My approach as a Pilates teacher is to share with my clients my years of experience with movement in supportive, safe and personalized one-on-one sessions to challenge and advance each individual’s fitness goals. No matter your fitness level, I appropriately modify movement and exercises to meet your needs. I observe with detail and care to help you find better movement patterns, alignment, gain strength and balance and heighten your overall body awareness.
I have been a Pilates instructor since 2001. I was first introduced to Pilates through modern dance training. During my professional dance career, teaching Pilates and practicing Pilates kept my body balanced and injury free. The dance world also exposed me to other complementary movement methods like Feldenkrais, the Alexander technique, the Klein technique and Yoga, all of which give me a more holistic understanding of movement and body dynamics.
I received my first teacher training with Pilates veteran Franh Lehen at Groundfloor Exercise in Manhattan, and taught there for three years. In 2005 I received full apparatus Pilates certification at Kane School of Core Integration, where I studied with Kelly Kane. I owned Indigo Studio in the South Slope from 2005 to 2016 and had a great run. While owning Indigo I enjoyed mentoring, training and certifying teachers. As my life transitioned from professional dancer to mother of two kids, having my work set up as private practice and focusing on one-on-one training become a better fit. Over many years of teaching I have had the great privilege of working with a diverse clientele including children, teenagers, dancers, athletes, seniors and clients recovering from injuries or health conditions. Working with such a broad population continually inspires me to deepen my knowledge.
I have attended workshops including
- Pre/Post-natal Pilates
- Pilates for Osteoporosis
- Hip and Knee injuries
- Spinal Conditions
- Cancer Patients
- Multiple Sclerosis and others
Currently I find inspiration in somatic movement through taking sessions with practitioner Michelle Cohen.
I am originally from Slovenia where my dance training and career began. I graduated from the National Music and Ballet Conservatory in Ljubljana with honors and at age 18 joined the Slovenian National Ballet. In 1997 I came to NYC to study at the renowned Merce Cunningham Studio where I received a scholarship and pursued my dream of studying modern dance and choreography. I have danced with many New York choreographers, and had my own dance company.
As a side note, in case you don’t know about my tiny country, Slovenia is in central Europe. Slovenians are passionate skiers on the sunny side of the Alps. I grow up in a family of skiers and trained to ski in my youth; I continue to love the sport.
I live in Brooklyn with my skiing, cycling, hiking-enthusiast husband and our two daughters.
Spela Sterle Pilates practice has been a game changer for me. As a runner, I found strengthening my core to be very helpful and Spela has been integral to my weekly workout routine. The one-on-one interaction with a certified pilates instructor has made me think about my body and muscles in a different way. – Rohi, Brooklyn
When I started working with Spela four years ago, I hadn’t been physically active since my last child was born, I had chronic back and neck pain, and two knees still fragile from old injuries. Spela transformed me. An expert on form, she guided me through my first Pilates classes with endless patience but also a determination to rebuild my strength. Her expert understanding of anatomy and excellent listening skills enable her to tailor exercises to address my specific areas of concern while rebuilding my overall strength and flexibility. She is wonderful about making tiny corrections to my form during the session that make a huge difference. After a few months of working with her my body felt ten years younger. She makes the time fly past, and I leave feeling amazing! – Lisa, Brooklyn
I have been a client of Spela’s for many years, and have especially benefited from private sessions. I began Pilates because I am an artist who works standing up and my back was hurting, limiting the time I could work. (I have scoliosis and spondylolisthesis). Pilates quickly relieved my pain, and when mild tenderness returns I now know how to relieve it by exercise and stretching. Spela is very sensitive to individual needs, is highly trained and knowledgeable, and is extremely precise in her instructions; she monitors my form when doing the exercises extremely well. Besides which she is very encouraging, kind, and fun to work with! – Joyce, Brooklyn
Before I started Pilates with Spela seven years ago I had tried various personal trainers through a traditional gym. I found myself constantly feeling injured or pressured to push too hard to progress athletically that wasn’t appropriate for my body or age. My goal when I started Pilates was to stay in shape and to help improve the arthritis I was suffering from in my hip joints. Spela’s attentive teaching has taught me a kind of body awareness I never had before and today I’m doing things in Pilates I never thought I’d be able to do. I think that after working with Spela over the past eight years that I’m in better shape at 54 then I was at 44.
Spela’s reassuring teaching style has kept me motivated and committed to come back each week. Spela is incredibly attentive to making sure that each movement is precise and she’s really taught me how to find perfect form on my own. She’s helped me to learn to apply what I’ve learned in Pilates to my daily life and I have no doubt that what I’ve learned from her will help me age gracefully and without injury. – Gina, Brooklyn
My husband and I (76 and 84) have worked with Spela for several years. While she keeps a focus on core and alignment, nothing is by rote. She is attuned to our particular physical problems — pains, weaknesses, back and knee problems — and works creatively to improve them. She’s a good listener and talented analyst of the body, attentive to nuances. She has been able to point out habitual movement patterns and misalignments and suggests ways to change them to improve strength and flexibility. We are both stronger, straighter and moving with more greater ease as a result of working with her. I think she is truly a unique. And an added bonus: she is a lovely person and fun to work with. -Ann, Brooklyn
I have been studying Pilates with Spela for about four years. I’ve danced since age 15 and I’m presently 56. I did serious dance training when I was young. But I’ve suffered chronic neck and back pain for many years and it had become worse in my 50’s when I tried to increase my dance activity. An orthopedist suggested I strengthen my core by doing Pilates. She believed that would help with all my physical problems. I was concerned about doing this because I had tried Pilates in the past and it had always triggered pain. My physical therapist specifically recommended Spela Sterle and my work with her has been a revelation.
Spela is also a dancer and used Pilates to correct many of the faults of her own dance training. Her understanding of the body is both academic and experiential. Her work with me is as much about release as it is about effort. Pilates practice has become a kind of meditation which allows me to increase my body awareness and concentrate deeply. With Spela’s guidance I now work on my body in a way that is actually helping me to stay strong and flexible, keep out of pain and improve my range of movement even as I age. I really attribute this development to Spela. She’s probably the best teacher I’ve ever had in terms of developing efficient, released movement. She has a warm nurturing manner that supports even as she challenges me. I can’t recommend her highly enough. – Judy, Brooklyn