Gyro-what? A New Fitness Option Hits Sacramento

By: Wahida Sharman, occupational therapist and owner of the EPY Center, certified Pilates and Gryotonic instruction.

Derived from the word “gyro” (meaning ring, spiral or circle) and “tonic” (to tone or invigorate), Gyrotonic training helps to increase range of motion, coordination, and strength by performing prescribed graceful, circular motions.

A few years ago, I was in Denver at a Pilates studio when I noticed a beautiful piece of equipment that someone was working on.  They were seated on a bench with each hand on a disc moving fluidly in a cat/cow type movement through their spine.  In that instance I knew I had to get on that machine to try it out.  I switched my session and have never looked back.  It has been an amazing journey.  Within one year of that session, I had completed the training to become a Gyrotonic instructor. 

Since introducing the system to Sacramento it has helped many clients rehabilitate from back, neck, hip and shoulder issues.  Additionally, clients who are golfers, runners, bicyclist and other sports enthusiasts have greatly improved in their sport because of the increased flexibility, better knowledge of body biomechanics, greater core strength and increased proprioception (awareness of where the body is in space). 

The most wonderful part of this system is to see the change in someone’s personality when they have less chronic pain or can swing that golf club and get few feet more or that swimmer who all of sudden shaves a couple of seconds off their time.

The Gyrotonic Expansion System consists of Gyrotonic and GYROKINESIS®.  The system was developed by Juliu Horvath, a professional dancer who had multiple injuries. He explored various methods of movement to rehabilitate himself including yoga and tai chi. In his exploration of movement and healing he created “yoga for dancers” which uses sweeping, circular and continuous movements. This system is now called Gyrokinesis, which is the basis of the method. The system works the entire body through seven natural spinal movements smoothly and harmoniously:

  • Forward flexion, back extension, side bend to the left and right, twisting (spiraling) left and right and in circular movement.

When done correctly each movement lubricates and creates space at joints, stimulates the nervous system, oxygenates the blood and opens energetic pathways. This increased functional capacity of the spine reduces injuries and micro-trauma from aging and daily use.  Joints don’t “ache” in the morning and the body performs better during other sports and daily activities.

To facilitate the Gyrokinesis  movements  Juliu developed the Gyrotonic tower. The equipment was designed around the human body to allow complete freedom of movement.  Unlike most linear exercises Gyrotonic movements works the body in a way that creates natural fluid movements that are multidimensional. This creates increased mobility of internal organs, freedom in joints and functional strength.  My clients have described their sessions as “internal massages”.

Gyrotonic repertoire has seven families of exercises which focus on different parts of the body but ultimately the core is where the movement is initiated. As in dance, Gyrotonic principles facilitate freedom of movement and tempo of exercise for the body to focus on coordination, strength and flexibility without interference from the machine or the trainer.  The client walks out of the session invigorated and energized

Each exercise is synchronized with a corresponding breathing pattern and is performed with either a rhythm or melodic rhythmical expression, creating a gentle or vigorous cardiovascular-aerobic stimulation, depending on the intensity and speed of the execution.  The results are supple, powerful, lean, and coordinated muscles.

There are several “specialized” equipment pieces.   These pieces change the position of the body in space that ultimately changes the ease or difficulty of the exercises.  Specialized equipment offered at EPY Center include the GYROTONER® and the Gyrotonic Ladder.

Benefits of GYROTONIC® training:

  • Emphasizes coordinated strengthening of abdominals, pelvis, shoulder girdle, and spine
  • Tones the entire body
  • Builds strength in the core muscles
  • Heightens body awareness and efficiency
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Improves mind-body connection
  • Increases energy
  • Aerobic-cardiovascular stimulation
  • Increases strength, power and control
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Reduces stress

Individuals from all walks of life and abilities can benefit from  Gyrotonic exercises:

  • Older Adults
  • Athletes and dancers
  • Fitness Enthusiasts
  • Post Rehabilitation Patients
  • Weekend Warriors

The system is really a gift to mind body type exercise movements.  At least two to three times a year I take continued education courses on this system and each time I am inspired by its wisdom to teach us about ourselves and open us to new ways of thinking and feeling in our bodies.  I am grateful to have Gyrotonic in my life so that I can share it with my community of clients, friends and colleagues.  

For More Information:

EPY Center located in East Sacramento brought Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methodologies to Sacramento and has helped many clients reach their fitness and rehabilitation goals.  Visit us at www.epycenter.net, call 916-452-6024, or stop by 5281 Folsom Blvd.

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