What Is Gyrotonic Exercise? 6 Things To Know About This Posture Perfecting Workout

If you're like the majority of Americans, and you also find yourself constantly hunched over a computer screen or craning your neck to read an Instagram caption, you've probably suffered from a whole lot of back pain and less than pristine posture. Luckily, a wellness trend that claims to correct your posture and soothe your aching spine is swiftly rising toward the spotlight. It's called Gyrotonic exercise, and it sounds fancy, but it's actually a pretty simple concept. So, what is Gyrotonic exercise? Allow me to break it down for you.

Despite that "gyro" prefix, Gyrotonic exercise (unfortunately) has absolutely nothing to do with delicious, pita-wrapped Mediterranean cuisine. Rather, it has everything to do with strengthening your core through a mind-body training method. From my understanding, Gyrotonic exercise is basically like if yoga and pilates had a baby (and that infant always sat up straight, even if her mom didn't tell her to).

The fluid movements you experience in a Gyrotonic workout address every single part of your body, stimulate your nervous system, increase your flexibility and strength, and clear the energetic pathways coursing throughout your body.

There are numerous benefits to this training method, some of which include improved spinal health and posture after just a few sessions. If you're thinking about embarking on your first Gyrotonic workout sesh, here are six things you should know before you hit up your local studio and try the exercise that even Lady Gaga is incorporating into her busy routine.

1There's Gyrokinesis, And There's Gyrotonic, And They Aren't The Same Thing

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Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic basically sound like the same sh*t with an annoying, faulty autocorrect thrown in the mix, amirite? But don't be fooled, because there's a bit of a distinction between the two, and Gyrokinesis actually came first in the equation.

The Gyrokinesis method is practiced without any equipment, usually on a mat and chair, and it's more dependent on what your body can do on its own. After Gyrokinesis had its moment, Julia Horvath created the Gyrotonic method, which includes a pulley-assisted machine that works with your body for some tough, but feel-good movement. Whether you want to Gyro it out with or without the machine is totally up to you, as there are exercises that work with both methods.

2It's Similar To Pilates And Yoga, But Still Totally Unique

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Gyrotonic exercise is a training method that's pretty similar to yoga and pilates because of its mind-body properties and emphasis on breathing. It's also been compared to dance, tai chi, and swimming because of the focus on fluidity within the classes.

However, the workout is still completely unique because of all of the bodily rotation that's required when working with the machines. Plus, unlike pilates, you have to really focus on syncing your breath with the movement of the pulleys and handles involved. I'm kind of sweating a little just thinking about it.

3The Movements Help Detoxify Your Body

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You know when you feel like you literally sweat out every single toxin in your body after a killer workout? Apparently, Gyrotonic training literally does just that.

According to Shape, the constant spiraling, curling, arching, breathing, and overall fluid movement in these functional classes help to rid the body of excess lymph fluids and internal waste, aka stuff that's causing stagnation in your system.

4Your Breathing Is Crucial To The Process

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Yogis, take note! Your breathing practice is going to come in handy if you ever decide to hit up a Gyro sesh.

According to The Guardian, incorporating deep inhales and long exhales and really connecting with your body while you're on the Gyro machine is key when it comes to getting the most out of this exercise. It might be tricky to fully immerse yourself and get in the zone at first, but once you do, you may just find the movements to be quite relaxing.

5The Physical And Mental Benefits Are Awesome

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The physical benefits of Gyrotonic classes don't just include improved core strength (though that's definitely a welcome plus). These workouts are particularly helpful with rehabilitation after an injury, as the movements help to break down built-up scar tissue.

And as far as the mental perks go, you can expect improved focus, complete relaxation post-workout, and the confidence-boosting effects that come with improved proper posture, to name a few.

6It Can Get Low-Key Frustrating

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Fair warning: As is often the case with getting used to any new skills, Gyrotonic exercise can get frustrating AF when you're first learning the ropes (or pulleys, that is). Coordination is key when it comes to mastering the circular movements required atop the Gyro machine, and patience is definitely required until you get the hang of things.

Once you catch on to this interesting fitness trend, though, you might just be totally hooked on "gyrating," so they call it. OK fine, that's not a term associated with the workout at all, but I firmly stand by my decision to make it one.