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Continuing Ed: Gyrotonic

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Gyrotonic Expansion SystemThe graceful Gyrotonic exercises are often compared to yoga and tai chi. Image courtesy of Kinespirit. By Nicole Rogers

For Pilates instructors looking to branch out into another movement method—or add variety to their studio offerings—the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® has become a popular choice. If you have yet to try it or are curious about learning more, read on.

Gyrotonic is a method of movement and an exercise system developed starting in the 1980s by Juliu Horvath. As with so many types of movement work, Gyrotonic was invented as a way to heal its founder’s own injuries. As a dancer, Horvath herniated three discs and suffered knee, shoulder and ankle injuries. He tried to rehab himself using Hatha yoga, which he felt injured him further. It was at this point that Horvath invented Gyrotonic intuitively by following what he refers to as “internal movement.” His pain diminished, and he lives a healthy, relatively pain-free life today.

According to the GYROTONIC® Web site, “GYROTONIC® methodology allows users to stretch and strengthen muscles, while simultaneously stimulating and strengthening connective tissues in and around the joints of the body. These exercises are synchronized with corresponding breathing patterns, thus enhancing aerobic and cardiovascular stimulation and promoting neuro-muscular rejuvenation.” The Gyrotonic® equipment, designed by Horvath, uses a series of hand-and foot-operated pulleys and weights to move the joints and limbs in (mostly) circular patterns, designed to create “openness” in the body. When performing the exercises, the influence of yoga on the system is obvious, and the pulleys and straps somehow manage to give the feeling of swimming without water. The “feeling” of doing Gyrotonic is often compared to dance and tai chi as well.

The most noted difference between Pilates and Gyrotonic is the idea of “linear” versus “circular” movement. While both Pilates and Gyrotonic involve all sorts of movement, Gyrotonic focuses more heavily on circular, spiraling movement. And unlike the many tangled branches and vines of the Pilates method family tree, Gyrotonic’s founder is still living and sits at the helm of his movement, keeping his training programs close to him with the authority to define his method constantly. Because of this, there is little to no controversy as to what Gyrotonic “is.” It is well organized, with strict trademark usage guidelines. There is only one teacher-training manual, and only about 60 master trainers worldwide. The master trainers have annual or biennial meetings with Horvath himself.

A widely touted and unique benefit of Gyrotonic is its effect on connective tissue. Gyrotonic.com describes the effect as “simultaneously stimulating and strengthening connective tissues in and around the joints of the body.” The Web site also provides a research library full of clinical studies on the positive effects of Gyrotonic.

THE PILATES PERSPECTIVE ON GYROTONIC
Spouses Aline and Bryan Alexander own Albuquerque’s Momentum Studio, the largest (4,000 square feet!) and longest-established Pilates, Gyrotonic and Feldenkrais studio in New Mexico. Momentum Studio also houses a nationally recognized professional teacher training center, training Pilates and Gyrotonic instructors.

Aline is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, a Master Trainer in Gyrotonic and GYROKINESIS® and has full studio certifications in Pilates from Move on Center, Santa Fe and Polestar Neuromuscular Education. She is certified on all of the specialized Gyrotonic equipment and has received advanced training in therapeutic applications of Gyrotonic. With a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Bryan is the business manager and oversees the wellness programs at the studio as well as the curriculum for the teacher trainings. In addition to being a Pilates trainer, Bryan is certified in and an Authorized Pre-trainer for Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic. Both have trained directly with Horvath.

With these impressive resumes, Aline and Bryan were the perfect pair to answer our questions about Gyrotonic and it’s relevance in the Pilates world.

Aline Alexander, Master Trainer in GYROTONIC and GYROKINESISAline Alexander is a Master Trainer in Gyrotonic.Q: Aline, I understand that you started out teaching Pilates - what made you want to teach Gyrotonic?
Aline: As a Feldenkrais practitioner, I found Gyrotonic complementary to my teaching approach. I consider myself a movement practitioner. My goal is to provide education. Professional experience has taught me to be efficient in choosing which exercise system will educate the client most effectively and attain the client’s goals.

