The focus on the breath and the movement calms the mind and the movement itself enlivens the body.
The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® is a unique, holistic approach to movement inspired by yoga, dance, swimming and tai chi. The Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® Methods are exercise methods that fall under its umbrella. Gyrotonic exercises are done on custom-designed Gyrotonic equipment while Gyrokinesis exercises are done on the mat and a chair.
Both the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods address the whole person using breath and full-body, mindful movement. The exercises are designed to follow natural movement patterns, moving the body seamlessly through arches, curls, spirals and waves. Each exercise flows into the next to create sequences that take the body through its full range of motion developing deep inner strength and freedom of movement.
The Gyrotonic exercises take you through movement that requires the body to work as one integrated whole developing deep core strength.
The exercises flow from one movement to the next taking joints through their full range of motion, stretching and strengthening muscles as needed to bring balance and improved range to each joint and freedom to the body.
The exercise sequences create a flow that warms the body, promotes circulation, opens energy pathways and stimulates the nervous system bringing a vibrancy to the body from head to toe.
The singular focus on the breath and the movement brings a sense of calm and a clarity to the mind.
When the body is enlivened and the mind is clear, you feel at ease in your body and more agile in movement.
“The ultimate aim is to be at home in one’s body, to be at one with the nature of oneself and to experience exercise as a creative and delightful experience.”
- Juliu Horvath, Creator of the Gyrotonic Method
The Gyrotonic Method can be both gentle and challenging. It can be adapted to people of all ages and all abilities from the senior recovering from an injury, to the desk worker with chronic back pain, to the new mom regaining her strength, to professional dancers and elite athletes striving to move beyond their own limitations.
Katie is an exceptional teacher. She listens; at the same time she has an unerring eye and instinct for what her client needs and can handle. I eagerly look forward to my Gyrotonic sessions with her. Under her watchful guidance, I am able to rediscover and experience the kind of development in range of motion that I used to enjoy before I was sidelined by injuries to my knee and spine.
- Margaret W., San Francisco, California
Yes! The Gyrotonic Method can help you build strength in your feet, legs and hips that is needed to carry the extra weight during pregnancy, and it can also help keep your spine and shoulders mobile making you much more comfortable. The method is very adaptable. Many of the exercises can be done seated or side-lying which is particularly helpful later in pregnancy, and the workout can be made as gentle or as challenging as appropriate. I did my own Gyrotonic workouts up until the day before my daughter was born, and I have worked with many prenatal clients.
You can start as soon as your doctor has cleared you for physical activity. Gyrotonic workouts can help you regain your core strength. They can also help your neck, upper back and shoulders stay strong and supple through the early years while you are breastfeeding and carrying heavy car seats and heavy toddlers.
Juliu Horvath, an ethnic Hungarian born in Romania, created the Gyrotonic Method. He immigrated to the United States in 1970, working as a dancer first in New York and then as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet. He suffered a series of injuries that ended his dance career and led him to begin developing the Gyrotonic Method to heal himself. He still works today, evolving the method, refining the equipment and training teachers.
Gyrotonic exercises are done on custom-designed Gyrotonic equipment whereas the Gyrokinesis exercises are done on the mat and a chair. They are complementary methods, so you can start with either, but it is best to learn both. The Gyrotonic equipment is helpful because it guides you through the movement, providing assistance at times and challenge at others. The Gyrokinesis Method is great because you can take it with you anywhere. All you need is a mat and a chair. It is great for developing a practice at home.
Gyrotonic equipment is custom-designed around the natural movement patterns used in the Gyrotonic Method. The equipment helps guide you through the movement, providing assistance at times and challenge at others. It can be adjusted to fit each individual body and ability, adjusting for things such as height, arm and leg length and range of motion. The foundational piece of Gyrotonic equipment is the Gyrotonic Pulley Tower.
You will see and feel the quickest change in your body if you practice daily. That does not mean you need to take a lesson everyday however. Taking a lesson once or twice a week is ideal. Your teacher can design a short workout that you can do on your own at home in between lessons. Even 10 minutes of mindful movement a day can make a big difference.
You should feel a difference even after your first lesson. Maybe that twinge in your back will be gone. Maybe you will feel a little more energized. Everyone’s experience is different. When you will notice and see more tangible results will largely depend on how often you are practicing the Gyrotonic exercises and if you are consciously carrying that work over to your daily life.
Both the Gyrotonic Method and Pilates use the breath and full-body, mindful movement to build strength and flexibility. Both aim to bring the body into balance so you can move with greater ease. The approach of each method is quite different however. Pilates movements are more linear while Gyrotonic movements feel more circular. Pilates tends to organize the body and then move. With the Gyrotonic Method, there is more of a sense of moving in all directions to let the body organize itself. Pilates has more of a focus on core strength while the Gyrotonic Method has more of a focus on freedom of movement.
Both the Gyrotonic Method and Pilates are a part of my own movement practice. After a Pilates workout, I feel grounded, strong and standing tall. After a Gyrotonic workout, I feel grounded but very at ease in my body and very agile. Everyone has their own experience, so you may find you want to try a lesson of each. Over the years, I have found that Pilates is a good place to start for people that need to build core strength quickly while the Gyrotonic Method is a good place to start for people that have a lot of tightness and are restricted in their movement. I have also found the Gyrotonic Method to be a little more adaptable for a larger variety of injuries. On the other end of the spectrum, people that have a lot of movement experience, especially dancers, find their home with the Gyrotonic Method. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you are wondering which is a better fit for you.
Pilates is a completely different but also excellent method of exercise. It was created by boxer, diver and athlete Joseph Pilates in the early to mid 1900s. Many of the benefits of a Pilates practice are the same as a Gyrotonic practice but the approach and the feeling of the movement are quite different. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you are not sure which is a better fit for you.
I teach classical Pilates at Milwaukie Pilates, a spacious, fully equipped Pilates studio. Please schedule a lesson with me here if you are interested in Pilates.