I recently sat down for a little Q&A with Fit Club's very own Coach Stephanie.
We love her workouts and she recently expanded her schedule to include classes for the little ones.
Read on to find what inspires her as an instructor, how she incorporates yoga in her own family life and the TWO quotes she can't live without.
Amanda: Alright, let's dive right into the most obvious question. What inspired you to become an instructor?
Stephanie: In high school, I taught dance to younger students in exchange for my own dance classes, so it has always kind of come naturally to me. I don't really enjoy performing in the spotlight as much as seeing students blossom and grow. Witnessing the pride a student exhibits after they have improved in their dance technique or grown stronger is what really makes me excited.
Amanda: What made you want to start teaching kids yoga classes?
Stephanie: I started teaching kids and family classes through my company, Blissful Owl, in part because there just weren't any classes available in our area. I am super lucky to be able to bring my own kids and have our whole family with me to class whenever they are available.
Amanda: How does your family incorporate yoga in their daily routine?
Stephanie: As much as I can dream about incorporating a full yoga practice into our daily routine, it unfortunately isn't practical in our lives right now. However, I do take aspects from yoga and feel it is very important to integrate into our lifestyle. One such example is mindfulness and deep breathing. The importance of just taking a deep breath once in a while can be so helpful for everyone in the family.
Amanda: How important is it to you that your children understand the importance of yoga on the mind/body?
Stephanie: Although both of my children are still small (ages 4 & 6), I am very aware of the challenges they will face, both scholastically and socially. Teaching children early in their lives about kindness and forgiveness gives them coping techniques they can continue to develop as they mature. It's my hope it will help them become more compassionate, caring and well adjusted individuals.
Amanda: What is an example of a yoga technique that is applicable to children as young as yours?
Stephanie: My son is a model student when it comes to utilizing deep breathing techniques for coping. I have practiced this with him since he was a year old. We use it often to help him calm after a particularly frustrating event. He is a great at it!
Amanda: When did you make the leap to teaching adults?
Stephanie: It wasn't until I was well into adulthood that I actually wanted to teach adults. For me, becoming an instructor was a way to hold myself accountable for what I believe in about fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle. It only seemed natural to carry my love for teaching fitness and movement through the life span. So today, I teach Mommy & Me classes, preschool classes, after school classes, family classes and adult classes. All ages and stages of life.
Amanda: How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
Stephanie: I have taken a lot (and I mean A LOT) of different classes in my life thus far. Often, the emphasis is on pushing harder, calling out your mistakes, shaming yourself into doing better, competing with your neighbor. This type of teaching doesn't work for me. Don't get me wrong, I love to work hard and I like a little competition sometimes, but I prefer a more intrinsically motivated and softer approach. In my classes, I like to coach the students side by side, embrace their strengths, focus on the wins, point out their improvements, and help them find their motivation from within. A lot of self love going on around here and it is very important to me!
Amanda: Is there a class that you would recommend for someone more intermediate? What about advanced?
Stephanie: Each class I teach I will always provide modifications for students specific body types and abilities. What I love most about teaching core classes and Bootcamp Ballerinas is that the class should get harder the more you take it. Meaning, as student become the more in tune with their bodies, the deeper they can feel their muscles work. Therefore, creating an intrinsic challenge to lengthen, strengthen, contract or release in new and deeper ways.
Amanda: How do your workouts/classes differ from those out there?
Stephanie: My heart will forever be devoted to the movement of ballet. I'd like to think all or most of my classes have a bit of grace and poise integrated. Whether we are pointing the toes in Bootcamp Ballerinas, aligning the spine and elongating the side body in yoga, or centering and strengthening the core in COREfit and CARDIOfit, each class that I teach is meant to help a person become a stronger, more confident and graceful self. Even my Blissful Owl kids classes utilize a graceful form of growth, from seedling to tree.
Amanda: And this is what lead you to develop Bootcamp Ballerinas?
Stephanie: Yes! Bootcamp Ballerinas is my own creation. It is a marrying of two loves -- the barre technique I learned in college and the high intensity fitness classes I fell in love with after college. Think ballet company strength training meets interval training without all the splits and pirouettes and with all the strength and cardio work. I have yet to find a class quite like it!
Amanda: As a student what is your favorite class to participate in?
Stephanie: All of them! Anything with good grooves and happy moves that makes me feel like I got either a good stretch, got stronger, or burned off some energy. I have yet to find a class at Fit Club that I do not like!
Amanda: What's your favorite quote or mantra that you can't live without?
Stephanie: I have two! First, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with just a single step.' And, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Amanda: What makes you laugh/joyful?
Stephanie: Seeing others happy! I am so aware of how angry and frustrated so many people are in this world for so many different and valid reasons. Through dance and exercise, if I am privileged enough to witness a moment of happiness in someone's life or better yet be the cause for someone's happiness.....then I am one joyful chick!
Thank you to Stephanie for taking the time out of her very full schedule to speak with me. If you would like to check out one of her classes for free, be sure to grab your free trial class today!
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.