Don’t know what Gyrotonic training is? Why should you find out
Every evening, on my way home from work, I pass Pilates Advantage Hawaii in Kaimuki. Its big floor-to-ceiling windows are adorned with photos of people frozen in graceful exercise poses.
So of course, as part of my series on different types of exercise classes to relieve stress, I just had to stop and get more information.
Pilates Advantage actually specializes in Gyrotonic and Pilates training. Since I already know a bit about Pilates, which stresses strengthening and stretching exercises, I decided to focus on Gyrotonic training.
When you visit Pilates Advantage, the first thing you’ll notice is the Gyrotonic training equipment. The machines might look like they deliver torture, but you’ll actually come to love them. I was wishing I had some of this equipment at home.
At the studio, I met up with Jaydene, the manager, and instructor Wainani. Both are former professional dancers, and are currently faculty for the Balanced Body certification program and Gyrotonic teacher pre-trainers.
Wainani was an aerial dancer, those athletes who perform breathtaking feats and fly through the air on long cloth ribbons.
“That type of dancing sure does a number on your body,” Wainani says. “I learned about pilates and Gyrotonic training in dancing school and I really took to it as a way to take care of my body and to lessen the effects of any injuries in my work.”
Wainani has a very soothing way about her and made me feel like I was at a spa. She started me off in a sitting position on a stool, working on moving to improve posture and be aware of my “sit bones” — or the bottom of the tailbone — as I moved back and forth and side-to-side.
After that, I started using the machines with her guidance. Every move was very fluid, deliberate, and included a lot of instruction to be precise. I was concentrating a lot while exercising and became very aware of my body and how I felt.
So how did I feel? Relaxed. I didn’t have any pain or soreness. I might be imagining things but I swear I also felt taller afterwards with all the instruction on posture.
The day after doing the training, I was a bit sore in my mid-section. It felt like I had worked deep abdominal muscles. Wainani told me her very athletic husband had a hard time at first changing the way he worked out to include these exercises and now I see why. Gyrotonic training is totally unique, but uniquely effective.
Being808: So how can someone benefit from Gyrotonic conditioning and Pilates?
Jaydene: It’s all about helping people of all ages and stages of fitness to make long-lasting change here. It’s about the art and science of movement no matter what their sport or daily activity. They have fun while connecting the brain and body in a new way based on the anatomy and biomechanics of the body. You want ease of movement throughout the course of your day. You want to optimize your performance.
Being 808: What’s your typical client like?
Jaydene: All ages, anyone from a beginner to advanced athlete, plus anyone who suffers from an injury, knee surgeries, shoulder surgery. We have clients who golf, run marathons, are in high-level volleyball or other youth sports, as well as stay-at-home moms and people who just want to be healthy and in good shape.
If you want to improve your balance, flexibility, range of motion, your core strength, work on back, knee, or shoulder concerns, then you’re in the right place. We train instructors here as well as provide classes and personal training. We help you work the deepest muscles of your core in every rep of every exercise.
Being808: What areas of the body does this exercise target?
Jaydene: We target the whole body, not only a single muscle group. Everything is connected. The Gyrotonic system recognizes that the body naturally moves in circular, spiraling ways. It’s “fascial fitness,” which means everything is connected. So we stretch and strengthen in all directions. You’ll learn about your particular body. You’ll feel more flexible and fast. Over time you’ll analyze the way you stand, sit, balance, and so on.
Denise Lau is a content specialist at HMSA and blogs about mommyhood with her #808moms series. She has her hands full with a precocious, artistic daughter and active son. Her goal is to be healthy and fit while her kids become successful, well-rounded adults. Follow her on Twitter.