If you haven't been following The Pilates Project already than I 1000% recommend you do so now! Lily Baker is the heart and soul behind online wellness community TPP, Sydney based pilates instructor, Primary School teacher + one of the MOST beautiful ladies I have ever chatted/worked with. In this juicy blog, Lily shares her top tips on balancing her hectic (yet wholesome) life, the art of saying no & advice on living with intention and gratitude. ENJOY xoxoxo
Tell us about The Pilates Project (how did the idea come about/what is TPP all about)
Oh my goodness, the last seven months of TPP have been such a wild ride. The Pilates Project is a female- focused online destination that centres around the pillars of movement, wellness and community. Through equipping women with the knowledge and skills to take greater control over these domains within their lives, my hope is to inspire a commitment to self-love, to respecting one’s body, to education and to authenticity above all else.
Conceptually, TPP has been through a few twists and turns since its conception but above all, I’ve always been inspired by and committed to the notion of charity, education and authenticity. I wanted to create a platform that combined my two great loves - education & Pilates. I’d also like to think of TPP as a women’s health resource of sorts, bringing together a wealth of information through varying practitioners and modalities
Initially, TPP was going to be a monthly community event, bringing together different studios and instructors, with the aim of supporting a different female-focused charity each month. I was in the middle of bringing this to life when the lockdown of 2021 hit and I had to go back to the drawing board. From there, the TPP platform as we know it was officially born. Recently I’ve found myself being drawn back towards my original idea and I’m really looking forward to integrating a greater charitable element to the platform later this year. Ultimately, TPP is a way for me to give back to my community in a meaningful way. It’s been so incredible watching the platform grow in a really organic way and I’m so excited to see what the next few months bring.
Has health and wellness always been a priority of yours?
It definitely has! However, as I’ve evolved over the past few years, so has the way in which I’ve come to view the concept of wellness. Wellness will look different for everyone, but to me, wellness means balance across all areas of my life. Wellness is releasing from my engrained ‘should be’s’ (what I should be eating, how I should be exercising, how I should be spending my spare time) and embracing my present each day. Wellness can and should be so many different things. It’s knowing when to push your body and simultaneously, knowing when to let it rest. It could be nourishing your body with a big bowl of pasta and a red wine. It could be a phone call with a friend, buying yourself flowers, going to bed early, saying no to plans if that’s what you need, dancing in a club at 3:00am, waking up to see the sunrise, opening a new block of chocolate, practicing gratitude and so so much more.
Wellness means putting myself first so that I can be the best version of myself for everyone in my life - my family, my friends, my students and my clients. It means acknowledging and giving my body what it is craving, in whatever form that may take.
You are a school teacher, Pilates instructor (at multiple amazing studios) + is the single face behind the incredible TPP … pls share your top tips on managing life, work, fun etc!!!
Hahahaha when you put it like that, it’s no wonder I am literally always tired. I feel like I have to preface my response here by saying that I always have been and probably always will be a bit of a workaholic. I love the feeling of being busy, of being on the go from sunrise to sunset, of ticking off my to-do list, of feeling inspired and of achieving my own goals. I’ve always thought that in life we go through different seasons and right now I’m in my single girl/hustle season. Essentially, I’m my first priority and I have the ability to push myself 1000% on the work front. But, I’m also really comfortable with the fact that I’ll have to shift my priorities slightly when I am next in a relationship. I do find that being such a workaholic definitely can sometimes take a toll both on my own wellbeing and my social life. This year, I promised myself that I would get better at not saying yes to everything and letting work take a little more of a backseat. Putting all this aside, I do bloody juggle a lot of plates and I’m super proud of my ability to do so.
Now I absolutely don’t have all the answers for managing life, but I definitely think I’ve got some good tips!
