Getting to know…Steph Grey

This is the next in our series of Getting to Know Your Instructor. Meet Steph owner and founder of Live & Breathe Pilates, anatomy nerd, eternal student and cheese addict.

When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?Steph Full Hang

Loads of things, it changed month to month – vet, journalist, geographer, cartographer, TV chef, astronaut.

What inspired you to become a Pilates teacher?

I really needed a change. I felt I had to get out of the IT world, but had no idea what I wanted to do. So I did a course on changing careers. It made me think about what my skills were and what I enjoyed, and Pilates was high on the that list. I had been taking Pilates classes since 1999 so I booked myself onto a teacher training course later that year. I wanted to learn about the Method more than anything else at the time but as part of the course we had to teach and it was then I realised I loved instructing and helping others get strong and/or recover from injury. Fast forward 17 years (!?!?) and here we are. The studio is now open 4 1/2 years and we have the most amazing team of instructors and I’m blown away daily by our fantastic clients and their progress.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching?

Helping people out of pain. Helping people move again after injury. Helping people feel the joy of movement in their bodies. Teaching people about their bodies and how they can move with ease. Having fun with movement. Those “Aha” moments clients get when they feel the power of Pilates. Seeing clients getting stronger and stronger.

And physically being the in studio – I just love the space we have created in Camden Row. I am slightly biased though 🙂 Ooops, that’s multiple things. I do get a bit carried away as I’m pretty passionate about what I do!

What’s your least favourite thing about teaching?

As well as teaching day to day I also have to run a business. Between myself and my husband we pretty much do everything in-house as we’re a small business and have to keep costs down. It takes a lot of time and effort, though our booking system helps greatly. So I love to teach, but the admin, not so much!

What’s your favourite Pilates exercise? Why?

There are so many to choose from its hard to whittle it down to one. I do love Elephant Steph Elephant on Chairon the chair, it’s a killer, and takes a lot of precision and control too.

What Pilates exercise do you like the least? Why?

I dislike the Cadillac springs from below series on the Push Thru bar. I feel these can be very compressive for the lumbar spine and have never felt great in my own body.

Describe your teaching style in less than ten words.

Strong foundations. Precision. Awareness. Breath.

What are your top tips for a client starting out with Pilates?

Be present. Feel how your body feels. Enjoy the process.

What are your top tips for clients on progressing their Pilates practice?

Move more. Take classes. Practice at home. Integrate Pilates into your day. Be aware.

Who is someone who inspires you? Why?

I’ve thought long and hard about this question. And rather than picking some famous person, I’m going to say it’s actually my girlfriends. Not just one, but all of them. They’re such strong, resilient ladies who continue to amaze me. Many of these wonderful women have had to learn to cope with loss, are raising amazing kids, some have had to cope with chronic illness, some of whom have had to start all over, some have moved to the opposite side of the world. But I know each and every one of them have and continue to put others first, whether its their kids, caring for elderly parents or stepping in for friends in need. Ladies, you’re an inspiration and if the rest of the world cared like you do, the world would be a very different place indeed. Respect.

When you’re not teaching what do you like to do?

Firstly spending time with those I love. I also love to walk, to get out in nature and I love to swim. After a vertebral fracture I’m getting back to my own Pilates practice too which I have missed so much, and my body is feeling stronger and stronger.

Tell us one thing we might not know about you.

I can put my leg behind my head. And no I’m not posting a photo of that one.