June 2013 | Seattle, Washington
"Romana explained to me how important the design of the equipment was for the client to achieve the length
and strength that Joe intended with his designs, designs that have been carried on by Gratz."
- Lauren Stephen, Owner & Instructor
Pilates Seattle International
Founded in 1993, by Lauren Stephen, Lori Coleman-Brown, and Sean Gallagher, Pilates Seattle International (PSI) is a classical Pilates studio offering private, semi-private, and group sessions in the newly revived and beautiful South Lake Union neighborhood in downtown Seattle, Washington. This fantastic studio space is fully equipped with all Gratz apparatus featuring: Reformers, Cadillacs, Wunda Chairs, Wall Units, a High Chair, a Baby Chair, Small Barrels, Spine Correctors, Pedi-poles, Foot Correctors, Ladder Barrels, Guillotine, Push Up Bars, Swedish Bars, and Magic Circles. With over 6000 square feet of space, this spacious studio can house all of the Gratz equipment while having ample space dedicated for group Mat and Wall Unit classes. The studio floor plan is filled with natural light from high ceilings, tall windows, hardwood floors, and natural colors to create an energizing and uplifting place to learn and practice Pilates.
As one of a select group of studios around the world, and the first on the West Coast, Pilates Seattle International, serves as a training center for True Pilates (also known as Romana’s Pilates). For over twenty years, PSI has trained hundreds of well-qualified and certified True Pilates instructors, with the guidance of Romana Kryzanowska, her daughter Sari Mejia Santo, and all of Romana’s Pilates gifted Instructor Trainers. The studio is actively involved in teaching and promoting classical Pilates and offers workshops, seminars and continuing education opportunities for teachers, students, and clients. We host guest instructors from around the world. Some of the renowned teachers in the Pilates world that have taught here are: Romana Kryzanowka, Sari Mejia Santo, Cynthia Lochard, Juanita Lopez, Jay Grimes, Roxanne Richards-Huang, Trish Garland, Mari Winsor and many more…
Lauren Stephen, is Founder, Director, and co-owner of Pilates Seattle International (PSI) with her husband Steve, a “UEFA B” Licensed soccer coach who has given up the world of soccer for Pilates. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Lauren has become one of a few select Senior Instructor Trainers within the True Pilates / Romana’s Pilates organization. As a SeniorInstructor Trainer, Lauren has traveled around the world teaching workshops, individual clients, and aspiring teachers. Lauren’s direct approach and finely tuned teaching techniques make her one of the most versatile instructors, allowing her to work well with all clients. Her resume includes experience in equestrian sports, downhill skiing, and dance. She holds a BFA in Theater and Dance from State University of NY. Lauren is extremely proud of the flourishing organization she and her husband Steve have created at PSI. It is one that consistently offers the highest standard of Pilates instruction, in a space that energizes the mind and body 7 days a week, since 1993.
During the early years, we were so fortunate to have Romana and Sari visiting us at least 4 times a year, but we didn’t have Gratz equipment, so every time they came to our studio to teach seminars they were very frustrated with our apparatus always saying “Why don’t you have Gratz? You must get Gratz equipment. These proportions are wrong. The equipment is not functioning as Joe intended!”
Finally, after about 4 years, when we were up and running independently, we had the opportunity to purchase a used Gratz Reformer. Our clients, and our own bodies, changed more in the first 6 months using that Reformer than the previous 4 years working with the non-Gratz apparatus! You could see how everything Romana had been telling me was absolutely true; the proportions of the Gratz equipment are more universally correct for bodies. With the proper apparatus and proper instruction, one’s body changes faster and with more dramatic results. From then on there was no going back. We systematically sold off our non-Gratz equipment replacing our equipment, piece by piece, with Gratz apparatus.
After years of teaching I came to understand what Romana had been trying to explain to me from the beginning about how important the design of the equipment was for the client to achieve the length and strength that Joe intended with his designs; designs that have been carried on by Gratz. When people do not have a deep understanding and knowledge of Joe’s work, and make changes to his apparatus’s designs, the result is equipment that ends up pulling one out of their “Powerhouse”, as opposed to the well-made Gratz equipment that puts one in the most advantageous position to strengthen and activate the “Powerhouse”.