Rejuvenating With Miranda Esmonde-White

By James Wallace Harris, Thursday, August 11, 2016

Update: 1/3/19. I did the Miranda Esmonde-White exercises all year during 2018 and it's made a significant difference in reducing the pain in my back. Systematic stretching does wonders.

Last year I discovered Miranda Esmonde-White on a special for PBS, based on her book, Aging Backwards: Reverse the Aging Process and Look 10 Years Younger in 30 Minutes a Day. You can watch Esmonde-White lecture about aging backward here. Esmonde-White focuses on how a loss of muscle mass affects us as we age, claiming if we start stretching we can reverse the aging process. (If we don’t wait too late.) As we age, we shrink and begin to hunch over. If we start stretching before that process has gone too far, we can reverse it. Just watch her lecture. Esmonde-White was born in 1949 and is two years older than I am. She’s tall, agile, bendy, balanced and graceful. She looks and moves like a much younger person.

Classical Stretch 10

I was quite impressed with her PBS special and ordered three copies of Classical Stretch – The Esmonde Technique: Core Workout for Christmas presents. Two were for friends who never exercise, and one for Annie, who’s addicted to it. She loved the video and regularly uses it. My two friends who never exercises, and who will remain anonymous, never used their DVDs. But testimonials from Annie are making them reconsider. And now that I’ve started with the exercises, they are worried its catching.

I recently went off my diet. I lose discipline now and then, and binge on unhealthy food. I quickly gained five pounds, started skipping some of my daily physical therapy exercises, and my back went out. I immediately returned to my diet and exercise routine, and slowly started turning things around. But while this was happening, I decided to try the Classical Stretch program. I figured I could use some extra help. The Core Workout I bought my friends was 55 minutes and wanted something shorter to do before PT. I researched on Amazon and found Classical Stretch – The Esmonde Technique: Complete Season 10 – Strength and Flexibility.  Thirty 23-minute lessons. I thought $70 was kind of expensive for a 4-DVD set since for $65 I can buy the entire three seasons of Star Trek original series on Blu-ray. But what sold me were the customer reviews that claimed it help their backs. $70 is not much compared to doctor visits.

I’ve never liked going to the gym, and especially disliked exercise classes like yoga, even though I like the concept of yoga. What I like about Classical Stretch is Miranda Esmonde-White has designed a workout that’s appealing to the aging me that requires no extra equipment, special clothes, and can be done practically anywhere and anytime. She claims we have 650 muscles and we need to systematically stretch them. I’m just starting out with this workout but I can already feel the difference. My back recovered in days, much faster than usual. And the rest of me feels different too. Moving around is easier. I notice my body much less. That might not mean much to someone who is young, but getting older is all about noticing the body.

Don’t let me mislead you. These exercises are easy to try, but hard to follow exactly like Esmonde-White. I think it’s going to be a while before I’m doing them right. I feel like a gorilla taking ballet lessons. The daily lessons are varied, and I assume after weeks or months, I’ll memorize them and won’t need the videos. Click on the image of the back of the video box below. It lists all the thirty lessons.

I’ve always wondered why classes for aerobics, yoga, or Pilates were mostly filled by women. Now I know. This kind of exercising is like learning to dance. Most women I know love dancing. Guys generally don’t. I’ve always felt completely inept and foolish trying to dance. I’m doing these exercises alone, and I don’t even worry about what I look like, or that I’m not doing them perfectly – I just keep doing them. The 23 minutes goes by pretty fast. It’s not an aerobic workout, but I get a bit winded. Esmonde-White is right, these stretches make you feel younger – or at least looser. Whenever my back goes out, it feels like I age ten years. So when my back feels better, I feel younger.

I’m hoping if I make these exercises a permanent routine, I’ll actually rejuvenate. I limit my activities now because of my back problems. I’m faithful again to my plant-based diet and losing weight. I hope between weight loss and these exercises I’ll feel young enough to want to travel, or just be more active.

[click on covers to enlarge]

Classical Stretch 10 - frontClassical Stretch 10 - back


8 thoughts on “Rejuvenating With Miranda Esmonde-White”

  1. This sounds good. I have found I don’t have the discipline to exercise by myself on any sort of regular basis. I need a class. I’ve been doing water aerobics for years, but have lately felt that is not enough. I am very aware of the hunched over thing and try always to stay straight. I’ve recently started a new Yoga and a new exercise class at the senior center. I thought I was gaining weight because my jeans won’t fasten, but my weight is not up. It must be that my shape is changing. Well, I kind of knew that, and I am not happy about it. This being old is work, if you want to keep having fun. Singing helps too — good for the lungs.

  2. Aging Backwards: Reverse the Aging Process and Look 10 Years Younger in 30 Minutes a Day. sounds intriguing. I’ll track down a copy. However, I go to our local Aquatic Fitness Center and walk around for an hour in the pool each day. As you noted, everyone needs to find the exercise routine they can maintain. I’ve found frolicking in the water is way more fun than a treadmill or bike. You have to keep moving!

  3. James, I saw this 2016 article on the bottom of my Google feed and I wanted to check in with you and see how it is going. I am an Essentrics (same as Esmonde Technique, same as Classical Stretch on PBS) Instructor in Charlotte, NC. I do have men in my classes and yes it is amazing. I personally have been helped and hear such improvements from my students. Although enjoyable by oneself, it really is helpful to be able to go to a live class too.
    You can find instructors by going to and see on top Find an Instructor . Happy New Year and keep moving!

  4. I’m with you, James, I’ve been doing season 10 for 2+ years. It helps with my back issues -mine from being a musician and 2 accidents in one year. Much success to you!

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