Gyrotonic exercise is done on a machine that combines a bench, rotating exercise wheels, and a weighted pulley tower.
Its designer was a man who was a dancer, swimmer, gymnast and student of yoga. "He looked at what were the underlying principles of those exercise forms that he could draw from to put a conditioning machine together. The intention in a full workout is to work all the major joints in the body through their full range of motion. They're complex movements, but the machine is always assisting you. It's pulling you and so you're releasing your body," explains Gyrotonic Instructor, Ellen Barlow.
"It's a full body workout and every routine varies. You never get bored. Taught correctly, and done correctly, there is no part of your body that isn't addressed," says studio owner, Lynne Williams. Breathing patterns are essential to gyrotonic exercise. "Tyrotonic is not just about movement, it's about the synchronization of the movement and the breath. If you're doing a certain movement doing that deep exhale, that's when you can really grip your abs, that's really going to be much more effective work on the abdominals."
Gyrotonic enthusiasts say the movements can be altered for all levels of fitness. "We have people who are rehabilitating from surgery who have had back issues, knee issues, or just have chronic joint problems. At the other end of the extreme, we have ballet dancers, we have professional athletes," Ellen says
They say a Gyrotonic Session leaves you lengthened, and strengthened physically and emotionally. "My feeling is of a complete, complete workout but also a feeling of being at peace with myself which I haven't always felt in other exercise methods. I come out feeling beat up or exhausted. This, I just feel at peace with myself and ready to take on the world," Williams shares.