I think it’s so important to recognise when to say yes and when to say no. This rule can be applied to all areas of life, in a work and social sense in particular. Being the workaholic that I am, I tend to have the tendency to overcommit myself and then get really stressed about it. I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s better to say no from the get go, rather than to cancel plans at the last minute or not be able to meet work deadlines. A big change I’ve made is not making any social plans from Monday through to Thursday. For me personally, these days are super hectic and it’s really important that I’m able to have time for myself so that I’m able to be my best self. I always make sure I schedule my social plans from Friday evening through to Sunday, which means I also always have something to look forward to at the end of the week.
Now, I’ve already said that I’m a Virgo through and through, so obviously I love all things organisation. At the beginning of each day, I write myself a to-do list and I break this down into three main areas - school, TPP & life. Within these three areas, I write my tasks in order of importance. I’ll then always try and complete that first task straight away. Anything else from there is a bonus! I have days where I can tick off everything and then I’ll have days where life gets in the way and I tick off nothing. At the end of the day, life isn’t always predictable and most things can wait until the next day. For me, given that I have a full-time job, most of my TPP work gets completed in the evenings. Depending on how my kids have been that day, I’ll either come home from school with tonnes of energy or absolutely none. I’ll always try and honour how my body is feeling and part of that is recognising when I simply need to put the computer away and rest.
I’ve spoken about this so many times on the TPP platform before, but I always love to make sure that I have three things in the pipeline to look forward to. Surely one of the worst feelings has to be post-holiday blues or the feeling that you have nothing coming up. I remember having this conversation with a friend a few years back and she encouraged me to adopt her habit of always having three things to look forward to. This has been such a game changer for me personally! I like to have something in the coming day, week and month to look forward to. On a daily basis, this might be going to a Pilates class, cooking myself a yummy dinner, buying a treat to go with my coffee in the morning, a face-mask in bed or a phone call with a friend. On a weekly basis, this might be having dinner with a friend, drinks with the girls, getting my nails done, having an infrared sauna or a lazy day with no plans. On a monthly basis, I typically tend to schedule a weekend away somewhere! Given that I didn’t grow up in Sydney, I find it really important to take time out of Sydney to decompress and reset
I know you are passionate about your morning and night routine, can you give us a bit of a run down of what these look like to you?
I am a Virgo through and through and thrive when I stick to my routine. I think having a morning & evening routine set in place is such a beautiful way to create balance in your life and feel centered within yourself. To me, practicing both of these routines is an act of self-care . When I take the time to honour these rituals properly, my energy is optimised and I’m at my most productive.
I often laugh when I see reels on Instagram with people showcasing their morning routines or morning rituals because they couldn’t look more different from mine! There’s no morning coastal walk, decadent breakfast or 10-step skin-care routine. That’s ok though. A routine doesn’t need to be glamorous. Monday through to Friday, I like to arrive at school around 7:00am so that I have two clear hours before the day begins to get on top of everything. I wish my hours at school were 9-3 but they are so far from it. Depending on the day, I might also teach a couple of classes in the studio before or after school. The point I’m making here - my days begin early! As soon as my alarm goes off, I open my window and blinds. I find the fresh air really helps to wake me up and feel a little more alert. I also have to make my bed straight away! This year I have been making a conscious effort to practise daily gratitude - both in the morning and in the evening. Depending on the morning, I might use my ‘Five Minute Journal’ (an amazing resource by Intelligent Change that inspires thankfulness, positive manifestation & gratitude) or if I’m more rushed for time, I'll simply think about something I’m looking forward to that day. In Summer, I love a short cold shower and in Winter, I love a quick hot shower. This is followed by practising my skin-care routine (it’s only 3 steps I promise). From here, I’m pretty much out the door straight away. My first stop is always a coffee from my local and this is probably one of my favourite daily rituals.
I find day to day my evenings look so different so rather than having a routine in place, I have a few simple rituals that I try to incorporate every night:
Finally, your fav piece of advice that you have given/received
I can’t pick just one so I’m going to give you my top four!