Christina Schwefel, owner of Go Figure Barre studio, was talking directly to me: “You can do it. Just a little bit more.” She had to be; no one ELSE was taking a break from the micro movements in the Figure Method class. Hmmmm… perhaps there’s a reason they all look so toned and fit? Come to think of it, those ballerinas are in amazing shape. Maybe there IS something to this Barre workout stuff??? Christina deftly moved us from mat to barre and back again as she covered all the muscle groups in the body.
I was so impressed with Christina’s class, I sat down to learn more about the woman behind Go Figure. A Psychologist and a Professor, Christina opened Go Figure Barre Studio Nantucket in 2012. “I teach Psychology at Columbia University. “I am not practicing right now because it involves deep, intense relationships with people, and I’ve chosen to take a break while I raise my children.”
A dedicated Barre studio, Go Figure differentiates itself from other Barre classes with higher repetitions of slower, more sustained movements. The founder, Cindy Sites, developed a program inspired by classical ballet, but made it more knee, joint, and back friendly. Most of the teachers have classical ballet or other performing arts training, and ballet physiology and anatomy are woven through the classes. Ages range from teens to 80’s, classes are open to all levels, and it’s not all women in the classes!
Christina explained, “We are in our third season and I know almost everyone in the class. We have a sense of community that I am so grateful for. The Go Figure studio is mirrored for a reason. We want people to embrace their reflection. It’s about the support of musculature in class. Throughout class, we are consistently internally toning the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. The benefit of the method goes well beyond the cut of the arm. We want women to notice that they feel taller and stronger.”
Adult Modern Dance classes are held Monday nights and Adult Ballet on Tuesdays. Christina is looking forward to adding more classes as the summer gets underway. The studio is home to Nantucket Ballet, a year-round ballet studio which has grown from 10 students to over 60 in the last year. The smallest ballerinas (ages 3 and up) and girls who want to strengthen their pointe skills currently study at the studio, and in the summer there are a number of American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey students who join the classes.
What does “A Delicious Lifestyle” mean to you?
“A Delicious Lifestyle is about savoring moments in life. Remembering to pause and savor the beautiful weather, especially on Nantucket, with its energy and the people. It’s not just about the body, exercise, or food, but remembering to stop and take it all in.”
What brought you to Nantucket and what keeps you here?
“My husband and I both came to the island as children. We had such fond memories of being here, especially of family time. It was no coincidence that we started coming when we were starting our own family.”
How do you re-charge?
“For me, recharging means getting away. Time to myself is sacred and very important. I do not feel guilty about it. I make time for myself every week. My husband and I try to find a night away when we can to reconnect, be together, eat good food and sleep!”
When you need to shift your mood, what techniques do you use?
“Because of the ages of my children, it really is about protecting my space. If it’s gotten too intense in the household, I will call for backup and try to find even 15-20 minutes to go get a coffee or juice or something that FEELS like it is for me. If I don’t have that option, it is always helpful to walk away and not engage so I can step back, reanalyze and return to the situation, hopefully with a new focus.”
How do you keep healthy, in body, mind, and spirit?
I meditate when I can find the space and time. I aim to take four Figure Method classes a week. It’s changed my relationship to my back. I had a 30-degree curve from Scoliosis with chronic low back pain, especially during my pregnancy. I took classes throughout my pregnancy and then especially post-partum, and it helped my spine and my posture. It alleviated my low back pain completely and corrected the curvature while strengthening my cranky shoulders, knees, and ankles. Most importantly, that hour helped me to gain my confidence and to get my body back.
I’m Italian-American and believe Food is Love. I really enjoy a good meal. Growing up in Boston, my family sat for long meals, with no rush. I believe in breaking bread as a family; it keeps my spirit happy. In my family, we sit for 45 minutes at Breakfast, and the same for Dinner. We have a rule: we all try new foods! If we don’t like it, don’t have to eat the rest of it.
On a busy day, what choices would you make for your health if you have:
10 minutes: Drink a green juice.
30 minutes: Take a walk outside.
60 minutes: Take a Figure Method class.
Do you have any “Go To” Health Tips (or tricks to keep yourself motivated???)?
I need a buddy if I’m going for a walk or a run. Whenever I’m driving in a car, sitting at a desk, or standing in an elevator, I think about the posture we talk about all the time in Figure Method classes: driving my navel to spine and toning the lower abdominals; I make sure to roll the shoulders back and keep my chest open.
What are some of your favorite Healthy Eating choices?
Green juice! I get pretty bad sugar cravings, and juice keeps me away from the brownies. I love kale, especially crispy kale. I have also been experimenting with almond meal and flour to make great brownies. Click HERE FOR RECIPE
What are some of your favorite things to do on Nantucket you make sure to do regularly?
We love driving out to Great Point. And Shhhhh! I love Pocomo. I feel fortunate because the shoulder season here is so beautiful. When it gets so busy in the summer, I remind myself that the fall is coming and I will get a chance to go to the restaurants and the beaches.
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