Q: You run both Pilates and Gyrotonic teacher training programs - how does that work? Are they completely separate programs?
Bryan:
Yes, our two training programs are separate, but Aline conducts them both. Unlike Pilates, the Gyrotonic educational process is set forth by Gyrotonic headquarters and is strictly regulated. They have learned from the Pilates trademark issues, and they go to great lengths to protect the integrity of the Gyrotonic trademark and quality of the educational process. The curriculum and training track are dictated by Gyrotonic headquarters. There are roughly 60 Master Trainers worldwide, and these are the only people authorized to conduct Gyrotonic trainings.

Aline, as our educational director, offers unique insights and a unique approach to all our training programs because of her background as a Feldenkrais practitioner and a Master Trainer in both Gyrotonic and Pilates. Our philosophy is that the more tools you have in your toolbox, the greater the opportunity is for you to effectively help people meet their goals. Some people respond more quickly to a given system or some people hit a plateau in one system, and by using another methodology, they are able to overcome that plateau.

Q: Do many people complete both programs?
Bryan:
Yes. Because we offer both trainings at our studio, often people complete both training programs. When a trainer or potential trainee is able to see how well the two systems work together, they quite often see the benefit in pursuing certification in both methodologies. With that said, this requires some pacing and budgeting of both time and money.

Q: Are all or most of your instructors certified in both Pilates and Gyrotonic?
Bryan:
Most but not all.

Bryan Alexander Teaches on the Gyrotonic Pulley TowerBryan Alexander teaches a client on the Gyrotonic Pulley TowerQ: How does it work in the studio? For example, what proportion of people come in looking for Gyrotonic versus Pilates?
Bryan:
We are very fortunate in that we have a roughly equal number of people come in to the studio looking for Pilates or Gyrotonic. This was certainly not the case several years ago. (Many more people came initially for Pilates then decided they wanted to try Gyrotonic). There are three reasons we have seen more people come in asking specifically for Gyrotonic:

1. Gyrotonic is becoming more mainstream and its brand is more established in the general public.
2. We also get a lot of referrals from myofascial specialists/Rolfers, chiropractors and other specialists specifically for Gyrotonic. Because of the diagonal/spiraling nature of the fascial planes (think Tom Meyers Anatomy Trains), the circular/spiraling movements of Gyrotonic are very effective at impacting and releasing the soft tissue.
3. Many clients living here in Albuquerque have family members who do Gyrotonic in another city and refer them to our studio so they can try it. I just got a call yesterday from a woman whose daughter does Gyrotonic in London, and she found our Website for her mother here in Albuquerque.

Q: Do you often mix both into a session?
Bryan:
We prefer not to mix the two methods. Like Pilates, the design of the Gyrotonic approach is to have a full-body experience within an approximately 60-minute session. We feel like it dilutes that intent to mix them within the same hour.

Q: Can you give me an example of a type of client you think responds better (physically or mentally) to Gyrotonic than Pilates or vice versa?
Aline:
[To put it another way], the strengths found in Pilates include: initial abdominal awareness, for a non-mover the frames of the equipment provide logical guides for the client (i.e. right/left, up/down), for spinal instability the beds are supportive and provide clear body awareness.

Strengths found in Gyrotonic include: muscle balancing for unilateral sports, [it is] helpful in reducing inflammation, and increases range of motion in multiple joints on a systemic level. I have found that certain clients simply “prefer” the exercises and design of the equipment in Pilates or Gyrotonic. Some people like the feeling of the spring resistance in Pilates. Other clients prefer the water-like resistance of Gyrotonic. Also, the framework of Pilates appeals to certain people, while others desire the circles and spirals of Gyrotonic.

Q: What is the goal (or some of the goals) of Gyrotonic work from a practitioner’s perspective? What kinds of changes do clients experience within their bodies with regular practice?
Bryan:
We work with everyone from elite athletes to people with severe injuries. With athletes, we can do sports-specific training and injury prevention. There are “therapeutic protocols” for scoliosis, the shoulder girdle and the pelvis. We work with young dancers and athletes as young as 10 years old and we have 70- and 80-year-olds as well.

So, the “goal” depends on the individual’s goal. It may be rehabilitation/therapeutic. It may be sport-specific or it may be general fitness. Many people enjoy strength training without impact or strain in the joints.

Clients experience feeling looser, taller, less tension in the neck, shoulder and low back. They quite often experience very quick relief of low back pain and an increase mobility of the spine. Increased range of motion, increased balance, stress reduction. An overall openness and invigoration of the entire body.

