Monday, April 20, 2009

Balanced exercise - Gyrotonic

Balanced exercise

GyroWHAT? Gyrotonic is a mixture of yoga, dancing, swimming, tai chi and gymnastics. It's nothing new; it's just repackaged in a really nice format. It emphasizes articulation of the joints -- particularly the spine -- and then strength through expansion. Gyro is Greek for "spiral" and tonic is "health." The only other synonym I have ever found for gyrotonic is "balance" -- balance in your body, balance in your life, balance in your approach to motion and exercise.

Equipment overlooks nothing Traditionally, you go to a gym and work out your quads and hamstrings and maybe calves, but you don't work other connective tissue -- say, everything around the ankles or knees. So you end up building something that's structurally very large, but isn't held together well. Gyrotonic tends to work the body in a far more holistic capacity.

Layers of strength It works not only the large muscles, but also the fascia, soft tissue, connective tissue. We move in complex, compound motions. Strengthening in one particular direction only prepares you for activity in that range of motion. Gyrotonic moves the body and exercises the body in all 360 degrees, and it prepares not only the large but also the small muscles for any activity or range of motion.

Pass it on I got into [gyrotonic] probably five, six years ago. It's the most intelligent form of exercise I've ever found. As that's become my passion, it's also become my primary vocation, and I opened a gyrotonic studio in August of last year.

Stronger, leaner, more limber Besides my being stronger and leaner, my flexibility has greatly improved. It's much more than just being able to touch my toes -- my whole body and spine are far more fluid, flexible and graceful in motion.

Feed the body well Exercise is just one component of a healthy life. Eating is definitely another part of it, and I'm a firm believer in eating well. I try to eat very healthy: whole, organic nonprocessed foods. I subscribe to a CSA and go to the farmers markets several times a week during the season. I am a firm believer that once a person is not eating processed foods, the body's natural cravings will help direct your eating habits into what is best for you.