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Short Stories the Gyrotonic Method

Honest Oversights When Learning How to Teach the GYROTONIC® Method

October 20, 2017
7 mistakes that need attention when teaching the gyrotonic method

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your certification and welcome to the world of this unique movement method. For those learning to teach for the first time, especially the GYROTONIC® Method, you might feel like a fish out of water, and that’s normal! Whether you’re in your first week or first year here are some honest oversights that helped me to grow as a trainer. The aim to also guide new trainers to understand why it’s important to positively acknowledge oversights.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
― Albert Einstein


1) Feeling Uncomfortable with New Clients

This can be tricky for new trainers. You’ve learned the sequences but now what do you do with someone not from your training course? Begin slowly but efficiently. The key to working with new clients is making sure that they feel the movements, especially when dealing with different bodies and abilities. Even if you only get to two sequences in the entire hour, that’s all right. 99.9% of the time you won’t teach a class in its full format, so don’t stress out.

2) Freezing in a ‘Creative Class’

Now it’s your time to show all of the work you’ve invested. Don’t shy away from going in different direction than planned. For example, your client(s) could come in with a new or particularly painful area. This calls for you to adhere their needs on the spot, of course. First, relax and gather your thoughts. How could they improve that area within the sequences? Is there anything new you could specifically introduce? Do what you know and work with them in this way, emphasizing key points.

3) Giving Uncertain Hands-On

Hands-On – this is the main name of the game when it comes to teaching the Gyrotonic Method. It’s what makes this method so very unique, so be sure your hands-on is informative and actually guides the client into a better movement flow. First, continue practicing. Practicing on a friend or a colleague is the best way to go. That way, when you begin working, you’re confident and your client feels good. Brush up on any anatomy that may seem unclear so there’s clarity on where the hands need to be and why.

4) Not Allowing Enough Time for Self-Practice

Exploring the method and the sequences in your on time is an excellent opportunity for you to understand the method in depth and ask yourself questions. What’s familiar, or not familiar? What’s clear, or not clear? Jot your thoughts down to further expand your experience. Personal investigation can help with tapping into your personality within the work, which will help you to become a unique teacher that has something special to offer. See if you can give yourself a full class, throughly going through the material.

5) Shying Away from Feedback

Whether it’s from your mother, partner, or most prized client, it’s essential to know. This helps us improve our work for the present and the future. You can get feedback by asking your trainer, the person your practicing with, or even a client formally via email or informally in person. Both ways are excellent to weigh in what you’ve been doing, how you’ve been doing it, and what else you can achieve. It’s ok to feel lost or over-the moon happy about your feedback, because it’s from that moment that you’ve already grown.

6) Wanting to be the Perfect Teacher for Everyone

Not possible, so let’s go ahead and let that one go. It’s like any relationship or friendship – it takes effort from both persons and forcing it will backfire. When a client doesn’t return after the first class or stops attending all together, look at the situation as a whole. For example, did you allow them to feel/understand the movements? Did they improve with your guided explanation / hands on? Were they resisting, becoming bored? These kinds of questions can help you acknowledge the situation before the client walks out the door. If the client was attentive, showing improvement, and feeling the work, you’ve done your job.

7) Undercharging to Get More Clients

As much as it would be lovely to give away your classes to help build your clientele, unfortunately it’s not viable to sustain. The one-off complimentary class or special offer to create excitement will suffice. All the training you’ve done is worth something. This investment alone entitles you to earn properly even from the start. Clients will come to you and stay with you because of the time and energy you’ve invested and what you have to share. It takes time to build clients on your own while learning how to manage different bodies, personalities, etc., but this is how you build long-lasting clientele.

Honest Oversights When Learning How to Teach the GYROTONIC® Method


Keep learning, moving, and exploring –

Anatomy Trains

GYROTONIC® HQ Blog

Studio Finder


Many Thanks To

Lisa Marie Goodwin
Authorized International GYROTONIC® & GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer
Debra Rose
Authorized GYROTONIC® & GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer
Dylan Elmore
GYROTONIC® Pre-Trainer & GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer
 Arsinoi Tsakalogianni
GYROTONIC® & GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer
Sandie Wilson
GYROTONIC® Pre-Trainer & GYROKINESIS® Trainer
Adrianna Thompson
Authorized GYROTONIC® & GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer,
Co-creator of GYROTONIC® Application for Dancers
& all of my clients and colleagues.