Q: Why should the Pilates community be interested in Gyrotonic?
Bryan:
One thing that is really exciting about Gyrotonic is that the founder Juliu Horvath is still alive. Aline and I have had the privilege of working directly with Juliu for many years now, and that has been an extremely valuable experience that we both cherish. The Gyrotonic community is very much like a family. Gyrotonic is continuing to evolve as Juliu invents/creates new apparatus, new exercises, etc.

Aline: I always tell my trainees, “Pilates is here to stay because it works.” The same is true for Gyrotonic. If a trainer or studio owner wants to offer the best approaches that our industry has to offer, then Gyrotonic without a doubt would have to be included on that list.

________________________________________________

GETTING CERTIFIED IN GYROTONIC

Locations: Worldwide

Structure: A 6-day pre-training must be taken. Within 90 days of taking the pre-training, one must take the 12-day “Foundation Teacher Training Course.” This is followed by an apprenticeship, which includes practice teaching and another 6 days spent with a Master Trainer. This prepares you for the Final Certification. At this time, the Final Certification courses are only conducted in South Beach/Miami, Fla., or southern Germany.

Note from Bryan: Gyrokinesis is the equivalent of Pilates Mat. It is the stool/floor work, and is a completely separate training program (pretraining, foundation course, apprenticeship and certification). Also, there are trainings available in specialized equipment once one is Gyrotonic certified.

Cost: Varies, but it is advisable to budget around $3,000 for the certification start to finish. This includes the fact that each studio can add a studio fee, and most people will have to fly to Florida or Germany to finish the certification.

For more information:
www.gyrotonic.com

Nicole Rogers is a Pilates instructor and writer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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RELATED ARTICLES
Continuing Ed: The Alexander Technique
Continuing Ed: The Feldenkrais Method
Continuing Ed: The Franklin Method
Continuing Ed: Learning from Pilates Elders
Continuing Ed: FAMI Workshop

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Reader Comments (70)

Amy, I appreciate you wanting to include the Gyro work as a side bar to the Pilates industry, but you are comparing apples to oranges.

I have been through their training and aside from a beautifully designed machine, that has to be one of the biggest "cash cows" I have ever experienced.

All movement is rotational. It is the only way the body is designed to move. Pilates strengthens the base alignment so you are more efficient in your daily movements and Gyro entertains those rotational movements.

Basically, the client is paying you a lot of money for choreography.

Also, it is difficult to take a movement program seriously, when the Master teacher needs to take a cigarette break.

Pilates teachers, save your money.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

Wow! Is that how some members of the pilates community respond to other approaches? The fact that Gyrotonic emphasizes rotational movement is precisely what makes it so functional and beneficial. Are you saying Stacey that people already move in that fashion with complete ease? That there isn't something to be gained by this type of training/movement work? Given that pilates is so linear and non-spiralic, I think it would be/is a great complement.

What does it matter whether someone smokes or not? Let's put your entire lifestyle under a microscope and see if you exemplify the perfect existence without flaws or vices. It doesn't mean he has nothing to offer... . If someone doesn't recycle or eat organic food does that make their other contributions to life less meaningful?

And although pilates claims to provide the 'base' for movement, is it natural or healthy to walk without contralateral rotation of the pelvic girdle, spine, ribcage and arms? That is something that gyrotonic is wonderful at addressing... oppositional coordination. Sorry, but walking with a stiff lumbopelvic region for the sake of "stability" is not natural or healthy... so I think the pilates world could really benefit from some of the insights and practices of gyrotonic.

Also, gyrotonic deserves to be recognized as something on its own, not an 'add-on' to pilates. And I fail to see how pilates is not about "choreography" as well... Hello, the 'classic series'.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

As to the smoking, legend has it that Joe enjoyed his cigars, but I do agree with Stacey and think that one needs to walk the walk if you are going to be working in the fitness/wellness lifestyle coaching fields.
And JW we DO NOT teach our clients to move without contralateral roation, we DO NOT teach our clients to walk with a stiff lumbopelvic region.
What we do is guide our clients toward acheiving balance of mind, body and spirit. By bringing the client focus inward we are helping them restore their own natrual movement patterns through self-awareness, we are teaching integration and whole body movement, we are teaching a committment to a balanced whole body using the princlplpes of control,concentration, centering, flowing motion, rhythm,precision and breath and keeping mindful of these principles during the choreography of the exercises.
I have done Gyro and love it, but the movements are for the sake of movement alone and are not built on the progression of "base alignment movement patterns that that Stacey was apeaking about.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLA

Fine.. We agree to disagree on some things. Let's leave the bulk of that alone to avoid the usual debate.

