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Five Pillars Yoga

Teri Steele


Where are you from?
I grew up in Los Angeles and went to UC Berkeley before moving to NYC in 1991.

How did you come to Pilates & Yoga?
Like a lot of dancers my age, I found Pilates through an injury. It was not a normal part of our training in the ‘90s. I had enormous flexibility which I overused in dancing when I was young. My back was always in a lot of pain from not having enough core/abdominal strength. I began Pilates in 1998 to get out of pain. My dancing improved and I have been pain free ever since!

Who inspires you?
My clients inspire me. I have had some clients for over 20 years now and they are more fit in their 70s than they were when I met them in their 50s. I have so much admiration for active seniors who take advantage of all that NYC has to offer. They attend lectures, donate time, travel and are always expanding their knowledge and experiences. They work out and dance in order to maintain their quality of life. Genetics does have an affect on some aging issues, but I am a true believer in the power of life habits to make or break one’s chances of enjoying a long life. What’s the point of living a long time if you cannot life the life you want?

Current favorite inspirational quote?
“Dancers are the athletes of God”

How would you describe your teaching style?
Challenging. I do not challenge people in order to make them feel badly about what they cannot do. Rather, I challenge people to do what I know they are capable of doing.

Which exercises or movements help you “Go Deep?”
The simple, most basic core principle exercises help any Pilates sequence be performed deeply. Advanced movers can always just mimic the choreography of the exercises, but to approach each movement with all of the core principles in mind and in practice makes the exercise very deep. It is quality over quantity. If you do it correctly, it shouldn’t take a million repetitions to illicit a response.

Favorite prop?
I love working with Stability Balls or sliding discs. They enable me to recreate many apparatus exercises in a mat class.

Do you have a spirit animal?
I don’t think that it is a coincidence that I am a Leo born in the year of the Monkey. I’m fiercely loyal to my family and friends and (so I’ve been told) am intimidating at first meeting. For those who get to know me, I’m constantly curious, silly and playful — which I think keeps my choreography in teaching and dance (I have a dance company with my husband) moving forward.

Complete the sentence: I practice because… Movement is life