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What is the Gyrotonic Expansion System®?

“The ultimate aim is to be at home in one’s body, to be at one with the nature of oneself, and to experience exercise as a creative and delightful experience.”

The Methodology

Juliu Horvath designed the Gyrotonic Expansion System to serve each unique body, whether recovering from illness or honing peak performance. The spiraling movements that are the building blocks for each exercise reflect the body’s natural movements in the world. This functional strength prepares your body to meet everyday demands and thrive in everyday situations.

Because the Gyrotonic Expansion System draws from dance, each movement flows rhythmically into the next. Because it draws from yoga, each movement incorporates the breath, building the connection between mind, body, and spirit. This dual heritage means Gyrotonic exercise is not only beneficial for your body but also feels good, both in the moment and afterwards.

Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis are complementary methods within the Gyrotonic Expansion System. Gyrotonic exercises use equipment specially designed to strengthen and guide the body’s natural motions, while Gyrokinesis requires only a mat and a chair.

The History

The Gyrotonic Expansion System was designed by Juliu Horvath, an ethnic Hungarian who was born and raised in Romania. Horvath was active all his life, exploring swimming and gymnastics before becoming a principal dancer in Romania. In 1970, he moved to the US as a refugee, dancing with the New York City Opera before becoming a principal dancer with the Houston Ballet.

However, a ruptured Achilles tendon brought his time at Houston Ballet to a halt. Horvath returned to New York and began practicing yoga. In 1977, he moved to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where he spent the next six years in the mountains, studying yoga and meditation.

In the early ’80’s, Horvath returned to New York to share the insights he had gained from his practice. Thus, Yoga for Dancers, the precursor to Gyrotonics, was born. As more and more people came to Horvath seeking strength and healing, he expanded his movement system to accommodate all types of bodies. He also started designing and building his own equipment to facilitate natural movement. Thus Yoga for Dancers became the Gyrotonic Expansion System.

The Community

Today, over 13,000 Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Trainers teach classes in 84 countries. Celebrities from Lady Gaga to Gwyneth Paltrow to Madonna count themselves among the community of Gyrotonics practitioners.

Many professional dancers and dance companies use Gyrotonics to build strength and flexibility. Principal dancers—from American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland to New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns—incorporate Gyrotonics into their fitness training. Beyond dance, top athletes like Charles Tillman (former Bears quarterback) and Andy Murray (internationally ranked tennis player) use Gyrotonics to hone their performance.

The Science

Gyrotonics has been proven to alleviate lower back pain caused by spinal instability. In a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Exercise Medicine, participants who practiced Gyrotonic exercises three times a week for four weeks experienced an improvement in spinal stability equal to a control group practicing trunk stability exercises. As an innovative exercise system, Gyrotonics requires further research to understand the full extent of its potential.