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Originally Published: November 2004

Do the Twist Again!

Gyrotonic® makes you feel as if you’re swimming in air.
A new twist on body conditioning, “Gyro” is a movement system in two parts, and consists of Gyrokinesis™, a floor routine, and its machine-based outgrowth, Gyrotonic.

“It’s a resistance exercise system but it uses friction resistance and weight resistance that replicates the feeling
of being underwater. It can be done aerobically but must be done with proper guidance,” says Tony Morales, director and master teacher at Circular Power®, a Gyrotonic studio in New York City at www.circularpower.com .

A low-impact fusion of yoga, dance, Pilates, martial arts and swimming, Gyro’s fans say it helps to lengthen and strengthen the body, open the joints, enhance coordination, and improves balance, range of motion, flexibility and overall fitness.

Romanian dancer Juliu Horvath, now based in New York, first invented Gyrokinesis, a therapeutic dance-like regimen consisting of approximately 120 exercises, performed on the floor in various positions, lying down, standing up and sitting on low stools. Typical movements include bending the upper body back and forth, side to side or in full revolution. One exercise disappears into the next as the torso arches and curls in a continuous flow of movement.

Gyrotonic applies the repetitive, spiraling fundamentals of Gyrokinesis to machines designed by Horvath — the combination pulley tower, the jumping stretching board, the gyrotoner, the ladder and the leg extension unit — whose various pulleys, weights and straps stretch and condition the whole body.

“It’s complex as it is a system based on movement and quality of movement. Instruction is very important. Here at Circular Power we only do private sessions because we feel a person will get more from one private lesson once a week than three times a week by themselves,” says Morales, a dancer and choreographer who used Gyrotonic to rehabilitate his own terrible chronic lower back problem.

The spine gently undulates in rhythm with controlled breathing and spherical movements that begin in the core and flow outward. Gyrotonic is used as conditioning tool for dancers and athletes and is also an excellent rehabilitative tool for people with injuries, although anyone interested in achieving a sophisticated level of personal fitness will derive benefit.

Workouts can be customized to suit individual strengths and weaknesses. Even though Gyro is accessible to everyone, the more familiar you are with the way your body works and responds to exercise, the more comfortable you’ll be to start.

People with experience in yoga and Pilates find it particularly easy to adapt.

Gyrotonic doesn’t come cheap — typically, it costs around $65-$75 for a private lesson.

The Arch and Curl:

“This is the most basic but most beneficial exercise,” says Morales, offering a description of what you can expect from a single Gyrotonic movement:
Performed on the Pulley Tower unit, the Arch and Curl promotes extension and flexion of the spine.
Clients learn how to move their spines sequentially by stimulating the spine and nervous system.
It opens and strengthens the muscles of the back and abdomen.
Using the Pulley Tower’s friction resistance helps to facilitate correct alignment.
For more information go to the official website: www.gyrotonic.com .
“Everyone benefits from this,” says Morales. “Seniors feel their bodies rejuvenated, dancers feel more stretch and strength so they perform better, athletes feel their bodies open up so they perform better at whatever they do.”

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