Instructor Focus: Heather Hephner

We love our incredible Breathe instructors! They give so much of themselves each and every time they teach and bring their own unique style and wisdom to their mats, as students as well as teachers. We have so enjoyed getting to know them all a bit better and in order to help you do the same, we asked them each a handful of questions...

Q: What brought you to your mat for the very first time and when was that?

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“I started doing Pilates about 2 years after my third child was born which was 7 years ago.  I was an athlete growing up and swam competitively for 10 years along with every other sport.  Fitness has always been a huge part of my life.  My goals for wellness started to change after I had kids.  A friend of mine suggested trying pilates and I dragged my husband along for the ride and we fell in love.  I love pilates for so many reasons but I wanted to feel good after a work out and not feel sore.  Pilates did just that.  I realized that I could be strong and flexible and all of a sudden I was standing taller, I was less stressed and I felt really happy.  Pilates is not just an exercise it is a lifestyle and I realized that all of a sudden I could throw a ball to my son farther, I could be more flexible when I did yoga, and I had more energy overall.  I felt like I was doing a dance when I practiced and the mind and body connection was so different than anything I had ever experienced before.  And one of the women I took class with was 85 and she was still able to do all the things I could in my 30’s.  Knowing that I could do this long term and feel this good is what made me really LOVE it!”

Q: What do you find the most fulfilling part of teaching?

“I love the community that pilates attracts.  My classes are so diverse as far as age and the difference in clients flexibility and strength.  But there is something for everyone and I have been challenged with finding modifications to fit everybody’s needs and it has been so fun.  The best feeling is when a client comes up to me and says ‘my back pain is gone’ or ‘I feel so strong’.  I love helping people feel good.  Joseph Pilates, the founder of this beautiful exercise once said ‘The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.’  I find this to be so true.  I love teaching pilates because it is so safe and often used to treat chronic pain.  The better you become at Pilates the more challenging the exercises become and although it is a gentle exercise there is an attention that exists that really changes your body awareness.  You become so aware of different muscles and all of a sudden you are using muscles you never knew existed!”

Q: What is your favorite posture and why?

“Oh man, this is a tough question because I LOVE so many!  But if I had to pick I would say Mermaid.  This can be done on the mat, reformer or the Cadillac.  I love how it helps to open up the hips and elongate the sides of the body.  It is a great exercise to either begin with or end with as well and I always put it in my class now and my clients, I know, are grateful because it feels so good.”

Join Heather for her weekly Pilates Mat class:
Thursdays 10-11am.