As I recover from jet-lag, and digest one of the busiest weeks of 2018 (so far!) its hard to know where to begin. I’ve just returned from a week in England, training with none other than Esther Fairfax. This was my second immersion in training and practicing the original Lotte Berk Technique with Esther (Lotte’s only daughter, and carrier of her mother’s legacy and method).
Fitness for Your Entire Life
Esther is no ordinary barre expert. First of all, she is 83 years old. Many of her peers are thankful just to be able to walk without the assistance of a walker or even a cane. But Esther refuses to relate to this – she takes action to ensure her health and wellness, every day. She continues to practice and teach a rigorous exercise regimen that has bestowed endless benefits. I hope to be able to pursue them all, as successfully as Esther has in the coming decades of my own life. Esther talks about her upbringing in a most unconventional and creative family, and her inspirations – for example, a consistent exposure throughout her life to artists, dancers, actors and performers of all genres. She shares all this conversationally, while she moves gracefully from exercises prone on the floor, then lying on her back with feet under the barre while working the abdominals, and then standing tall at the barre, or moving with strength and confidence in the center of the room.
Art & Expression
As she demonstrates the myriad exercises with razor sharp precision, she emphasizes how critical it is to execute them with the best possible form. At the same time she can’t express strongly enough that this exercise method is not just a class. She firmly sees the method as a true work of art, through which participants find not only impressive physical transformation, but expressive self-actualization.
Community & Connection
Another notable quality that runs strong in her studio, is community and connection. The friendship and camaraderie she has seen and personally experienced is a crucial part of living a long, healthy life. Experts have long known that people that have close relationships and the support of a healthy community live longer and more vibrant lives into their elder years. Esther is absolutely a testament to this fact. I spent hours interviewing Esther, and members of her home studio community and this is an area that can’t be underestimated for everyone touched by her classes.
As I jump into my routine back at home in our Barre & Soul community – I am so proud to see so many points of alignment between what I’ve learned and internalized in my time studying and training in England with Esther, and what I’ve been working so hard to cultivate in my own studios.
Every day I work closely with our fantastic team of managers in each Barre & Soul studio to ensure we’re all on the same page with regards to the exceptional experience that is delivered to each and every person that enters our studios.
There is so much more to share in upcoming blogs, about the method itself and the details of the training and its benefits. But underlying that – I couldn’t be more inspired by the reminder of the deeper benefits that we offer our members. These benefits don’t seem to be a primary focus at most traditional gyms – fitness that can be sustained for life, art and expression, community and connection. But they’re at the core of our beloved Barre & Soul studios, offering a form of fitness, community, self-expression and joy that lasts a long and healthy lifetime.