0 2 Aspen – a Breath of Fresh Air
February 5, 2004
The workout gets a stylish makeover at the sparky new O 2 Aspen studio run by three fit and feisty exer-babes, Carrie Bellotti, Katie Kiernan, and Piper Rothberg. The place is part Pilates/Yoga studio, part saucy boutique with eye-stopping apparel that will likely see more cocktail hours than exercise sessions. Entering O 2, your senses are soothed by the tinkling notes of oriental music, along with gurgling from the water fountains set here and there. Shiny, mellow golden walls and floors of polished stone add an air of uptown elegance. In the middle of the clothing and jewelry display is a large, glass-enclosed yoga room. Pilates classes are conducted downstairs.
500 W. Main http://www.02aspen.com (970) 925-4002
Headquartered in a Victorian building painted in midnight blue, the studio is all about “feeling great starting from the inside and working our way out,” say the partners. “We find that one of the first things people want to do when they get into great shape is to get new things,” adds Katie, “cool new stuff to express all the wonderful things that are happening when you are disciplined and take the time to take care of yourself.” Like, for instance, a $3500 necklace shining with gorgeous sapphires and citron stones.
The O 2 style mavens have hit on a savvy way to satisfy the twin primitive urges which ceaselessly drive the soul of Woman: the need to obtain an awesome bod, and the urge to shop.
Here the woman who is undergoing the sometimes arduous task of remaking her body will find her reward in an instant, on-premises shopping fix.
The newly-svelte can show off that perfect form in sleek nylon and lycra fabrics along with the body-skimming styles of Nuala and Susana Monaco. Outfits are mix-and-match, sporty yet sophisticated, with pants, skirts and tops in all the right colors. Teeny halter tops and stretchy pants by Danskin and Prana go the athletic distance, whether on the yoga mat or the mountain biking trail.
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For men, the girls have made it rugged, practical, and simple. They feature multi-season active-wear designed in a layering system perfect for the mountain sports of biking, running, or hanging out.
The shop also carries oil lamps in beautifully-shaped glass bottles with little colorful stones piled on the bottom, and an exclusive line of O 2 skincare products in which, naturally, oxygen is a prime ingredient.
The get-down-to-business part of O 2 involves classes in yoga and Pilates. For the yoga crowd, choices include such varieties as power yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Kundalini, disciplines that have been practiced for over 5000 years. The idea is to use yoga to collect, build and store energy in the body, with the goal that this renewed vitality will create poise, inner confidence, better posture, and a “healthy glow.”
The Pilates method was developed by Joseph Pilates, who created his conditioning program in the 1920’s to rehabilitate soldiers wounded in World War I. Since then, it’s been a favorite with athletes, yoga devotees, professional dancers and regular folks who want to get in shape. Ann, an instructor at 0 2, says that though she was on the Aspen ski patrol for 15 years, she didn’t really become a great skier until she got into Pilates. “I am so much more balanced and aware of where I am in my body,” she explains. “And it helps in mountain biking too – I don’t wobble anymore; I can hit a rock, stop, and just keep on going.”
The Pilates exercises are intended to strengthen and stretch the muscles rather than bulk the body up, say its practitioners, thus building fluidity. The various maneuvers can be performed on the mat, or with the aid of furniture-like devices called the reformer, the cadillac, the chair or the barrel. The cadillac looks like a bunk bed with an odd arrangement of pulleys, bars and stirrup straps at the end of flexible springs. During a workout, the individual uses all these attachments for different exercises, of which there are hundreds.
Piper Rothberg is in charge of the Pilates training at O 2. Her background includes a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, a masters in herbology from the School of Natural Medicine in Boulder, a certified sports nutritionist degree from the National Institute of Nutritional Education in Denver, and certifications from beginning to advanced in Pilates from the Barbara Huttner Studio. She has witnessed wonderful results in her clients and herself with the Pilates method, she says. Carrie Bellotti also has Pilates training credentials.
Private and group classes are offered at O 2, on either a drop-in or membership basis. The place has also been a magnet for bridal parties and other special event girlfriend groups. “We set up the yoga room with flowers and candles and all the bridesmaids have such fun exercising and having a great time together,” says Katie.