It may seem odd that in a studio bursting with such a variety of innovative, expensive, and brilliantly designed equipment I would be urging you to consider working with nothing more than a mat or a chair, but I find more and more often that’s exactly what I’m doing.
The pilates and GYROTONIC® equipment have great appeal and are excellent tools for finding deeper understanding, more challenge, and variety in your pilates or GYROTONIC® workout, but too often I’m seeing that the allure of the equipment overshadows the importance of finding connections within the body and of developing true understanding of the leverage, control, and focus that can best be found when working unassisted and unsupported by any apparatus.
People new to pilates or GYROTONIC® are often in such a rush to get to the equipment because, after all, isn’t that what they’re paying for? Well, no.
The value in movement classes is the expertise of the trainer, who can guide you through a series of movements selected for your particular needs and modified for you particular body. These may or may not be on equipment, but a well-balanced mind body movement program will spend at least a good bit of time working without the equipment.
Reformer springs and GYROTONIC® pulleys can not only challenge you, but also help you out by supporting the limbs and to some extent the torso as well. Wouldn’t it make sense that stepping away from the equipment regularly to work on true support and stabilization of your body weight and limbs-unassisted- would increase your awareness and round out your program? Then when you return to the equipment you do so with greater connection and understanding, which brings you further toward the results you want to see and feel.
For me personally the GYROKINESIS® work, which is done with no more than a stool and a mat, and sometimes without even a stool at all, is where I feel the most intense realization of the connections and effects we strive to create in the body through the GYROTONIC® work.
I remember years ago when I first began in a GYROKINESIS® class, I found that working without the support of the equipment challenged me physically and intellectually much more so than I had imagined.
Where the equipment would have served as a guide for many movements the GYROKINESIS® work challenged me to find the pathways, support, and realization of those movements entirely through my own understanding and capacity. Then, upon returning to the equipment, the connections I was able to find were much deeper than I’d been able to find previously.
The same is true for the Reformer, Cadillac, and Chair. The spring tension provides resistance, feedback, and support which can create more challenge, but can also serve as a crutch when not balanced with a good, regular dose of matwork training.
You can think of it in terms of the other aspects of health and wellness, such as healthy eating. Yes, you need some protein, but you still need your green leafy veggies. There’s not ever a point where you “graduate” from eating green leafies to eating just protein, you always need a regular intake of both.
Similarly, the goal is not to “graduate” from matwork to apparatus work, or from GYROKINESIS® classes to GYROTONIC® work. As in all matters of a healthy life, it is about continual balance.
So take a moment and sign up for that pilates mat or GYROKINESIS® class today. Make it a regular weekly date and you’ll soon feel the increased benefits of your well-rounded practice!