It seems like pilates has been a factor in just about every fitness fad in town, from barre to cardio-lated and the short-lived ‘piloxing’.
Now, celebrities, sports stars and gym bunnies are jumping on the Gyrotonic bandwagon, spiralling and twisting their way to a streamlined physique.
What is it?
Gyrotonic looks like pilates, feels like gymnastics, has the breathing techniques of yoga, and uses the same muscle groups as swimming.
Developed for dancers in the 1970s, Gyrotonic is multiple workouts in one to improve muscle tone, posture and flexibility.
How does it work?
Using a series of flowing, circular movements, Gyrotonic strengthens muscles and builds stamina. Sweeping, arcing motions are combined with breathing patterns to help you focus on bodily co-ordination and mental relaxation.
The method is done on a special piece of equipment called the pulley tower combination unit, which has adjustable pieces to guide, support and challenge (through resistance) students in different exercises.
Why all the fuss?
Nikki Chrysostomou is the director of the Tranquility Pilates Centre in Blackfriars and has been teaching the Gyrotonic method for more than a decade.
She says that though the practice remains relatively unknown in the UK, celebrity endorsements, like that of Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, have generated a spike in interest.
“Gyrotonic really doesn’t get the recognition here that it deserves, and I don’t know why because it’s such an expressive movement and you feel fabulous afterwards. Pilates alone is very linear, very forward and back, whereas Gyrotonic combines extension, flexion and rotation in one movement.”
Chrysostomou says practicing the Gyrotonic method helps people recover from sports injuries by releasing tension and improving alignment, while regular practice will mobilise the spine, stimulate muscles and increase flexibility and energy.
Because of the size of the machines, classes are usually one-to-one, so they tend to be pricey. Expect to pay between £65 and £85 for an hour-long session.
Where can I try it?
Tranquility Pilates Centre, 16-18 New Bridge Street EC4V 6AG, or check gyrotonic.com to find classes near you.