Exercise Astronauts!



2nd Ave & E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

Neighborhood: Upper East Side

On a cold icy Thursday in a duplex on the Upper East Side with high windows: well cared-for plants and a spiral staircase lead to a mirrored room. There stands an erect youthful female figure, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn, with a dancer’s sillhouette.

Her name is Anita Koffler. She awaits her devoted exercise participants and fellow exercise pupils who have excelled in her Stretch and Strengthening class. Anita inspires faith and confidence to do so many multifaceted movements with bars and dynabands and do them we do. Anita is a pro superlative mature exercise instructor is a phenomenon par excellence and inspires her exercise class to go to places where they have never been.

“Good.” We are stretching North, South, East and West and now we do a back stretch. Anita stands in front of her class with a beaming smile in all her agile athletic glory. Her extensive experience with exercise protocol also covers martial arts and Thai message therapy. “One two three four five six seven eight nine ten.” Like a choreographer keeping time for her dancers, Anita counts softly as we lift our legs, constellated in a pretzel position around the legs of our chairs.

We feel like champion players as our spines, muscles and joints are replenished, strengthened and unknotted. Her finesse and professional panache extend to her deep personal understanding of everyone in her class. She is a magnificent teacher, friend and adviser on all of our exercise needs. A role model to all of us. A diversity of private clients. She has worked with people from all walks of life.

She would be at home in a space station preparing astronauts for the physical strain of the journey to Mars or anywhere in the galaxy or doing a demanding Balanchine Ballet workout but we’re fortunate to have her train us at home here on Earth on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Anita herself is still reaching higher and higher and adding more to her exercise regimen with Pilates and also putting on boxing gloves and stepping into a fast step routine of olympic fervor and violent, pugilistic ecstasy. We are all in exercise heaven and sometimes we surprise ourselves with what we can do. My fellow exercise partner and friend Rosalind, a tango student as well, gives me a toothy Hollywood smile. We stand before Anita with Pilates rings doing the impossible.

Anita is our exercise ideal. Our spines, muscles and joints are replenished, strengthened and unknotted. As the class ends we breathe through her meditation and she tells us, “Put your thoughts in little bubbles.”

“You’re more than this body,” Anita continues. “When all of you came here, you all had halos over your heads and those halos got bigger.” Yes, why don’t all of you put your thoughts in little bubbles and go and register with Anita’s class?

The fee for the classes are reasonable and the classes are a good full hour long.

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