“The breath is one of the first things impacted by stress of any kind and it impacts every part of your body. There is no part of your human that isn’t touched by breathing!”
I met Kayla way back in the day during our time at the LINES Ballet BFA program in San Francisco. I had also picked her to perform in my Senior choreography piece, so from working with her in this way, I always knew she had something special to offer.
Flash forward 10 years, I was right. She has become the embodiment of her ideas and experiences, from Dance to GYROKINESIS® and now healing. She also provides and offers tremendous support for the movement and wellbeing community with retreats, podcasts, and more.
Naturally, I wanted to know more about the work she’s doing now and catch up a bit from the last decade. I was also particularly curious about her experience as a mover and trainer of color. Here, we speak about the last few months in the U.S., what we’d like to see in the future, and what we can do about it now.
This is her story.
Follow Kayla’s Work
Hi Movers <3
After a long (unintentional) Blogging break, organizing my first Wellbeing Festival, and my recent relocation back to London from Lisbon, I will be taking a bit more time to update The Movement Blog and gather the content that I have written in Portugal to finally share!
Stay tuned for GYROTONIC® Equipment Privates and GYROKINESIS® Group Classes with me in Camden, Hackney, and Blackfriars.
Thank you for your patience. I am very much looking forward to reconnecting.
All the best!
Master Trainer Domini Anne from Carmel, California. She is an avid mover and maker within the movement community who is constantly delving deep into GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods as well as various styles of yoga, movement and fitness.
I first met Domini in San Francisco many moons ago at S.F. GYROTONIC® where she also sold her own clothing line. It was exciting to catch up to see what else she’s been doing within her movement explorations like: Galileo Training, Yoga Trapeze, and Aerial Yoga.
I was definitely able to understand why she wanted to talk about the usefulness of knowing how to connect yoga and fitness with the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods and why we should continue to showcase their importances both in person and online.
Yoga & the Gyrotonic Method are supportive, [therefore] they are two logical crossovers. So how can we integrate [the Gyrotonic] system to people who are curious about movement?
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In April last year, Rob Jackson and I explored Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (and beyond). Here are some great reasons why Vietnam has a lot to offer in staying fit and eating well.
>> Queue: Onra’s Chinoiseries <<
First of all, Vietnamese cuisine includes some of the healthiest ingredients on the planet. From the ever popular Phở to its abundant rice based dishes, this cuisine wonderfully caters to gluten, wheat, and diary free diets.
Fresh herbs and spices are also used extensively throughout – lots of mint, cilantro, ginger, lime leaf, cinnamon, turmeric, the list goes on. You’ll often get fresh local fruit as dessert over sugary pastries. Best of all, fresh food is available everywhere.
However, if you want to maintain a clean diet, you’ll need to (obviously) avoid ingredients like: condensed milk, famously in the intensely strong Vietnamese coffee; anything fried/deep-fried; and fruit concentrates.
In a cafe, I found a gem of a magazine called Word – it’s like Vietnam’s own Time Out. Rob and I also found some outstanding places by asking the people we came across. I highly recommend Quan An Ngon restaurant and asking for a good Bun Cha spot.
Particularly in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, yoga studios are almost everywhere with most of them offering classes and retreats in English. A simple Google search will do, or have look around cafés nearby.
Even in April it was already too hot by 9AM. The remedy is to wake up at sunrise (when the rest of the locals would do their exercises) or an indoor workout. If I were a ‘morning person’ I’d choose the morning option every time because the sunrises were absolutely out of this world.
Of course doing GYROKINESIS® on the beach was the best, but I also thoroughly enjoyed using the Nike Training Club App. Falling lucky with ample indoor space in my BnB’s, there was usually enough room for a full workout plus a mini-Barre class.
My all time favorite activity was hiking and swimming through the beautiful Hang En Cave (3rd largest in the world) with the incredible Oxalis group. We then ended the trip with trekking around Sapa’s rice fields. I’ve never felt so alive!
With all the soups, trekking, and hot weather, you’ll be fit and well without even trying.
More in Vietnam
Bernardo Ricou Gama: The GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer That’s Making Waves with Mixed-Ability Movement CommunityJune 18, 2018
On April 24th, 2018, I was fortunate to observe, photograph, and film Bernardo Gama’s mixed-ability group that practices both the GYROKINESIS® Method and DanceAbility® Method. From moving while sitting down, transitioning to the floor, to contact improvisation – it was a beautiful to see how movement can develop in every sense of the word.
Sit back and allow me to guide you through my observations and emotional experiences of this 2 hour class that allowed me forget about the outside world and be fully immersed with each individuals’ process.
