I’ve been a dancer and an athlete almost all of my life.
My clients ask me all the time, what my favorite form of exercise is, and I think of it like this––just like I want to eat something different every day, by body craves different ways of moving every day. Some days I want to go on a hike, other days it’s yoga, a swim, Pilates, a walk,GYROTONIC®, dancing or a combination of things.
But, if I had to choose one thing that has been integral to keeping my body pain-free over the years it’s GYROTONIC®.
GYROTONIC® helped me rehabilitate from years of debilitating shoulder and neck pain. In fact, GYROTONIC® helped me recover from chronic headaches, hip, knee and back pain too.
Let me explain. I have always had very mobile joints, so doing postures that require a lot of flexibility are my jam. Although it always felt great to be able to touch my toes with ease it also meant that I was locking out my joints without the appropriate muscular support. This went on for years.
To ease the pain I tried everything: massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, cupping, rolfing, energy healing and even going to a medical doctor. Although these methods helped, but they only gave me temporary relief.
I’ve had a regular yoga asana practice since the age of 18 and had been doing Pilates and weight training for a couple of years when this took place. Thinking back, I’m confident that I would have been in much worse shape, had I not been doing these forms of self-care.
I was starting to think that I would be in pain forever and be one of those dancers who would eventually need a hip replacement. 14 years later I am happy to say, that I am pain-free and feel stronger than ever.
What is different about GYROTONIC® is the symbiotic dance between the repertoire and progressions of movements, the instructor’s applications and the way the GYROTONIC® equipment supports or dictates each movement. Words don’t do it justice, it really is something you have to experience to fully understand.
With this system I have learned (and continue to learn) what it feels like to move authentically in my body. I feel the effects of the movements deep in my bones, muscles, fascia and nerves. It’s opened my eyes to unchartered territory in the way that I move and how I feel. I now know an ease in moving that I’ve never known before. I leave every session more open and connected, energized yet grounded and humbled yet inspired. These effects linger for days.
To me, a GYROTONIC® session feels like I’m dancing with a partner under water. My partner is the equipment and the water is the resistance, or in some cases the sensation of weightlessness, that the equipment provides.
GYROTONIC® equipment is something to marvel. The main piece of equipment is a unit made of a tower and handle. The tower utilizes pulleys and weights to provide buttery resistance to various movement patterns. There is also a bench that utilizes ball-bearing plates that provides consistent support for undulating the spine.
When students see this equipment for the first time I hear reactions like, “What are these torture contraptions?” “Are these sex machines?” or “Wow, what a piece of art!” No matter what your first impression is, you will surely fall under it’s hypnotic spell once you get a taste. I know I did.
From day one I knew GYROTONIC® needed to be a part of my life and that it was something I wanted to share with others. It was definitely what my body resonated with the most during my journey of recovery.
I’ve seen time and time again what an amazing compliment and cross training GYROTONIC® is to my other physical practices and I’m constantly reminded that there is always more to learn.
A Yoga Unplugged collaboration - written by Wainani Arnold, edited by Sarah Burchard
The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® Method was created by founder Julie Horvath and came onto the scene in the 70’s. Today there are nearly 4,000 studios worldwide. You can learn more about it here: https://www.gyrotonic.com
These are the studios that offer GYROTONIC® on ‘Oahu:
GYROTONIC® Training Facility
1144 10th Avenue, Suite 302
Honolulu, HI 96816
Rehab Hospital of the Pacific
Integral Rehab LLC
850 W Hind Drive, Unit 202
Honolulu, HI 96821
*Jana Kay is a PT and offers GYROTONIC® for rehabilitation
760 Halekauwila Street #210
Honolulu, HI 96813
(Kailua-On Balance Studio)
315 Uluniu Street, Suite 201
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
GYROTONIC, GYROTONIC & Logo, GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM, GYROKINESIS, GYROTONER, and The Art of Exercising and Beyond are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp.
Wainani Arnold was born and raised in Hawai`i. She attended Chapman University where she earned a BFA in Dance Teaching & Performance, with a minor degree in Sociology. From a young age, Wainani lived and breathed Hula, which grew into a passion for all forms of dance and mind-body movement. She has performed all over the world and is also a teacher, choreographer and co-founding member of Volary Aerial Company. She is also trained in BASI Pilates, is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® Method trainer and is the founder of Wainani Wellness Center on Oahu. Wainani regularly partners with Yoga Unplugged to host “Get Unplugged”, an ongoing event that features gentle yoga asana and sound bathing. Connect with Wainani on Facebook and Instagram @wainaniwellnesscenter and find a schedule of events held at her studio at https://www.wainaniwellness.com/workshops/