♥︎

General Fitness and Well–Being Pilates the Gyrotonic Method

What I Learned from ‘Swapping’ Sessions with Other Trainers

April 18, 2016
swapping sessions

As a huge advocate of cross-training and challenging myself to never be comfortable with only practicing one dance technique or exercise method, I’ve always loved the many benefits of doing so. Although difficult at times, it doesn’t take long to see and feel the results. This became especially apparent when I began using the Pilates equipment with Classical Pilates instructor, Maria Baez (who is also my client).

1) No one method is the answer to all types of problems.

Kinespirit, based in New York, succinctly explains the differences and similarities between Pilates and Gyrotonic and how both methods can be a part of anyone’s training. Trainers are often aware that individuals have different needs for their bodies, therefore it’s necessary to educate the client about both methods to help in corporate Pilates or Gyrotonic or both into their routine. This goes for therapies such as Physical Therapy and Osteopathy.

swapping sessions

2) Cross-refer clients.

Cross-referring clients has proven to be successful in the fitness industry around the world. Kona Pilates, based in Hawaii, found that 80% of their clientele train in both Pilates and Gyrotonic. Reform Pilates, based in Oregon, highly support the practice and benefits of both methods and deems Gyrotonic and ‘the perfect companion’ for their clients.

Lisa Maria Goodwin-Rice, one of the 16 Authorised Specialised Gyrotonic Master Trainers wrote great article on ‘How to Introduce the Gyrotonic Method to Pilates Instructors’. These explanations emphasize that both methods require different teaching methods, both of which are just as important. This is another important asset in giving necessary information along to our clients. It’s also useful for trainers and therapists to swap notes and conversations about their clients so we can help each other deal with their problem areas more efficiently. 

swapping sessions

4) Offer cross-training deals.

In an interview with Gyrotonic Master trainer / Pilates Instructor, Angela, and Personal Trainer / Gyrotonic Trainer, Mike Luque, they spoke about the ‘Gyrotonic and Pilates cross-over’. Angela mentions that it’s best to try Gyrotonic without a ‘Pilates brain’ and vice versa. It might be best to not even compare the two.

The only way a client can experience something fully is to practice different methods that are being offered within a studio, says Angela. For example, studios, like Kona Pilates, also offer a ‘cross-over’ program where their clients can utilize training in both Pilates and Gyrotonic as both methods heavily compliment each other. This way we can not only improve business but the client’s well-being. 

Keep (cross) training!

XO

Dance the Gyrotonic Method Tips

Take Home Tips #1: For Dancers

March 1, 2016
journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Here are a few tips my dance clients receive during and after a GYROTONIC® class that I would like to share.

These tips are essentially all taught during a dance class, however, private and semi-private training allows an individual to focus on the areas that need more improvement to provide even more depth and clarity.

Private or small group training also allows the individual to understand their own body and in their own time. Although these tips and suggestions are a few out of many, it provides an idea of what goes on in a GYROTONIC® class and how it can be beneficial to further improve dance performance.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Maintain a Neutral Pelvis

Often times dancers (well, anyone) tend to have either posterior or anterior tilt in the pelvis, in which they also tend to use during movement. While moving in this way may appear successful, problems and injuries that may occur (i.e. stiff hips and back) is, of course, not very useful to maintain longevity.
A dancer can avoid this common mistake by maintaining a neutral pelvis, especially while standing. This connection can help provide the dancer a great way to practice and ‘preparation’ (the moment before you begin to move).
An example of a pelvis that’s not in neutral is when a dancer is ‘tucking’ or arching in the lower back. So when this happens, when the working leg comes back into a position, the rotation muscles aren’t able to engage properly. When this leg movement is done properly with a neutral pelvis this means that the inner thighs and abdominals get the chance to work.
Therefore, I encourage dancers to practice maintaining a neutral pelvis (and spine) before a class/performance by either doing homework given from the sessions or a few tendus and pliés with the same principle.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Rotate the Whole Leg