As for the last part though relating to gyrotonic. Gyrotonic is not merely movements for the sake of movement alone. Why can't one achieve/explore stability in those movements while also discovering where their not moving, while also trying to bring greater awareness around and throughout the entire body, while also feeling the connection and integration of the movement from the feet on upward through the pelvis and spine (WHILE THEY ACTUALLY ARE MOVING!) and up through the head.... ETC, ETC, ETC.!

I think it's fair to say that one could do pilates with the same narrow-mindedness that you're describing... moving for the sake of movement alone.... It doesn't have to spiritual or mindfully integrated if one CHOOSES it not to be. Why can't one approach and practice gyrotonics with "mind, body and spirit" (as if they were EVER separate to begin with)?

And my body works incredibly well under strenuous and demanding activities as well as daily life, without injury or chronic pain, despite not using pilates-based alignment principles and overworking my core.

Why all the negativity towards gyrotonics? Seems hypocritical to me. That you all would jump on my back for asking difficult questions about pilates and telling me that everything has value and no one thing is better than another. And still, how does his smoking effect his ability to connect to movement and develop a valuable kinesthetic movement approach? Did Joe eat all organic? Did he drink wheat grass everyday? And it's still debatable whether what he did to his body and his clients was entirely beneficial!

Again, it's not enough to say; 'We don't do this or that..... We guide clients toward mind, body and spirit'. You may in fact do that, but it doesn't mean how you go about that doesn't create the things I mentioned, among others.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

I wrote this on my other blog before this article came out:
"It’s true that it is quite common for pilates teachers to embrace GYROTONIC®. I personally thoroughly enjoy GYROTONIC® and I am a teacher of it. In my experience, however, the reverse is not at all common."
I do not think there is negativity in our community towards GYROTONIC®. Some will say that they don't need to learn it though and that is their right.

There are plenty of teachers of GYROTONIC® who will say they do not ever feel that they need to understand what pilates is. That is their right. However, they will admit to a minimal understanding of pilates, and still choose to use what little they know of it, which, lucky for them, includes the "negative" press about pilates that echoes the views that have been expressed, over and over again, on this forum, to their marketing benefit.
Interesting.

I look forward to more community interaction for the benefit of both forms and for the public.

Carole Amend
http://aimacademysi.blogspot.com
Please view, if you have an inquiring mind, and also read what I wrote on the Anatomy Trains Forum, regarding word usage.

NOTE: GYROTONIC is a registered trademark of Gyrotonic Sales Corp is and used with their permission.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarole Amend

Carole,

I can appreciate your perspective as both a teacher of pilates and gyrotonic alike and you're point on the converse of negative outlooks/opinions. However, ones right to "choose" whether they want to learn something new or different is one thing, while saying "Pilates teachers, save your money" is flat out inappropriate and unjustifiably narrow-minded, bias and unprofessional.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

Stacey,
I think the studies done on gyrotonic in relation to low back pain and core stability in particular shows it's more than just "choreography". And that the increase of 'core stability scores' in the study demonstrate it has value and impact on core stability, despite not being pilates or following pilates-based alignment/stability principles.

There's always more than one way... The more valuable inquiries should revolve around why and how each approach achieves those ends, not asserting non-evidence based dominance of one over the other.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

JW,
It baffles me why you imply that I am, "flat out inappropriate and unjustifiably narrow-minded, bias and unprofessional."
I did not write "Pilates teachers, save your money" and never would.
Yet when people read your post, it sounds as if I did.
*This is precisely the kind of inflammatory non-professional comment/miscontruction that does not lead us towards the community understanding.
Carole

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarole Amend

Carole,
That was not directed at you. I was referring to Stacey's comment. The post I wrote was directed at you as an inquiry into how you could take the position of defending or justifying that remark... Not to suggest you made the remark. That remark was made by Stacey in her first post... the first post on this topic.

And although you see it as inflammatory, I stand behind it because I believe her remark to "save your money" was very inappropriate... in addition to the other comments made.

Sorry if there was a mis-understanding as to who said what. Hopefully that clarifies it.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

Now that the source of that quote I cited has been cleared of your name, I would like to make it clear to you that I did not start the inflammatory remarks here... The very first response to this article began on a negative foot... which was not me.

