5 Mind-Body workouts that are about to Break out
Gyrotronic: Pilates with a twist
BY VICTORIA KELLY — Imagine molding your body into this space: A wave-force is pinning your hips onto an ocean shelf. Your back is dramatically-curved from the coccyx bone up through the top of your head — like the arc of a crescent moon.
Now imagine your arms, extending from your mid-back, spanning out like the widest wings of the longest bird — from the tip of your left middle finger to the tip of your right — are curved, convexly. You’ve expanded your spine and your limbs to a degree you’ve never experienced before, or even thought possible.
No, this is not about sex or taking the positions etched in the kama sutra to a new level. It's the best I can do to describe the brave new world of gyrotonics, an emerging high-tech workout that requires an expensive and esoteric piece of machinery.
It is so new and pricey, in fact, that none of the fancy gyms I know yet possess the gear — even in mind-body-central, the state of California.
But I tested gyrotonics in a beta studio for professionals, and I say as a pro myself, it was a mind-body blowing experience.
I was a professional dancer, and now I am a pilates instructor who operates a San Francisco Bay Area pilates studio: When I did gyrotonics, I felt like I might come apart at the seams!
Unless you’ve been in some kind of full-body traction, or are an advanced pilates student going where no man or woman has gone before, you’ve no clue about the sensations that being on a Gyrotonic® machine stimulates.
Gyrotonic® is a fitness and rehabilitation practice that promotes, among other things, the opening of your joints for improved functionality. The movements on the machine are derived from tai chi, swimming, dance, and yoga — the prime activities of Gyrotonic's inventor, Romanian-born Juliu Horvath, who is now based in Miami.
The artfully-engineered Gyrotonic® machines are blinged-out with pulleys, towers, giant spools and leather straps that make the state-of-the-art Pilates Reformer you see at your local gym look like the Flintstones — or at the very least, a San Fernando Valley S & M studio seem technologically antique (We tease the porn industry :).
All kidding aside, we have to ask: Is Gyrotonic® ready for the mainstream, or vice versa? Is this a workout that can break out to the masses?
Shaquille O’Neal, Madonna and Liv Tyler do it. Athletes who rely on turning and twisting from the trunk, like batters and golfers, also do it because they rely on hyper-precision training for competitive and commercial purposes.
With certain limitations, the Gyrotonic® system will benefit a range of rehab patients who are suffering from compression or stagnation in their musculo-skeletal systems.
But I have to say, no, it’s not for everyone. A de-conditioned body would probably not be very happy on a Gyrotonic® Expansion System (the official name of the machine).
Like yoga and pilates, Gyrotonic® improves the body’s inherent functionality, based on your God-given design. The value of such a thing will always be in demand.
There are the lovers of breath among us, the lovers of grounded-ness, the lovers of core strength, the lovers of centering — and not least, the lovers of those who like to whirl and swirl and maybe even tempt the body to come apart at the seams.
Victoria Kelly found joy in movement from an early age, and earned a university degree in the same. That journey included yoga, ballet, jazz, modern dance, dance theater, film and video. A certified pilates instructor, Victoria has extended her post-graduate studies into kinesiology, iomechanics, rehabilitation, somatic therapies, and other movement systems. An admirer of the proprioception of her cat, her pilates studio is called CoreCatPilates.
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