I’ve taken classes with Fred and Elisabeth at Exhale Spa for twenty years now. We started at a little townhouse with classes called Lottie Berk. All the nursery school moms in my neighborhood used to meet there and compete to get into the 9am class after we dropped off our kids. I think I must have started because I was one of those women who thought it was a sound idea to have club sandwiches and fries for breakfast when I was pregnant. I remember I had a nine pound baby the first time and I only lost 7 pounds in the hospital. That was really depressing when I got on the scale in my home bathroom. I remember lying on the floor on the cold marble and just hiding my head in a towel for half an hour thinking how am I going to get fit ever again…and so I found Fred and Elisabeth to help me work off the 60 pounds I’d gained…it took almost a year I think.
Now Fred and Elisabeth run everything over at Exhale Spa. The women in New York rush to the classes like crazy women on a rampage. As I take the classes now, I look around the room and marvel at the bodies of women my age, younger, and then older into their seventies…and possible a few in their eighties. My favorite yoga teacher there is named Diana Rilov and she is in her seventies. Every time I take her class I think, “I don’t really need this, it’s just stretching, I should be lifting weights”…and then 45 minutes in, this spiritual feeling comes over and starts healing me. I find I’m totally stretched out, blissed out, and really sore for 24 hours. So whatever Diana does, it’s intense and kind of sneaks up on you.
Fred and Elisabeth are insanely good teachers. They push you and stand as healthy role models before the class and they make you think, “I want to be like them in every way. I want to be as intentional as they are with everything they seem to do.”
Fred and Elisabeth have a loyal following because, as corny as it sounds, they are beautiful inside and out. I mean that. They have fabulous physiques, but they stand straight like sixteen year old ballerinas and as they breathe, they exude an inner calm and peace about them.
I wanted to include them in my novel, IT HAPPENS IN THE HAMPTONS because they are coveted people in the set of women I write about. And most of all, because they are just unique New York gems that make this city sparkle.