Improve flexibility, grace and strength with the island's newest fitness fad
Have you ever wanted to move with more grace and poise? Do you yearn for the flexibility you had as a child? Would you be delighted to attain a performance boost in your favourite sport? Whatever your fitness goals, Gyrotonic might be what you’re looking for. It was for me at least.
Since a lower back injury three years ago left me in severe pain and unable to walk properly, my fitness goals have been rather modest – walking without stumbling, bending with ease, stretching without caution and sitting with poise and comfort. Pilates, walking, cycling and sporadic gym sessions mean that I’ve improved considerably, but I’ve always been on the lookout for something that might revolutionise my movement. That’s why I was delighted to meet Saulo Ouverney at the Equilibrium Pilates Fitness Studio in Saar.
Saulo is a recent arrival in Bahrain from Brazil and also happens to be the only fully-qualified Gyrotonic instructor on the island – although Patricia Kabalaoui, co-owner of Equilibrium Studio, will complete her qualification later this year – and Equilibrium is the first place here to offer this fitness approach.
When I first met Saulo, as he explained the benefits of the method – how it improves posture, releases tension, develops body strength, enhances balance and stability, improves circulation, increases range of motion, boosts flexibility and strength, revitalises energy flow and rehabilitates injuries – I began to think this was what I’d been looking for. What’s more, with Saulo’s background in sport gymnastics, his extensive experience in physical education and almost a decade as a Stott Pilates instructor, I knew I’d be in safe hands. Which is a good thing as, while the Gyrotonic system according to Saulo ‘would help me to move in three dimensions as nature intended’, it dawned on me, as he sat on a stool and demonstrated the basic elements of the method, moving in a seamless, hypnotic wave from one position to the next, I was going to need all the help I could get! But once I’d seen him in action, I was hooked. I wanted to be able to move like that.
Gyrotonic exercise sequences, created by Romanian-born Hungarian Juliu Horvath in the early 1980s, have their roots in yoga, Tai Chi and dance, and are composed of spiraling and circular movements. Forget two dimensional, linear exercise classes that focus on core stability, strength and alignment. This is all about flow and seamless connections, rhythmic repetitions and linking the breath with movement, which is why, says Saulo, ‘Most of my clients have to go back to basics and unlearn their usual exercise habits. Without the underlying techniques, you’ll move but you won’t be using Gyrotonic methods.
‘I want people to move with more freedom and reach their fullest fitness potential. Patricia and I believe that, through the Gyrotonic approach, we can help people, regardless of their age, fitness level or ability, to do just that.’
If you’re looking to sweat or target ‘bums and tums’, accompanied by pulsating music, then this probably isn’t the exercise technique for you. But if you want to recondition your body and learn how to move it with fluidity and poise then I recommend that you give Gyrotonic a try. Each one-on-one, 60-minute session will leave you more energised and supple than the last. Also, as I’ve become better at the movements, I’ve noticed that I feel calmer and more at home in my body. Besides, it’s fun. What more could one ask from a fitness class? Prices start from BD40 per session. Equilibrium Pilates Fitness Studio, Saar (1725 0227).
Gyrotonic in April
This month Equilibrium Pilates Fitness Studio is holding an information and demonstration session about Gyrotonic. Call for more details. Owners Saulo and Patricia also plan on opening a brand new studio in Amwaj Islands in the first week of the month. Classes offered include Pilates (mat and equipment), TRX, Teen Insanity and circuit training.