Gyrotonic Is Taking Over San Diego
The workout aims to ease back pain and increase balance
When you think of a workout that’s designed to stretch the muscles, elongate the spine, and promote overall range of motion, you likely picture complicated poses, a mat, and some deep breathing, free of any mechanical aids like pullies, levers, and cables. But that’s exactly the technology at work in the Gyrotonic Expansion System. Juliu Horvath, a Romanian-born professional dancer, created the system in the 1970s to soothe his own aching injuries. The workouts, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis, are designed to invigorate the joints and increase balance, agility, strength, and flexibility.
“Gyrotonic stimulates the nervous and spinal system, creating a rejuvenation of both the body and the mind,” says Marla Bingham, a professional ballerina who opened her namesake La Jolla studio in 2004. “The exercises stimulate the tissues, so it’s almost like having a massage while you’re exercising. A lot of things are happening while your body is working in a circular movement. Simultaneously you’re stretching and strengthening. In other workouts, you’re doing one or the other—with Gyrotonic, you’re doing both.”
Gyrotonic-branded studios are popping up all over the county, including in Encinitas, Solana Beach, North Park, and Rancho Santa Fe.
Although similar to Pilates, another workout favored by former dancers, Gyrotonic is less linear and more three-dimensional, incorporating circular movements that rehabilitate the whole body. It’s well-suited for people with lower back pain or other injuries that prohibit them from going to a traditional gym.
The new Baby Boomer workout trend? Perhaps.
“Twelve years ago, I began having severe lower back pain and deteriorating posture that made me unable to run and play on the beach with my grandchildren without pain,” says Dr. C. Dennis Bucko, one of Bingham’s longtime clients. “My wife had been practicing Pilates and Gyrotonic at Marla’s studio and suggested I try it. Twelve years later, I now have two more grandkids I can still play with regularly.”
Bingham says the workout offers something for everyone no matter their age, thanks to its low-impact moves.
“Well-known dancers and athletes use Gyrotonic, and so do people well into their ’90s. It’s so user-friendly that people leave feeling immediately like they have a new body, full of strength and energy.”