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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

The Gyrotonic Method of Movement

Jul 31, 2013 10:04PM ● By Susan Clark and Amanda Olny

Running, biking, weightlifting, and even Pilates can become overly linear in their expression. The body needs to be worked in different dimensions, but typical routines do not accommodate this. The Gyrotonic Expansion System (GES) is unique in that the exercises are composed of circular and spiral movements. This benefits the major joints in the body and helps to correct muscular imbalances that pose problems in our life.
The GES has become a major tool in metropolitan orthopedic rehabilitation settings for athletes, dancers and pre- and post-surgery patients. While it is important for the professional and the injured, this system is great for everyone that enjoys working out. This method has been proven to benefit individuals with spine, hip, knee and shoulder issues, as well as improving the general condition of the body and increasing core strength. The benefits of the GES include increased flexibility, much like yoga, but also adding the strengthening effects of Pilates in another dimension.
Juliu Horvath created the GES out of his love for movement and the desire to heal from his own personal injuries. Horvath excelled in gymnastics, rowing and swimming in his youth. He was a professional dancer by the age of 21 with the Romanian National Ballet. In 1970, he defected to the United States, and after suffering an Achilles tendon injury, spent six years in the Virgin Islands, studying yoga, meditation and t’ai chi. It was from these influences that he developed his unique method of movement. Since Horvath’s return to New York in the 1980s, the GES has reached 52 countries, with more than 9,000 certified instructors and 2,500 studios.
The GES has evolved into two approaches with a common goal. The Expansion System comprises the mat work of Gyrokinesis and the equipment work of Gyrotonic. Gyrokinesis focuses on rhythmic movements and specialized breathing patterns in a seated position on a stool that then progresses to mat work on the floor. Gyrotonic equipment expands upon the lessons learned in a Gyrokinesis class setting.
The fluidity of movement provided by sequences on Gyrotonic equipment creates mobility without compression or jarring of the joints and spine. The body is made to naturally move in arching and rotational patterns. The specialized equipment designed by Horvath, which can be adjusted to suit all heights, weights, abilities and diverse physiques, supports these innate abilities of the body.
The Pulley Tower Combination Unit of the GES, commonly known as The Tower, is the most widely used piece in the Gyrotonic community. It incorporates a handle unit for rotation and a weighted pulley system for resistance training. The Tower creates an environment that supports a healthy range of motion while preventing injury, unlike gym exercise machines that rely on sudden stops and starts.
The Jumping Stretching Board is the second-most used and versatile piece of equipment within the GES. Its unique design enables the trainer to bring in elements that simulate running, twisting and jumping without strain or high impact.
Susan Clark, owner of Pure Pilates, 221 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., in Gulf Breeze, has studied with master trainers from around the world, as well as with Horvath at the Gyrotonic headquarters in Germany. She received her Gyrokinesis training in 2009 and Gyrotonic training in 2011. Amanda Olney, office manager of Pure Pilates, graduated from the University of West Florida. 
For more information, call 850-932-3424 or visit
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