What is GYROTONIC ®
What is Gyrotonic?
The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® is a unique and diverse style of exercise that embodies similar motion characteristics to yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming, and t’ai chi. A clear focus is given to its three dimensional movement approach including both rotation and spiraling to optimize and increase in strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which differentiates GYROTONIC® from other conventional body conditioning methods.
The Gyrotonic Method Applied
As human beings we live our lives in a constant state of motion. From the earliest stage of life our bodies develop through fundamental movements like crawling, rolling, and climbing and later on into more complex refined movements that require both fine and gross motor skills, high impact and strain on varying levels, determined by your individual lifestyle. We have high expectations of our bodies and many of us fail to realize the importance of taking care of our physical wellbeing.
Whether you are an advanced dancer or athlete, spending hours mastering your art in the studio, parent, grandparent or a busy nine to five executive, it is essential to prioritize body training that matches your level of activity and facilitates the lifestyle you want to live, in the safest and healthiest way.
Gyrotonic is a multifaceted training program that utilizes the combination of mind, body, breath and flow to highlight and facilitate the complex muscle activation required for every day life. This is where the Gyrotonic Expansion System, also know as ‘Yoga For Dancers’, is considered a breakthrough method in body conditioning. It takes training to a new level where you develop a real relationship with the body, as well as increase your control and understanding of the way the body is designed to move.
When creating the Gyrotonic Expansion System, Horvath recognized the human body’s need for constant and consistent attention with regard to muscular development and management. In one of his introductory interviews Horvath (1991) says, ‘The nature and expression of movement represents life, when we stagnate and stop moving we move closer to a representation of death’.
Horvath was adamant that the focus of each and every exercise reflected the natural flow of the body, as well as the detailed development of the intrinsic muscle groups. Gyrotonic exercise uses three-dimensional motion to improve energy flow through the body and emphasizes the articulation through each and every joint. This approach works thoroughly and intensively allowing one to improve on strength, flexibility, stamina and over all health.
We are constantly bombarded with new research, health and fitness or body conditioning trends that tell us how to train, how to behave and how to take care of our bodies. The problem with most of these traditional training techniques is that they are based on short-term gains. They focus on a fixed range of motion, and rather than stimulate growth and strength in the long run, they cause wear and tear and long term damage to joints, through repetitive forward and backward 2 dimensional motion.
In contrast to these conventional body-conditioning techniques Gyrotonic exercises do not have a beginning or an end, and are not based on a fixed stop-start structure. It avoids the use of fixed placement or positions, but rather follows a smooth continuous pattern of motion that the body flows through naturally.
‘It is an empowering experience to have both control and release within one movement, where you can be completely aware of your posture and placement within the total freedom that Gyrotonic motion provides.’
When first observing a GYROTONIC® class you are immediately reminded of typical movements or shapes you would see in nature. You are reminded of the waves in the ocean, as you watch the spine ripple through an arch into a contraction. These Gyrotonic exercises reflect a very instinctual and natural shape, almost what one would consider animal like, typical to this style of exercise. Consider the shape of a cat stretch or a creature that moves on the ground.
Juliu Horvath speaks about using imagery to prompt the style and execution of the movement. Nature and the way in which our bodies have been designed to move, prompts the execution of the exercise. It is these shapes and movements that inspired Horvath from the outset, and embracing these fundamental characteristics of ‘natural motion’ is what established the framework of his Gyrotonic technique.
Gyrotonic movement gives you the foundation and guidance to achieve the movement, but you are required to do the work. By activating the internal muscles between each and every joint you develop full strength and support of the body from within.
The emphasis is on strengthening the muscle groups in a balanced and holistic way, maximizing the range of motion within the framework of the human skeletal structure.The intensity of the training is incredibly beneficial to all students, and particularly those who experience a lot of wear and tear on their bodies.
In a dancer, for example, is able to tap into the full range of rotation in the socket and learn to understand manipulate the placement of the bones. In the same way students from all walks of life are given a new level of confidence and security in their own bodies.
It is important to bear in mind that Gyrotonic requires a certain level of commitment. It is a continuous training method and cannot simply be used as a quick fix.
The gains, however, are totally worth it. Students experience a lengthening in the spine, a release of tension in their joints and improved posture within the first 2 or 3 sessions.
The Gyrotonic Method in Practice
Like Pilates, The Gyrotonic method uses specialized apparatus to optimize and guide the body’s motion. The equipment used in the Gyrotonic studios are specifically designed and developed with key features and functions that allow for a safe, supported and extensive range of motion and exercise options. Instructors at alignfitness are thoroughly trained and educated on the use of these pieces of equipment and have a sound understanding of safe and effective training techniques.
The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® utilize the following apparatus:
The Gyrotonic Pulley Tower
The Jumping Stretch Board
The Leg Extention Unit
The GYROTONER ®
All classes are specialized and as such, all exercises are carefully cultivated and tailored to suit each individual’s physical needs. Gyrotonic considers the structure of our joints, the way they hinge or rotate, through constant to and fro movement there is a certainty of that joint wearing out. If however, you manipulate the motion and combine both rotational and hinging movements while training, you accomplish what Horovath refers to as ‘a complete movement’, which avoids the wearing through of the skeletal structure.
In a similar way to Pilates there is a key focus on the application of breath. The ‘inhale’ is emphasized on release, and the ‘exhale’ on contraction. These patterns direct the Gyrotonic motion and the focus of the exercise. The in and out of one’s breath is mirrored in the size, pattern and shape of the exercise, allowing for an even development, avoiding any compensation of dominant muscle groups, thereby creating a well-balanced secure posture and physique.
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