The name might sound like some sort of sexual healing tincture, but Gyrotonic is actually an amazing form of exercise.
Even categorizing this movement philosophy simply as exercise sells Gyrotonic short, and if you can't tell by that statement let me be a little more explicit: I love Gyrotonic. It is similar to Pilates, but more multi-dimensional. Pilates tends to work mostly in two planes where Gyrotonic moves you through three planes of motions, often simultaneously. It is very circular where Pilates can be very square. Gyrotonic emphasizes mobility and Pilates tends to focus more on stability. You can think of Gyrotonic as yoga with resistance and continual motion.
Learn more about Gyrotonic.
The equipment looks fairly intimidating, but believe me, the motion of Gyrotonic feels so great making it easy to ignore the medieval image of the machine. The exercises — there are about 50 sets of moves with multiple variations — are based on the principles of yoga, ballet, swimming, t'ai chi, and gymnastics. The system emphasizes breath control and controlled resistance to develop flexibility and strength while encouraging a complete range of circular motion.
The main piece of equipment, the Pulley Tower sometimes referred to as the cobra, consists of a bench that you sit or lie on and a tower with a system of cables, pulleys, and weights that you move with straps on your hands or feet, or with handles attached to circular plates in the front.
Gyrotonic is definitely a mind/body exercise so it is rare that you would get bored during a session. You can find Gyrotonic instructors at many Pilates studios since the two forms are quite complementary. The downside is that private sessions are as expensive, if not more so, than private Pilates and tend to be between $65 to $85 a session. Group classes are rare since the machine is so dang big, but they are out there. This type of movement is great for golfers and Tiger Woods is a fan. As are Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler and Teri Hatcher. Have you ever tried Gyrotonic?