I think the article was well written and gyrotonic deserves more credibility than being considered a "side bar to the pilates industry", as Stacey put it.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

JW,

You are really defending a teacher's right to smoke after they just got done preaching to a group of students about the "sacred pump" of the body? You can not compare Joe's habits of yesteryear with what we know to be true today. It is irresponsible.

I did many sessions, including my foundations training at the Gyro headquarters in Dingman's Ferry,PA. Talk about the middle of no where.

This is a movement program that does not explain the origin of it's system, nor does it require any knowledge of anatomy and physiology. My questions were answered with "that's the way Juliu has always done it" To me, there is a limited population of clients that want to pretend to move like kelp or spin in circles until they feel nauseous.

I stand behind my statement "Pilates teachers, save your money" One piece of equipment was over a 10K investment. By the time you added in the training fees, it can take a couple of years to recoup those costs before you see a profit. Each piece of equipment requires more thousands.

Gyro might look fancy, but when it comes to strengthening the physical infrastructures of the human body; there ain't nothin' like Pilates.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

OK Stacey... .

True 'stability' comes from integrated coordinative movement... "strength" is always secondary. Without coordination strength is nothing more than a compensation for the deeper inadequacies of fluid, balanced and full expression. I think gyrotonic has a lot to offer in that realm. And to put it in terms Carole might appreciate, there are more similarities than differences. And the woman in the picture at the heading of this article looks pretty darn healthy and strong to me. As are the many folks I've met in gyro studios over the years.

"You can not compare Joe's habits of yesteryear with what we know to be true today. It is irresponsible." So why not apply that same time-evolved gain in 'truths' to his method then? If we can learn over time that certain foods are better than others for us, why can't we objectively see that certain movements or alignment principles may be better than what was previously thought? Just wondering... .

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

JW,

I have been on that train of thought for years. Joe did not invent what today we call Pilates, the same as Juliu did not invent Gyrotonic. They can both be credited with modernizing and consolidating equipment, but the foundation and science behind the movements have been around since the '1800s. I have photos of machines invented by Dr. Gustav Zander that look very similar to the machines invented by Joe and Juliu. What we call Pilates and Gyrotonic today are modernized versions of what was referred to as medico-mechanical gymnastics.

The Pilates work is evolving JW. You just haven't met the right people yet.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

To confirm Jw's guess, yes, I would agree that there are many similiarities. Movement runs on continuums. It would be interesting, though, to ask how many teachers come into Gyrotonic after also being Pilates and Feldenkrais teachers like those profiled, or after studying other movement and exercise forms. Many, from all walks, are getting on the same page at this time, building their knowledge base as movement teachers. Stick with one thing or study many, and I think eventually, it's conceivable that you could get to the same place, if you understand dynamics.

So, until I see what Stacey does in person, I choose to reserve judgment. I am here to listen and understand what fellow teachers have to say. In my opinion, we will not have consensus in our community (about "what was previously thought") until teachers of different styles come together in one room and look at the dynamics of their work, which is what my work has been about all these years. That is my personal reason in choosing not to entertain that question, at this time, as it has been asked over and over again by someone from a different vantage point.

I see Stacey's comments as her opinions, which she has a right to express. It's one pilates teacher addressing others.

Also, I would agree with Stacey that "when it comes to strengthening the physical infrastructures of the human body; there ain't nothin' like Pilates," if for no other reason, then because of the uniqueness of the springs. That is the most obvious difference between Gyrotonic and pilates, as I see it, in terms of the effects on the body (btw, there's another article on this subject on Pilates Digest that does mention it). Maybe it's just considered too obvious for this Forum, which is why it's not mentioned (the informative article above focused on other important concepts), however, I think that's pretty important to note.

In our studio, we also have a Lifefitness 4:1 resistance dual adjustable pulley tower, used by fitness instructors, similar in feel to the Gyrotonic tower. There are other equipment features, though, that make Gyrotonic unique, like the circles, to name one.

Can you have a balanced, healthy body without ever having done pilates? Of course. The same is true for Gyrotonic or personal training. Do people alleviate their pain without the help of a PT? Certainly. Can you go your whole life without ever having an SI/KMI session? I would bet that's possible. There's something good in everything; it's a matter of choice.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarole Amend

One more thing.

