Spread around the perimeter of a studio in Rye Brook, about 20 women in spandex lift up on their toes while grasping a ballet bar. Sounds easy enough, until they reach the second or third set of leg lifts. That’s when sweat starts to bead and bodies begin shaking in a Bar Method class.
Women that do a variety of yoga, cardio and strengthening workouts every day will feel muscles they did not know existed at their first Bar Method class, practitioners say.
Journalist Burr Leonard invented the Bar Method as a spin-off of the Lotte Berk Method in 1991. The trademarked Bar Method incorporates the principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, and the science of physical therapy and interval training.
Rye Brook’s Bar Method newest owner Sara Giller practiced the method for 10 years, before she took over the local studio one year ago. Since then, Giller has added classes and trained new instructors. She is committed to maintaining a welcoming studio that promotes physical and mental health. People from the Sound Shore area and Connecticut have become regular members at the Rye Brook location.
Giller grew up in New York City but frequented Rye with her parents, who were members of the Apawamis Club. After graduating from the University of Vermont ten years ago, Giller moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. She had always been an athlete and committed to personal fitness. But after years of high impact workouts, Giller felt she should try something new. Her friend dragged her to a 6 a.m. Bar Method class ten years ago.
“I could feel my body getting stronger and shaking and I could tell my body wasn’t undergoing a lot of stress,” Giller said of her first class. “So I could get the same things in terms of how my body looks and feels, but I don’t have to pound on in and the joints don’t have to take all the pressure. It was so easy to get hooked.”
Giller quickly became “obsessed with the low impact workout. She started working at the studio in LA and soon became the manager of three Bar Method studios there. Two years ago Giller decided it was time to move back home to New York, and hoped to open a Bar Method here.
Former owner of Rye Brook Bar Method, Jane Culleford, hired Giller as an instructor in 2011. One year later, Culleford moved to Northern California with her family and Giller excitedly took ownership of the studio.
Since then Giller has added more classes, trained new teachers, added a monthly fitness challenge and regularly arranges social events outside of the studio.
She aims to “enhance the feel of community inside and outside of the studio,” in order to help people reach personal fitness goals and have fun.
“I think exercise is one of the most important things you can do for mental health as well as physical health,” Giller said. “It is hard to find place you like to go or want to go to on daily or weekly basis…It is important to create a space that is fun.”
To read more about what is involved with a Bar Method class read Patch contributor Katie Walsh’s description of her experience at Rye Brook’s Bar Method here.