park.
What I like about Sonia’s classes is that they’re not too big so she has time to come around and correct your alignment or to check with how you’re progressing through her 10-week cycles (it gets harder and harder as you go).
She’s a big fan of planks, pushups and seals (which effectively is like grown-up versions of rolling around on your back and then coming up to clap your feet together). And on some weeks you use bands. You really work up a sweat and if you’ve done Pilates reformer it’s as equally as challenging if you do the more advanced versions or ‘option 3’ of her moves.
The interesting story behind Sonia is that she didn’t really seek out doing Pilates, rather, it found her. As a former horticulturist, she was always outdoorsy and active until a serious motorbike accident – which left her with a broken leg and wrist, massive trauma to her neck and back and a fractured skull – put her on a different path.
Forced to quit her job because of back pain, even after multiple surgeries, she moved interstate to find a different career. It was around this time when a friend introduced her to Pilates. After her first class Sonia couldn’t believe the immediate pain relief she experienced and from then on, she intuitively felt she was meant to do Pilates.
I’m so fortunate to come across her path because Sonia offers much more than a workout. She brings you into awareness of your body, your thoughts and how important it is to listen to yourself, to practise self-care and to respect how you’re feeling on any given day.
So without much more introduction, here is my little Q&A I had with Sonia:
Describe yourself in three words
Passionate, playful and kind.
What has your motorbike accident taught you?
To get back up and reclaim my power. To get on with my life with all the joy it has to offer and encourage others to do the same. I’ve found that struggle serves as a purpose and change is necessary for growth. We don’t always want it but I believe we learn more from challenging episodes than when we get things easily.
Who are you inspired by?
Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Thanks to these men, I live by the ahimsa way of life (respect for all living things and non-violence) and I have been a complete vegetarian for 12 years now. I find my daily inspiration from their amazing lives.
Favourite way to wind down after a tough day?
Eating healthy foods that make me happy, appreciating that I can enjoy such healthy food, as well as enjoying company and sharing my life.
What are three things that help you keep healthy and grounded (other than Pilates)?
Good food, meditation, yoga and dance and my other favourite exercise -high intensity training.
What’s the most important thing you want people to know about Pilates for those who have never done it before?
You’ll be absolutely amazed at how much a little Pilates can do for you. At how much you can change from a little bit . Many woman have said to me, “I don’t pee my pants anymore!”. It’s not all or nothing. Try it you and you will find change in many ways.
Where do you teach Pilates?
Tuesday @ Australian Technology Park in the Heritage room at Bay 4, from 12pm to 1pm
Wednesday and Friday @ Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre, from 7.30 am to 8.30am
Tuesday and Thursday @ Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, from 7.15am to 8.15am
Thursday @ Heart and Soul, Crows Nest, from 12.30pm
Thursday @ Mosman Community College, from 6.45 to 7.45pm, 7.45 to 8.45pm
Friday @ Balmain Dance Academy, from 9.30am
Hope you get a chance to do Sonia’s classes lovelies,