Looks are deceiving. You can not determine a person's level of strength or health by how they look. A person's strength is determined by their ability to support the weight of their own body. Their health is determined by how efficient the internal structures are performing. You can't tell that by a photograph.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

"The Pilates work is evolving JW. You just haven't met the right people yet."

I guess not. Forgive me for living in the stone ages.

Sure, you can't evaluate ones health via a picture entirely. However, judging by her 'strength', or ability to support her own weight as you put (that's a very questionable and narrow definition of strength but I'll move past it), she seems fairly strong to be able to stand inverted on one leg while also working with the tower. The overall tone of her soft tissue and flexibility in addition to the strength, control and coordination displayed would suggest to me on some level that her physiology is good. It would require good neurologic control and function, decent metabolite exchange to maintain such soft tissue tone and skin complexity, and the color of ones skin is also a visual reflection of internal health. Although none of these are definitive by any means, nothing is. Who knows otherwise.... . Is your point to try and further dismiss gyro as having benefit equal to that of pilates.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

"There's something good in everything; it's a matter of choice."

And there's also something to be missed in everything we dismiss or don't choose. Pilates, yoga, felden., gyro will simply never achieve what manual approaches can at times, and the converse is also very much true. I'm not debating that.

Beyond the obvious Carole is the more important question to me. How can we as a 'collective' help properly educate the public about the strengths and weaknesses, benefits and limitations, inclusions and exclusions of the various movement and/or manual approaches out there? And when to utilize them.

This is not the avenue that I intended to go down on this thread, but I guess it always seems to come back to your integrated model of communication... regardless of the topic.

And you always seem to find a way to support, defend or otherwise permit your 'friends' to say what they like without judgment. Yet if it were me who said 'Don't waste your money on pilates' you'd all be throwing a fit. Who's to say that a pilates teacher claiming they can "fix" a scoliosis isn't one big "cash cow"?

"Do people alleviate their pain without the help of a PT? Certainly. Can you go your whole life without ever having an SI/KMI session? I would bet that's possible. There's something good in everything; it's a matter of choice."

Well, of course, who was suggesting otherwise? Maybe the more important questions here would be; What would have happened if one 'did' receive SI work earlier in life? Or what would have happened if one did see an Osteopath following their accident/injury? What if the scoliosis was spoken to with precise manual approaches as well as movement? Sure people are going to live... this isn't internal medicine folks. But what if they could make a more educated choice?

Why do you always bring my profession into this? I'd appreciate it if you didn't continue to make this an SI vs. ????whatever thing. I'm not here promoting or comparing my work to anything.... so why keep bringing it into the topic at hand?

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

JW,

I think people tend to buy in to the visual appeal more than the reality. Pilates didn't make it to the mainstream without the promise of thin thighs, flat stomachs, etc. How many people would come running in the front door if they were told that exercise would give them great posture and develop muscles that will never be seen by the naked eye?

Gyrotonic relys on the thin, toned bodies of dancers to lend appeal to their system. They have Pilates teachers convinced that their work offers a dimension of movement that is impossible to achieve in Pilates. Not only is that not true, but it is just ridiculous to anyone that knows anything about the human body.

JW, I really understand your criticism about the Pilates work. I've seen the same problems in almost every type of movement program including Gyro.

That feeling of moving through water might feel great. Sure it is an option for the client that isn't willing to put in the amount of effort it takes to develop the physical body. Is it in the best interest of the client and is it worth the price tag?

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

One more thing.

JW, I would hardly consider myself a cash cow, but it's Ok for you to think so.

Scoliosis was effectively treated with exercise as far back as the '1800s. Orthopedic's were doctors, not surgeons, and not only were they able to fix spinal curvatures, but they cured them. Somehow, in the 21st century we are no longer able to do that.

I have certainly shared my first hand experience as to why not to waste money on gyro training, I would be interested to hear why you think someone should.

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Redfield

If scoliosis was being "cured" back then, why wouldn't that knowledge be used now? Or are you the only one privy to it? And trust me, I know and believe that scoliosis can be worked with in some instances, to varying degrees of success.... but it is highly unpredictable and inconsistent at best. And I don't feel it is appropriate to promise ANYTHING to someone with the condition or suggest it can be "fixed" without knowing the cause.

"Gyrotonic relys on the thin, toned bodies of dancers to lend appeal to their system."

