Okay, I know….. the name is hard to pronounce (Is it something for Geriatrics? Did you say “Gin-and-Tonic?” Is that like a gyroscope?). Yeah, yeah, yeah. But hey, the word “Pilates” has evolved to become well-known, so I know the same thing will happen with “GYROTONIC® exercise.” We are the only fully-equipped studio in the Capital District offering this amazing exercise method, and locally it’s catching on… fast.
When you do a GYROTONIC® session for the first time, it’s gonna feel…. different. There are definitely some moves that you’ve never asked your spine or hips to do, and some concepts that are completely foreign, but it will make perfect sense before the hour is up (I didn’t say you’d have them mastered…. just that they’d make sense In a nutshell, here is what you’ll be accomplishing in a GYROTONIC® session:
1.) Decompressing your entire spine. So no more feeling collapsed in your posture, no more feeling hunched over , no more having it hurt to sit up straight.
2.) Increasing spinal range of motion. You will be extending and flexing your spine (“Arch and Curl”), side-bending it (opening your sides), and rotating or “spiraling” your spine with as much lift as your core can manage. So in essence, you will be like a screw spiraling into a piece of wood – with every turn, it lengthens a bit. That will be you.
3.) Learning that your arms start at your sternum. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. Figuring out how to move your arms from your trunk, and not from your shoulder joint, will really come in handy the next time you try to reach for something in the back seat of your car. Or the next time you serve a tennis ball, or swing your golf club.
4.) Learning that your hips = your sacrum = your low back. Working on hip range of motion and strength is absolutely the most important thing to do to address low back issues. And your sacrum is in the middle of your hips and low back. Think it’s a key player? You bet.
The word “GYROTONIC®” refers to the portion of the exercise that’s done on the apparatus, and there is a “mat” portion of the work, called GYROKINESIS®. GYROKINESIS® (we’ll just call it GyroK for short) is typically offered in class settings, but it may be integrated into your Gyrotonic® session if your instructor is certified in GyroK.
So getting back to your question about the origins of the name, you guessed it…. the “gyro” part of the word implies circular, and “tonic” implies toning. See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? There is nothing linear about the movements in the GYROTONIC® system. You’re basically going to feel like one of those tall, blow-up dancing wiggling dudes that car dealerships use. Except I promise we won’t stick an air blower under you—- your core muscles will be your air blower! Ha! Yes, there’s plenty of core strengthening to be had in a GYROTONIC® session. Seriously though, the movements will feel like something your body has been craving. Our lifestyle routines have us sitting at a desk or in the car, hunched over our children, etc. So your body and mind will love you for exposing it to something as stimulating and invigorating as GYROTONIC® exercise.
In a typical, 55-minute routine, you will stretch and strengthen your spine like crazy, rotate your hips, open your shoulders, and breathe. All of this will be done on various pieces of equipment that completely enable you to do the moves, it will not be like you’re wrestling with your body. It will seriously just happen, because the absolutely amazing, genius equipment has been designed to do just that — allow your body the opportunity to use the equipment to your utter mechanical advantage.
Some of the moves will very closely resemble swimming, golf, tennis, crew, and yoga. So if you’re into that stuff, this is a very powerful, all-in-one cross-training tool for you. And if you’re into simply feeling good in your body, you’ll be in the right place, too.
You will want to start either with one of our Beginner GYROTONIC® Class, or in a private session. The classes are taught on the most widely used piece of equipment, the Pulley Tower. And in a private session, you will experience not only just the Pulley Tower, but the Leg Extension Unit (yes, you will feel like your legs are getting longer right before your eyes), the Jumping Stretching Board (yes, you jump and stretch on it, among many other things), and the Archway.
And like I always say, it won’t take you months of lessons, and hundreds of dollars to figure out if you enjoy this method of exercise. You’ll know after your first lesson whether you see yourself achieving your fitness goals from GYROTONIC® exercise. So let us know if you’d like to give it a shot… you know where to find us : )
And just FYI, here’s the genius behind the method…..
Juliu Horvath is the charismatic inventor of the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®. He is Hungarian, but grew up in Romania. As a youth Juliu participated in swimming, gymnastics and rowing as well as other sports. At age 19 he became interested in classical dance and by the time he reached his twentieth birthday he was dancing principle roles with the Romanian State Opera. While on tour in Italy, he defected, and after 6 months in a refugee camp, was granted political asylum by the United States.
Horvath first moved to New York City where he was hired by the prestigious New York City Opera. Next he journeyed to Texas where he became a principle dancer with the Houston Ballet. His dance career, however, came to an abrupt end after rupturing his Achilles tendon and damaging several disks in his back.
In 1977 he retreated to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to recover and regroup. He built a humble dwelling in the mountains and began an extensive study and practice of yoga. It was here, drawing from his movement vocabulary as a dancer, his experience as a yogi, and from his personal research and experience with injury and recovery, that he developed the GYROKINESIS® methodology, then called Yoga for Dancers.
Returning to New York in the early 1980’s, Juliu began teaching his new method of movement at Steps on Broadway, a well-known professional dance studio, as well as in Central Park. With a zealous following, he opened his first studio, White Cloud®, and in 1984 began designing and building his first GYROTONIC® exercise equipment.
GYROTONIC, GYROTONIC & Logo and GYROKINESIS are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with their permission.