Hello Gyro

Workouts Use Natural Body Patterns



photos courtesy Gyrotonic.com

“Imagine an exercise system that strengthens the body enough to be used in training world-class athletes, stretches more safely than any form of yoga and expands the core training concepts of Pilates into natural full-body movements like those used in everyday reaching and walking, along with jumping and swimming. This is the Gyrotonic system,” says Angela Crowley, a Gyrotonic master teacher, trainer and exercise spa owner in Coral Gables, Florida.

A former gymnast and dancer, Crowley took to the Gyrotonic approach after being severely injured in an automobile accident. “Traditional physical therapy only addressed certain aspects without bringing me back to normal,” she says. “Running and yoga felt intolerable. Gyrotonic exercises became a perfect bridge. I was able to rehabilitate safely while challenging myself to return to normal expectations and now, beyond.” The system of fluid movements leverages specially designed equipment that can be customized for every individual.

“The Gyrotonic system combines elements from many different modalities into three-dimensional, circular movements. A primary focus is on all the different motions of the spine and how to create rhythmic, flowing movement within the entire body,” says Stefani Schrimpf, Gyrotonic instructor and studio owner of Physiques, in Overland Park, Kansas. “The exercises strengthen, lengthen and stretch muscles, while stimulating connective tissues around the joints. They also improve balance, flexibility and coordination. This system allows you to push beyond specific limitations and to isolate and fine tune movement skills,” says Schrimpf.

While a Gyrotonic workout has similarities to yoga and Pilates, it is also unique. According to Melissa Jutras, a Pilates instructor, weightlifting coach, personal trainer and gym/studio owner of Big Blue Strength, in Lexington, Kentucky, “Hatha yoga is a series of static postures, whereas Pilates and Gyrotonic movements focus on flow, using equipment to enhance core strength, stability, control, coordination and flexibility. The difference is that Gyrotonic exercises works on three dimensions with every circular movement, like the body naturally moves. It uses weights and a pulley system, whereas Pilates is more linear and uses spring tension.”

Find an illustrative video and search classes by postal code at Gyrotonic.com.

Jutras believes the Gyrotonic system, Pilates and yoga all complement weightlifting and strength training, affording a mind-body balance. “The body then experiences lowand high-threshold exercise, low-intensity and high-intensity, weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing activity,” she says.

Crowley sees the Gyrotonic approach complementing virtually any activity. “The exercises help practitioners learn how to move more efficiently, easily, powerfully, gracefully and successfully in every facet of life.”

Gyrotonic ExerciseThe method is also offered without equipment in the form of Gyrokinesis, a flowing class done on a chair, mat and standing. This affordable option can be practiced independently at home.

“My youngest client is 7, my oldest is 94,” relates Crowley. “We have clients that have become bored by repetitive exercise and enjoy the limitless variations of movements that keep both their minds and muscles alert. We have chronic pain clients that have exhausted other medical options and are improving their ability to function more optimally and enjoying their lives again.”

Both Schrimpf and her husband, Juan Trujillo, teach the Gyrotonic method. “Our greatest reward is the feedback we get. Once people try it, they’re hooked,” she says. “It transforms how people think about movement and brings a sense of joy and accomplishment. They feel their joints becoming more supple and balanced, and find their bodies responding well to the natural movement patterns.”


Aimee Hughes, a freelance writer in Kansas City, MO, is a doctor of naturopathy and consultant for the Yandara Yoga Institute. Connect at ChezAimee@gmail.com.


This article appears in the March 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Awake Parenting

Children are not ours to possess or own, but rather to guide into living fearlessly and authentically.

Pets Love Music

With their ears attuned to different frequencies, horses neigh to Bach, cats groove to New Age, and dogs de-stress to “Greensleeves.”

Championing Holistic Athletes

Athletes in a wide range of sports are finding that natural diets and holistic healing modalities help them achieve their personal best.

Milk Chocolate Also Benefits Heart Health

Harvard researchers found that people eating one to 12 ounces a month of milk chocolate – but less than 30 ounces – had a lower risk of irregular heartbeat.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance Linked to Chronic Fatigue

In a Columbia University study, people with chronic fatigue syndrome were found to have an imbalance in the levels of certain gut bacteria.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Grayslake Designer Is Guest Blogger for Natural Home Magazine

Holistic Dentistry That’s Always Nearby

Holistic general dentist Dr. Kevin Boehm, who has been practicing in Chicagoland for 22 years, is certified in orthodontics, nutritional consulting and craniosacral therapy.

Wauconda Spiritual Center Provides Haven

The Rev. Patty Pipia, founder of the Chapel for New Thought, in Wauconda, aims to provide respite and rejuvenation in a place that can be sacred for everyone.

Walk/Run to Support Area Prostate Cancer Organizations

The 10th annual SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Chicago Walk & Run will help fund the prostate cancer education and support services provided at no charge.

Chicago Diner Vegan Cheesecake

Our talented vegan bakers have devised a miraculously satisfying cheesecake recipe that’s absolutely perfect in texture. This recipe proves that we can actually have our vegan cheesecake and eat it, too.

Composting Ordinance Expanded

The Chicago City Council voted to expand composting operations at community gardens and urban farms across Chicago, as well as create a citywide community garden registry and urban farm composting permit.