Insert 'Pilates' in place of "Gyrotonic" and the sentence still rings very true! I mean seriously, look at the countless pilates magazines out there! It's one 'dancer body' after another dressed in tight clothing or next to nothing at all. Clothing lines that accent the butt and thin, flat abdomen... . What does clothing and magazines have to do with spirituality and mind-body connections?

Preying on and profiting from peoples' self-ascribed bodily insecurities is twisted. That doesn't sound spiritual to me either, but hey, what do I know? You can buy just about anything in the Western world these days... if you still have a job.

p.s.-Have I not given you reasons why I feel Gyrotonic is valuable? How about you compare the hundreds with any one of the gyrotonic movements... I'll let you choose which one. Share with me the benefits and purpose of each. Or just the hundreds, since it sounds like anything gyro is a waste of time. And then tell me why the gyro movement is useless or ineffective.

We both know in the end we will still be standing our ground and disagreeing... The difference is that you seem to think it's pilates or nothing at all. Too bad for you. We all know plently of "strong" individuals and athletes alike who haven't even muttered the words 'pilates'. So why can't other approaches be equally effective? I'm not expecting a reply to that, I simply disagree with you and Carole both that pilates is the supreme way to condition the body. And after all, I'm entitled to my opinion.

There are some very fundamental differences between our 'opinions'/points of view... I won't bother to mention them, but suffice to say, we are unlikely to ever see eye to eye in this lifetime, without a major apocalypse in thinking. Sorry... .

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

Anyone out there have anything positive to say about gyrotonic or of general interest on the topic of this article? This is absurd!

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjustwondering

My comment is were you "narrowing" through your movements?
The narrowing is a key componet in Juliu's work. I have had great success with my clients and back pain by learning how to self traction thier lumbar spine, if you will.
Narrowing is not easily maintained during fexion, extension, side bending or zide arch as Paul Horvath says, rotation and then any combination of the three?
Were you able to keep your toes off the ground while you were seated to keep proper foot alignment?
Were your limbs internally and externally rotating when you arch/curled?
Did you use leg contrast when you twisted. When you had your feet in the straps, where you able to point and flex your legs seperately while you moved?
Did you scoop your shoulders when doing arm exercises?
Much more mental work than just choreagraphy.
I try to give new movement philosophy more than just one lesson.
I appreciate your experience was not positive, whatever floats your boat!!! I think there are unique simularaties (sp!) between Joe and Juliu, but also see the difference in intention of the two works. I, personally, believe Juliu is the Joesph Pilates of our time and am excited to be a part of it. I wrote my view on Pilates vs. Gyrotonic on Pilates Digest if anyone cares to explore.

I like your article, Deborah. It kind of makes me want to try Gyro again. I did not have a good experience with it five years ago when I did ten sessions with a certified teacher. Was it the teacher? Was it the exercise system? Was it me? I don't know but it did not "float my boat." I wasn't injured or anything like that but it certainly didn't feel like I was doing anything beneficial for my body. In fact, it felt as if my joints were being compromised.

I think the interesting question brought up in this discussion is: What is your definition of strength? I'm going to have to think about that a while and come up with my answer.

Regarding the smoking . . . everyone has their vices. Don't be so harsh.

One more thing . . . I'm a classical (Romana-style) teacher and think it's not such a bad thing to have a set routine. People don't have to think so much about what comes next and can focus on flow and transitions. Romana called it poetry in motion.

April 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdropshot

Did I say pilates was "supreme"? No, I did not. That's funny; no one has ever accused me of that before! I do think pilates is awesome, though. I said that the springs, in particular, make pilates unique (if we are comparing).

As a teacher of both disciplines, I appreciate both in helping clients with different needs, goals, and preferences. I was glad to find a way to come up with the time and money needed to learn it.

April 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarole Amend

JW-

off subject and just for fun here---

Your photography analysis---- (no refelection on the model, only refering to the analysis by JW)

Its been said that a healthy body is not necessarily beautiful and a beautiful body is not necessarily healthy. Aside from that, now I know you are a male over 50 years of age lacking in a Pilates and Ballet background. And yes this is a marketing shot utilizing a dancer, current or former. Also I can state confidently that some of the most beautiful, toned, physically articulate, artistically trained "movers", can many times be filled with vodka, nicotine, cocaine and worse and still maintain tone, coordination, balance and look perfect! LOL! Coco Chanel would be proud that her trend that color of ones skin would reflect the "appearance" of health. Wow. Your posts are verging on creepy.

April 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUh-oh

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