Gyrokinesis: The exercise we didn't think we needed till we tried it at Beyond Movement
Straighten things out
When it comes to trying new gyms and workouts, we're always up for it. From boxing to reformer pilates to trampolining, our #FitnessFridays series is a good testament of that. Many of these types of workouts are great for toning, building that muscle and burning off a ton of calories, amongst many benefits, but few place emphasis on our spine the way Gyrokinesis does.
The Gyrokinesis started off as a class called 'Yoga for Dancers', then 'The Essentials of Body Kinetics', before officially being termed what it is now. Developed by Juliu Horvath, it encompasses fluid movement patterns and requires you, a stool and a mat. That's it. From Gyrokinesis came Gyrotonic—essentially the same idea but with equipment. Both works your entire body, strengthening your muscles, joints and more importantly, your spine.
The two are offered as group classes at Beyond Movement on Jalan Bangkung and intrigued, we accepted their invitation to have a go at it under co-founder Ong Hooi Kun's guidance. Let our testimonials speak for itself.
GWEN ONG, deputy editor
"I have no idea what Gyrokinesis or Gyrotonic was about prior to our class. The word 'gyro' itself reminds me of something I'd find at a Greek restaurant. Food-ish vision aside, we had the chance to try out both forms of exercises at Beyond Movement. For Gyrokinesis, we sat down on a stool placed on the edge of a mat as the instructor explained what the session entails. We learned how it would benefit our posture, core and spine—the areas of the body that you don't normally think about until you are experiencing some sort of soreness or discomfort.
I'm getting to that age where I feel every little kink around my back, neck and shoulders when I've been inactive for too long. The range of motions that we practised that evening was unique in the sense that I was arching and curling forward, backward, left and right; as if I'm worming around like a caterpillar. It's a weird sensation to feel the joints and muscles being stimulated like this. The focus is on spinal movement, so you'll definitely feel the elongating of the spine and fluidity flowing through your body.
The instructor was strict in making sure we were really stretching our bodies and she was hands-on in guiding us to perform the steps correctly. This continued on with the Gyrotonic class where we rotate our bodies in rhythm on a piece of specialised equipment. It's tricky to get the movements correct the first time but once you do, I can see this being a good way to train yourself to relax your muscles and reconnect with your body with the help of the pulleys and handles."
RACHEL AU, lifestyle editor
"Like every workout I go for, I was concerned and nervous. But as it turned out, for the first time, my expectations of sweating buckets didn't become a reality. At all. And mind you, I sweat buckets during yoga. Instead, the session became a harsh reminder of my horrible posture and scoliosis, which our instructor, Hooi could feel instantly when she was trying to correct one of my movements. To which, she also added Gyrokinesis is very helpful for those with said condition.
So how do I describe this Gyrokinesis method? It's a slow-paced flow that really works the muscles and joints you rarely use. My top half of the body was constantly in an awkward position that showed how stiff my body really is. There were times I even heard cricks and cracks. Sometimes, I was already stretching to my utmost right but Hooi would try to push it even further.
But the longer we were doing it, the more my body felt relaxed. In all honesty, it was like a self-massage. With a few basic ideas of the Gyrokinesis method, we moved on to Gyrotonic. Here is where some coordination skills would be helpful. Unfortunately, I lack it. At times, I was confused about the direction to move the handles (wait, is it clockwise right and anti-clockwise left? The other way around?). The two exercises are often described as two halves but personally, I would suggest getting more used to Gyrokinesis before graduating to applying it on the machines. However, by the end of the class, though slightly disappointed that I didn't sweat a drop, I realised how bad my posture was. As important as it is to tone up muscles and whatnot, the spine is literally the backbone of our body. Definitely planning to go back!"
Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic are offered at Beyond Movement. For more info, visit them on their website.