Another common sight in dancers is over rotation, of the foot in relation to the rest of the leg. While this may be aesthetically pleasing, this often means that true rotation is not being used. This is especially important in plies and tendus.
Using rotation the of the whole leg is will also help avoid injuries such as knee and ankle problems. In the Gyrotonic hamstring exercises, clients are able to work on proper rotation (both internal and external) lying down which reduces pressure in the spine and allows more freedom in the hip. This way, the body can be more prepared when standing.
During the hamstring exercises, it is reiterated to use energy through the entire leg to rotate from the hip, where the foot and toes will follow. Maintaining this connection will help to engage the appropriate muscles and therefore improve turn out.
I advise my clients to take time before class, especially those with hips problems/ pain, to warm up the turn out muscles by practicing the corrections and homework exercises learned from our sessions. This way the dancer can notice when old habits come back or when the pelvis tends to move unnecessarily as mentioned above.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Shoulders Wide Not Just Down

Dance requires a lot of upper body movement thus, it can be easy to overuse the muscles that surround the shoulder girdle as well as the muscles that are used for rotation.  The aim is to engage the appropriate muscles to support the back especially within movement. Instead reach the shoulders wide not just down. This way, when the arms are moving, the back is engaged and the arms can move more freely.
In addition, a common theme in the Gyrotonic Method are arm movements that lead with the elbow while maintaining a long bend (often the same for leg movements as well), which is very useful for the use of port de bras.
Leading with the back of the arm while maintaining a long bend in the elbow can further aid in the correct use of the shoulder girdle and rotation in the arm. The wider the shoulders, the longer the line, and the more efficient the arms will be when passing through positions quickly (like this amazing example).

take home tips #1: for dancers

Rib Cage Connection

Due to dancers usually being flexible or hyperflexible, I often see a few common alignment deviations. One of them being a lack of rib cage connection standing, sitting, and in movement. Finding and maintaining this connection helps to support the back and maintain balance.
The ‘back support’ that the ribcage connection provides is also important for use of the back of the leg. However, feeling this is a dance class is difficult of course, therefore I often instruct my clients to actually relax the ribs and lengthen the back of the body to then move.
Being too far forward or backward throws the body out of alignment, which makes it difficult to stand, use the legs, and turn. Use the connection of the ribcage as an aid to stand taller, feel the legs, and become aware the the ‘back body’.
Gyrotonic exercises emphasize maintaining a ribcage connection in all planes of movement (i.e. lying down, sitting, standing, rotation). Breathing also helps to find less tension, the proper amount of engagement, length, and expansion.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Not Everything is a Stretch

It can be difficult to resist the temptation to use a pilè or cambré forward as an opportunity to stretch maximally during the beginning of a class, for instance. Warming up allows the body to engage and maintain stability throughout the rest of the class (while reducing the change for injury).
Exercises taught in the beginning of class may require the dancer to already be warm. Otherwise, use the beginning of class as an opportunity to warm up. Additionally, obtaining a ‘long line’ in the body requires both proper alignment and strength to achieve an appropriate range of motion.
The Gyrotonic Method focuses heavily on drawing energy internally to create external movement to then provide the desired length and/or stretch. Thus it’s important not to focus solely on the aesthetic of the movement.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Stay with the Tempo

Timing is often crucial as it helps to make a dancer more musical. This, in turn, can help the dancer fire necessary muscles needed, which allows the dancer to overcome bad habits. Knowing how to stay with the tempo when learning a movement or phrase can further improve personal interpretation of musicality, coordination, and expression.
What makes the Gyrotonic method different from other forms of exercise is how it helps to create long, full movements with different qualities and playful rhythms. Within a Gyrotonic class, different tempos and rhythms are also specifically used to help increase awareness and strength (just liked dance).
It’s important to remember that movement can involve different qualities, textures, and phrasing. Within a Gyrotonic session, clients are allowed to first learn the movement properly while gradually adding the breathe and the rhythm. If movement proves to become difficult to keep up, I ask my clients to ‘check in’ to see what connections/engagements may have been lost.

Taking class and practicing movement is a time for an individual to become more knowledgeable and attuned with the body. Take time to ‘check in’ with what your body needs and how you need to achieve it.

Happy dancing!
xo