Pilates exercise is a two-dimensional, linear technique. It’s exercises include flexion, extension, side-bending, and rotation, generally one of these at a time for beginners, two or more at the more advanced levels. At the Fundamental Level, Pilates exercises focus on isolation of muscular groups, lengthening while strengthening muscles, sculpting and toning without bulk, opening joint space, improving range of motion, and maintaining a stationary and stable neutral pelvis and spine, with specific breathing patterns. Pilates also assists to awaken "sleepy" stabilizing muscles, especially post injury or post surgery. As a student progresses to more advanced levels, exercises challenge the whole body in integrated movements and exercises begin to flow more like a dance.
Pilates focuses primarily on the muscles, both intrinsic (small) and extrinsic (large), along with a focus on improving breath capacity. Pilates is a mind-body system known for its ability to improve overall range of motion, to correct posture, reduce stress, help people ease back/neck/shoulder pain, and find pelvic and spinal stability. Pilates is used in rehabilitative settings world-wide and has been featured in numerous studies showing its effectiveness. Many top professional athletes and dancers have cross-trained in Pilates since the early 1900s to improve their performance and prevent injury. Pilates sessions can range from gentle and therapeutic to advanced cross-training for athletes and dancers. Work on the Jumpboard can enhance the workout with aerobic and plyometric components.
The STOTT Pilates repertoire is performed on four unique pieces of equipment (Reformer, Cadillac/Wall Tower, Chair, and Barrels). Each is designed to challenge the body in different ways and in different ranges of motion. Most of the equipment utilizes spring resistance, so you’re able to work against the spring tension in all aspects of an exercise leading to balanced strength, flexibility and stability. Exercises include footwork, feet in straps, the 100s, long spine, frog, butterfly, teaser, swan dive, breaststroke, boxing, walk-over, elephant, and mermaid.
For many students new to mind-body exercise, the linear and muscular isolating nature of a STOTT Pilates session makes it easier to maintain good form and decrease risk of injury.
STOTT Pilates and GYROTONIC exercise are both amazing systems in their own right. Both systems have unique benefits and focus on different aspects of movement and fitness. We believe that everyone can benefit from both of these amazing systems (just as we have).
Equipment training in the GYROTONIC Method: The main piece of GYROTONIC equipment (the unique Pulley/Tower pictured left) is a weight and pulley system, which provides both resistance and assistance in all movements, all while encouraging a decompression of the joints. The system also includes the GYROTONIC "specialized equipment" such as the Ladder (pictured above) designed to challenge and open the body in specific ways.
For students who have practiced another form of mind-body exercise (Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi/Chi Kung, Dance) the transition to GYROTONIC exercises' unique world of arching and curling and spiraling with breath work is easier than for those new to mind-body exercise. With that said, we've also seen brand new clients who have taken to GYROTONIC method like a duck to water.
The GYROTONIC Expansion System®
The GYROTONIC Expansion System is made up of two interrelated systems: The GYROTONIC Method (private lessons on equipment) and the GYROKINESIS Method (group class and private lessons without equipment). Both methods are a three-dimensional, circular technique. Their exercises include flexion, extension, side-bending, and spiraling (rotation), generally two or more of these in each exercise. GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS exercise focus on moving the entire body at all times (like a dance), while maintaining a dynamically stable pelvis and spine, with specific breathing patterns.
GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS exercise focuses on the muscles, and also focuses on the fascia, skeletal system, and nervous system. These methods provide training in full mobility of the joints and spine. Additionally, there is a focus on the energetic aspects of the body-mind-spirit connection (like Chi Kung). GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS exercise is known for its fluid and undulating movements (like waves or swaying palms), its ability to either provide a gentle session or a cardio enhancing session, and for its dynamic and playful nature (exercises include arch and curl, dolphin, frog, golden flower, laughing Buddha, canoeing, eagle, waves, spiraling, and snow shoes). Professional dance companies and athletic organizations have been cross-training in GYROTONIC and GYROKINESIS for the past 30 years as most movements done in sport or dance can be incorporated onto the movements of these methods..
Still not sure where to begin? Book your first private lesson at the studio and together we can find the best way to begin your journey.
We recommend for our students to begin with Pilates in order to build a firm foundation in core activation and stability, especially if back pain, instability, or a recent injury are an issue. And, some of our clients have been drawn to the GYROTONIC system from the start. Our best advise? Book a session today (in either system) and together we'll find which system (or blend of systems) will best serve your goals and needs. At present, about 80% of our students enjoy a combination of Pilates, GYROTONIC and/or GYROKINESIS sessions.
For our Pilates students, we offer a "cross over" program. We find that our students, after learning Pilates with us, can easily cross over to GYROTONIC movements with grace and ease utilizing the principles they've already learned in our Pilates program (and vice versa).
We firmly believe that these movement systems dove-tail together beautifully, with each one enhancing the qualities and benefits of the others. While each person may have his or her favorite, we believe everyone can benefit from the gifts that each of these unique systems provide.