How I Found Essentrics® and Learned to Live Without Pain

“No pain, no gain.” — right?

As a fitness instructor and a long-time student of classical ballet, I used to live by those words. I ignored sciatica in my right hip and lower back, and the aches and pains that inevitably followed dancing and other exercises. I measured the quality of my workouts by how tough it was to walk the next day.

Then, a few years ago, a friend took me to an Essentrics® class. It was held in a gymnasium, and it was packed. The 80 people in that room obviously knew something that I didn’t, and by the end of that first hour, I knew it, too: Essentrics® was unlike any other workout I had ever done. And for my body’s sake, I needed to keep doing it.

Yes, there were elements of tai chi, yoga, barre and my beloved ballet (Essentrics® creator Miranda Esmonde-White, host of PBS’ long-running “Classical Stretch” was a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada). But Essentrics® was something else altogether.

I definitely worked hard – Essentrics® moves through every muscle chain in the body, and I clearly wasn’t hitting some of them with weight-training and mixed martial arts. But I felt energized rather than exhausted. And I wasn’t in pain.

It was a revelation.

After three months of doing Essentrics® two or three times a week, something amazing happened: My sciatica was gone. And it hasn’t come back.

The teacher for that first class (and subsequent mentor), Master Instructor Jenny Bertrand, likes to say that in Essentrics®, we don’t train for pain. “Train for pain”, she says, ‘and you’ll be in pain.”

Instead, an Essentrics® workout activates all your muscles, frees your joints and increases mobility. It’s dynamic and easy to follow, and the progression of equipment-free exercises relieves tension. It draws on the flowing movements of tai chi, which create health and balance; the strengthening theories behind ballet, which create long, lean, flexible muscles; and the healing principles of physiotherapy, which create a pain-free body.

Who Essentrics® is for:
Women and men of all ages and fitness levels who…
• Enjoy a dynamic workout with motivating music
• Are looking to tone their body without weights
• Want to increase flexibility and overall mobility
• Want muscular definition without bulk
• Have tight hips, back and shoulders and need increased range of motion
• Are recovering from injury but still want to keep their body active
• Have had past injuries and seek a safe workout
• Are seeking a workout to help relieve pain
• Are runners, cyclists, spinners or are training for an endurance event (marathon, etc.)

What Essentrics® does:
For Body Shaping
• Defines the waist
• Creates toned, lean and strong arms
• Slenderizes thighs and quads
• Creates flat, defined abs
• Improves posture
• Lifts the butt
• Targets and firms every muscle in the body

For Health & Performance
• Increases full body flexibility
• Helps relieve pain
• Unlocks tight muscles and joints
• Strengthens the spine and core
• Helps to treat and prevent back pain
• Improves agility and speed for sports
• Supports injury prevention
• Helps speed recovery time through increased blood flow

Benefits include:
• Pain relief
• Unlocks tight muscles and joints
• Increases flexibility and mobility
• Treats and prevents back pain
• Strengthens the spine and core
• Improves posture
• Provides tone, lean, defined muscles

The Essentrics® workout is perfect for injury recovery and prevention, pain relief, stress release and promoting healing.

Remember a time when you were more flexible? Essentrics® can help you find that lost range of motion by rebalancing your body.

Remember a time when you weren’t in pain? Essentrics® can help you find that again, too.


Written by Lisa Ryckman, instructor for our January 14th Essentrics® class. Call or visit the front desk for more information.