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  • Writer's pictureClaire Harrison

Complementing your Pilates Practice with the GYROTONIC® Method



4 HIGHLY-CREDENTIALED MOVEMENT PROFESSIONALS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES

What do you get when you sit down to talk about movement with highly credentialed movement professionals, Dawnna Wayburne, Julie Cordier, Miriam Friedrich-Honorio, and Angela Crowley? Inspired is the first word that comes to mind, but we’re not sure that totally captures the experience, the wisdom, and the energy that radiates from each of them.

Before we dive into the inspiration, a quick introduction to our interviewees.

Although their backgrounds and paths that led them to the Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Methods may differ, each can pinpoint the exact moment they knew this modality was for them.

Dawnna Wayburne and Angela Crowley came to the Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Methods through injury. For Dawnna, a broken tailbone and Angela, a debilitating car accident.


For Dawnna Wayburne, the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods came at a time when Dawnna didn’t know how much she needed them. “I fell across the Gyrotonic Method through Geta Constantinescu, at the Academy of Performing Arts, she was an inspiration all on her own. I kept looking at this piece of equipment in the corner (Pulley Tower) and Geta said, ‘you really have to learn.’ Not long after, Dawnna fell backwards from a ladder and experienced a broken tailbone. “It was mostly fine, but every couple of weeks everything seized up. Not long after, I went to train in San Francisco with Polestar Founder Brent Anderson for some of the Pilates work he was doing there. They had a Jumping-Stretching Board at the Ballet and from the moment I tried it, I thought, ‘there is something here, I love what this is teaching me.’


Angela Crowley works with two-time National Champion Canadian diver, Melanie Rinaldi, training on the Gyrotonic Archway. In Angela’s case, after the car accident that changed her life, traditional medicine approaches such as traction in the hospital and intensive physical therapy had only helped a little. She didn’t accept this outcome, began searching, and met a naturopathic doctor who directed her towards a holistic path consisting of Pilates, deep neuromuscular therapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, and anti-inflammatory dietary changes.


Around this time she also began studying The Feldenkrais Method®, which utilises developmental and evolutionary organic movement patterns. At the time, she was struggling to apply these approaches to the systematic movement in Pilates. Not long after came the ‘Golden Moment’ as Angela refers to it. “I saw a picture of someone on a Gyrotonic machine with her hands on the handles. I could see that the movement of the handles gave access to, and facilitated, the movement of the spine, ribcage, and torso. My search was answered. I went to New York and studied with Juliu Horvath, who was still making each of the Gyrotonic machines by hand, at that time. “My first experience with Juliu blew my mind. I had never experienced anything like that – he knows how to move internal energy through breath and movement in a way that completely shifted my entire self. I’ve now been teaching the Gyrotonic Method for more than 25 years and remain equally passionate today about the endless possibilities of the system.”


For Julie, it was at the BodyMind Spirit conference in California many years ago where she had the chance to observe and try exercises on the equipment. She had never experienced anything like it and was completely mesmerized. She was in the midst of Comprehensive Pilates Training with Power Pilates and knew once that training was complete, her next focus would be the Gyrotonic Teacher Training program. In 2004, Julie began teaching Pilates, and in 2007, her studio BodyMind Balance became the first to offer Gyrotonic exercise in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Miriam Friedrich-Honorio says she fell in love from the first moment. After spending 20 years in contemporary dance, when she found herself no longer dancing, she longed for something that could replace the joy and satisfaction and way of expressing and communicating what she had felt previously with dancing. Gyrotonic simply felt so right, so organic, and true that she knew she wanted to become a Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Trainer.


“It is a healing system for me that as such, I had to discover. In the beginning, it did replace dance. I’m not a good talker, you have to know. The methods helped me to better communicate with myself and with the outside world. I feel these methods are the way to get the closest to myself with honesty, love, and care.”


ON COMPLEMENTING A PILATES PRACTICE


These movement professionals have found that the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods are a great complement to a Pilates practice, and that each modality supports the other.


Julie Cordier creates space in her body with the GYROTONIC® Cobra® Pulley Tower Unit.

“For me, Classical Pilates is very organized, grounded and stable,” says Julie Cordier. “I move deeply through those connections in every range of motion (therefore my Classical Pilates workout is very varied on equipment and in exercises within the method) and for me, it helps to maintain an even alignment in my spine and hips, as I have a mild scoliosis. Pilates helps me easily take care of myself and is very efficient and straightforward. The Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods allow me to explore movement in a limitless way and channel energy through my body with and without the equipment. I am able to clearly follow my patterns of alignment in spirals, figure 8’s, etc. when I have a stable and aligned base from Pilates. For me, they work together. I only teach the Gyrotonic Method and Classical Pilates method. In general, my teaching is very clear, paced and balanced in technique and flow. I workshop various elements of technique and thread them into the session with teaching themes through the week with my clients. Their workouts are a nice balance of physical and mental growth as they gain skills in movement and understand that it greatly enhances their daily lives.”


Miriam says: “My Pilates practice is more gentle, finding the strength – not only muscular strength, but the collaboration of different systems. I grew up with the Pilates Method according to Body Arts and Science (BASI™), quite contemporary and yet classical, but with lots of scientific research-based changes and modifications. Yet, the complex three-dimensional approach of the Gyrotonic Method, its principles inspired my Pilates approach.


Dawnna believes the Gyrotonic equipment does so much in a very organic way. “It shines a different light on the biomechanics and organic qualities of those shapes that are also present in the Pilates system.” She adds, “Primal movement, spiral, everything that comes within this cosmic glow that we inhabit. It brings together the earthiness of Pilates.”


For Angela, it’s all about the experience that happens throughout the entire body. “It’s the experience that makes you want more. I don’t compare the Gyrotonic Method and Pilates – you can’t make applesauce out of oranges – they’re completely different from the inside out. The Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods move from the inside out. The essence is the internal energy and breath moving through the spine and out to the extremities while nourishing our vital organs and health systems,” Angela says. She adds “Many people including myself have neck and low-back problems. In order to solve those issues, you have to deal with the movement between the two – the mid-back and ribcage. The Gyrotonic Method enables one to distribute the articulation of movement throughout the torso beautifully. This reduces the stress on the neck and low back. Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis are so different from anything else out there, you cannot know until you’ve felt it.”


For more information on Gyrotonic in Brighton, please get in touch.

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