By Dominika Borovansky Gaines
Specialized GYROTONIC® Master Trainer at Phoenix GYROTONIC®
The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® was developed by Juliu Horvath more than 30 years ago. A blend of dance, yoga, tai chi, and swimming, the method promotes fluid, undulating motion accompanied by varied breathing patterns to regenerate and stimulate the entire body. The system incorporates two modalities: GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® exercise. GYROKINESIS is a flow yoga-type class where movements are performed seated on stools, on the floor and standing. The GYROTONIC practice utilizes specialized equipment which supports the body through all ranges of movement and encourages expansion and suppleness. The system is appropriate for people of all ages or abilities.
Here I have noted 7 reasons how the system works to promote health and longevity:
1. Decompression of the Spine and Joints Counteracts the Effects of Gravity
The GYROTONIC method emphasizes “stability through contrast.” The primary focus of each session is lengthening and strengthening the muscles around the spine and all the joints of the body. In vertically “elevating” the spine–reaching downward throught the legs and sit bones and upward through the back of the head– intervertebral disc spaces are decompressed, helping to reduce impingements and, often, reducing back pain. At the same time, the light resistance created by the decompression of each movement strengthens the muscles around the joints and increases blood flow to the tendons and ligaments. Through the pulling forces of decompression, bone strength is increased. You will finish a session feeling taller and having a lightness in your body.
2. Mobilizing the Spine Stimulates the Nervous System
By utilizing all the natural movements of the spine (flexion, extension, lateral flexion right and left, rotation right and left and combinations of these), the nerves of the entire body and accompanying dermatomes–areas fed by the nerves–are stimulated. Gentle stretching of the nerves massages them and assists with unwinding tension patterns. From the soles of your feet to the tips of your fingers to the top of your head, your body is awakened and innervated.
3. Gentle Spiraling Motions Keeps the Fascia Pliable
A unique aspect of this method is the emphasis on spiraling motions. While many systems involve twisting, GYROTONIC movement emphasizes the spiral, which means that every rotation has an energy upward and downward simultaneously (imagine a barbershop pole). With this intention, there is no compression of the joint, and the fascial tissues (which are wound in, around and through every fiber of your body) are wrung like a washcloth. The more fascia moves and unwinds, the more hydrated and pliable it becomes. This pliability is imperative for keeping your body moving well.
4.Moving and Stretching the Whole Body Stimulates the Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system’s primary job is to pump blood and oxygen throughout your body. Through whole body movement, blood flow is increased to the extremities via the main arteries, all the capillaries and arterioles. This has the significance of improving the health of the cardiovascular system without stressing the heart. Specific breathing patterns assist and support the movements, helping to deliver yet more oxygen. As a practioner becomes more skilled, exercises are repeated rhythmically and with greater speed, creating a gentle, low-impact cardiovascular “workout.”
5.Stimulating the Vestibular System Enhances BalanceJerry-arching
From the earliest lessons, simple stretches for the neck and spine include movements that take the head away from the vertical axis. This affects the internal righting mechanisms of the cochlea by moving the fluid within the inner ear. Over time these movements become multi-planer and the body becomes more comfortable when not vertical. Additional simple balance exercises such as stepping side to side and gentle twirling are included to bring more dynamic balance and to eliminate the fear of falling.
6.Coordinating Breathing Patterns Increases Oxygen Levels Throughout the Body
Juliu Horvath, founder and creator, has been quoted as saying, “breath equals rhythm, equals breath, equals rhythm.” Breath is a keystone of our vitality. The better we breathe, the more oxygenated our body will become. More oxygen means better regeneration of tissue which in turn improves longevity. Each movement has an accompanying breath pattern and, when mastered, the coordination of breath and movement stimulates the body on numerous levels.
7.Safe, Fluid Movement Maintains and Often Enhances Range of Motion in the JointsIn-Close
A lifetime of both small and large injuries, physical and emotional traumas, surgeries and repetitive movement such as sitting and driving can result in less than optimal range of motion The GYROTONIC equipment supports the body and encourages safe movement where there has been restriction. Many times this results in a client achieving greater movement in their ALL their joints creating a new fluidity and ease throughout the entire body.
BONUS BENEFIT! The GYROTONIC method is playful! Creator Juliu Horvath believes in the healing power of playfulness and that maintaining a child-like quality of joy, spontaneity and curiosity in our movement throughout our lives will keep us more youthful.