Gyrokinesis® – My new obsession – Frangipani
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Gyrokinesis® – My new obsession

So what is Gyrokinesis? No it’s not a sandwich!! It is a method of exercise; does it have a lot of gyrating you ask!? Well, yes in a way.  I am constantly telling my friends and family about the benefits and how wonderful it is for your body.

I got started when I had taken a few classes with my aerial instructor. I felt the results immediately. From there, I decided to take a pre-training course and this only deepened my interest and obsession. I followed that up a few months later with a teacher training. Now I practice and teach whenever I can.  I have loved it so much I began by sharing it with my mom. She loves the benefits of her new found mobility.

So what exactly is Gyrokinesis?

It is movement based on the natural movement directions of the spine. In practice we perform these natural movements, twisting to the left and right, arching, curling, leaning to the left and right and performing circular movements with a rhythmic and fluid energy. One of the main principles I learned from studying and practicing is the constant feeling of opposition. There is always energy going both one way and the other, whether it is left and right, or up and down, or front and back, or from one corner to the next. This means there is always a push and pull quality which makes your body supple and strong at the same time.

The Gyrokinesis exercise method was developed by Juliu Horvath more than twenty five years ago after he injured himself as a professional ballet dancer. He developed the system while recuperating on the island of St. Thomas in the Virigin Islands! Born and raised in Romania but of Hungarian ancestry, he was physically gifted, studying gymnastics, swimming and ballet. He danced professionally with the Romanian State Opera Ballet but defected in 1970 while on tour in Italy. Eventually, he was granted asylum in the United States. In New York City, he was hired by the New York City Opera, Radio City Music Hall and toured with ballet icons of the time. Later, he joined the Houston Ballet as a principle dancer, but in his first year, ruptured his Achilles tendon and damaged several disks in his back. These were career ending injuries.

As a dancer, being injured can be devastating. All you want is to recuperate and be back at 100%. All the time it takes to heal and recover from injuries is very difficult to endure. When all you want to do is move, being restricted by pain or a physical limitation is frustrating.

In St. Thomas he focused on health and healing, spending time practicing yoga, meditation and dance. It was through this journey and these experiences that he was able to recuperate from his injuries. This was the start of the exercise system that was the beginning of GYROKINESIS®. The methodology took many years to develop and involved the study of our body’s natural movements and internal and organic patterns of the human body.

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The goal of Gyrokinesis movements is not to build muscle or feel exhausted. The exercises lengthen, strengthen and improve balance, coordination and flexibility, but the goal is actually to teach you to move your body the way it was meant to move. I think it makes you move in the most efficient and healthy way possible. 

There are several things to focus on in a Gyrokinesis class. In the beginning, while learning the sequences, it is sometimes easier not to think too much but to enjoy the flow and continuity of movement. This will likely automatically give you some benefits but it is very important to work the exercises following the methodology.

Three concepts that are key to Gyrokinesis:

  • Narrowing
    • In many other forms of exercise, you engage by contraction and compression. In gyrokinesis, as I mentioned before, one of the key ideas is opposition. Whether sitting or standing or working on the floor, we are lengthening the body and creating space between the vertebrae by reaching in opposing directions. For example when sitting on the stool, your feet are pressing into the ground, your knees are reaching forward, all while you are reaching up with your spine and through the top of your head. In order to do this the muscles surrounding your pelvis must be engaged, while lengthening to stabilize and find correct alignment. What results is the Narrowing of the pelvis which engages not just your core, but also your obliques and all your deep inner stabilizing muscles.
  • The Fifth Line
    • The fifth line is a bit more difficult to describe. Rather than something that we can specifically reference on the body anatomically, it is more the idea of energy flowing through the body, up and down and out. It can be described as the center line, meaning the central flow of energy through our limbs and body. If you think of your body seated again, you can have energy flowing down through both heels and up through the spine. In this way it is intrinsically of course connected to “Narrowing of the pelvis” and the opposition required.
  • The Seed Center
    • All movement in Gyrokinesis starts from your seed center, the source of all of your energy. This is where everything is initiated. This ties into the other two principles very well. In order to have the energy flowing out in all directions, for the narrowing of the pelvis, the energy must come from the center “the Seed Center”. Understanding this concept allows you to move from a deeper level and connect movement more organically.

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A regular practice is likely to complement any form of activity. There are Olympic athletes, professional dancers, ordinary people and the elderly benefiting from Gyrokinesis. The key is that it is adaptable to anyone and in practice a student should only push for a movement range just below any restrictions they might have. This way they can gently increase strength and mobility through repetition. After a while new energy pathways are being opened up and you have an increased range of motion. 

So try a Gyrokinesis Class Mondays and Saturdays 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM at the new Frangipani Studio!

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I had the pleasure of doing my teacher training with the wonderful Mari Kasich who operates Miami Beach Gyrotonic. See her informational video below about her studio and the benefits of the Gyrotonic method.

 

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