Movement Made Easy, the Gyrotonic Way: A holistic approach to movement designed to appeal to people of all ages and abilities.Jun 30, 2011 11:35AM ● By Courtney Leiva
Looking for a new and exciting way to shake up your workout routine? Perhaps it’s time to try a holistic approach to movement designed to appeal to people of all ages and abilities. The Gyrotonic Expansion System® consists of Gyrokinesis® and Gyrotonic® exercises, whose benefits, according to Gyrotonic.com, include “increased strength and flexibility, renewed energy and vitality and a general sense of calm and well-being.”
The Gyrotonic Expansion System was developed by Juliu Horvath, a professional swimmer, gymnast, and ballet dancer with the Romanian State Opera Ballet, who embarked on a spiritual journey after suffering an Achilles tendon injury. His search for wholeness and wellness led him to combine his love for yoga and dance and move beyond. Indeed, Horvath initially called his exercises “yoga for dancers.” Ease of movement is at the heart of Horvath’s system: As he says, “I want music in my body and poetry in my body, and I want to be skillful without struggle; it has to come without struggle.”
Gyrokinesis exercises work the entire body through gentle, fluid spinal movement and postures that are connected by corresponding breathing patterns, “making exercises appear and feel more like a dance and swimming than like traditional yoga.” The exercises work on joints and muscles gently and systematically while stimulating the body’s internal organs. The good news is that they can be done in your own home, with just a stool to sit on: No specialized equipment is needed. Magazines such as Elle, Time, and Entertainment Weekly have been reporting on the benefits of Gyrokinesis as it heals and strengthens the body. These exercises have already gained popularity among exercise enthusiasts and have garnered a celebrity following as well.
Gyrotonic exercise, while also synchronized to corresponding breathing patterns, is done using specialized equipment developed by Horvath. This equipment consists of the Pulley Tower, the Archway, the Leg Extension Unit, the Jumping Stretching Board, and the Gyrotoner. Most exercises are performed on the Pulley Tower, which uses even and constant resistance to eliminate the jarring effect of most conventional exercise equipment. The Archway, which looks like an ordinary ladder, features adjustable arms for each user’s comfort. The Leg Extension Unit is designed to flex the quadriceps without causing stress on the legs and knees; more than 30 different exercises can be performed on this device. The Jumping Stretching Board offers more than 60 unique exercises for users to try while reclining. Finally, the Gyrotoner helps improve the spine, arms, hips, and ankles.
All work to stretch and strengthen muscle while stimulating and strengthening the connective tissues surrounding the body’s joints. Gyrotonic equipment can now be found in gyms and health clubs worldwide and is easily adjusted to suit different heights and body types. And one doesn’t need to be an athlete to use Gyrotonic equipment; there are certified Gyrotonic trainers available in many locations, ready to work with people of all abilities and ages. The Mind Body Spirit Studio, 228 South Ave., in Fanwood, owned by licensed Gyrotonic teacher Shirley Wallitsch, is one of those. To find out more about the Gyrotonic Expansion System and to find a class near you, visit Gyrotonic.com. With this system’s unique and engaging principles, it might just give your Pilates routine a run for its money.
Freelancer Courtney Leiva has contributed to Patch.com’s Mahwah and Hopatcong editions. Leiva has also written for Bergen County Magazine and Love Twenty.Com, an online magazine geared toward girls in the college/career demographic.