1ST HOUR – The GYROKINESIS® Method
The class begins with an hour of the GYROKINESIS® Method. After allowing the the spine to be in a calm, upright position, Gama leads the class into the awakening of the senses. Working with the physical and the imaginative, Gama believes that hard to reach areas or areas that simply are not there can be reached through the imagination. Therefore both the brain and the mind can maintain stimulation.
Awakening of the senses is a series of self-massage sequences, from the Gyrokinesis method, from scalp to the toes. It also involves drumming, pulling, and opening the muscles and joints in a calm, relaxed state.
Gama’s energy and intention is very clear throughout as the students follow with comfort and ease. As an observer, the students moved in a familiar fashion within the work, moving the way they knew best. The pace was lovely. There was always enough time for everyone to catch up with each other. I really could feel the joy and presence in the room. Even as I scrambled around the room attempting to capture these moments, the focus stayed on Gama.
. . .
Having worked in the professional dance world for almost 30 years, I felt that the ability to dance and express your inner world was transversal to everybody.
– Bernardo Gama
. . .
Regardless of ability, the main task was to continue moving and exploring. The group flowed into different Gyrokinesis exercise sequences such as Arch & Curl, Spiral Twist, and Sideways Arch. As the movements became more intricate, each hands-on guidance was chosen carefully.
The confidence that transmitted from Gama to the student was like a light bulb becoming brightly lit. There was also sense of playfulness which isn’t often seen in group of adults. Adults have the tendency to lose this kind of playfulness as we acquire more information and experience, which can be difficult to let go. Thus, it was refreshing to observe the contrary.
The group spiralled, waved, and elongated the body, often incorporating with gentle taps of the feet on the floor between sequences, like a reminder to remember to feel the ground again. Each of the sequences flowed into one another allowing the group to become comfortable in their own body and movements.
The class concluded with a 15 minute break to make the transition to the DanceAbility method portion of the class. Those in wheelchairs were carefully released by the help of their caretaker and were placed comfortably on the floor. All new sensations found during the first hour will now be further developed alongside the use of the floor.
. . .
[I learned that] having awareness with even a person with very little mobility, can move or at least reach any part of their body through sensation and/or intention.
– Bernardo Gama
. . .
2ND HOUR – The DanceAbility® Method
After a small break, the 2nd hour began with the DanceAbility® method where all the students are now on the floor, even the wheelchair students. The energy is kept alive as the students accept the challenge. Stillness is challenging in general. Gama continues to bring his students to ease whenever uncertainty arises.
Now the students explore movements on their back more fully, as if the floor is their partner. Gama allows time for the room to come into its own fruition, while also moving and playing in the space alongside the students, which created a fluid ambience.
As Bonobo’s album Migration softly bellows in the background, movements in the room become more intentional, longer, dynamic. More dynamic tasks were gradually introduced, going in and out of the floor. One of the main tasks were similar to a ‘move and freeze’ game. There was a wonderful softness in the ‘freeze’, that acted like a suspension that filled that room.
The task now required morphing into group contact improvisation while continuing to find the use of the limbs, head, each other, and then the floor again. Everyone became even more comfortable with their other senses during the contact improvisation. In fact, within the contact improvisation, it was visible that newer senses were being activated. Now the sense of play and exploration became fearless.
. . .
The DanceAbility® method helped me to systemize many things that I was already giving and teaching in my dance classes […] but this time with much more awareness about people with different bodies and abilities.
– Bernardo Gama
. . .
The next task involved ‘shape-shifting’ in partners, quite an advance task, but everyone is up for the challenge. The exploration stayed present with no resistance. The space gradually filled out with full bodied movements. Watching this type of work is quite touching when you observe the sense of true connection.
The class ended with everyone together as one group in a circle once again to slow down the breath, find expansion, and one word to describe their experience of the day. There was a lot of love in the room for the movements, for the methods, and for each other.
. . .
[In the future] I would like to continue working the base of the Gyrokinesis method and the DanceAbility method to explore [movement] in an organic way, as a spatial architecture, as well as an interior architecture full of possibilities … and one day choreograph on them.
– Bernardo Gama
. . .
Observing Bernardo Ricou Gama Teaching the GYROKINESIS® Method & DanceAbility® Method: A Movement Diary
More About Bernardo Gama
Gama is the studio owner of Equilibrium Studios in Lisbon, Portugal and is a GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer and a GYROTONIC® Pre-Trainer. He already had experience in working with the mixed ability populations, however his first experience in teaching both the Gyrokinesis method and dance was with the group Dançando com a Diferença, back in 2006.
In 2017, Gama became certified in the DanceAbility® Method. Alito Alessi, the artistic director of the method, came to Lisbon to give a 4 week intensive course, so Gama didn’t hesitate. Especially after working with Companhia CIM, and mixed ability dance company, for almost 6 years, he was ready to go to the next level.
Over the last few weeks I’ve taught two GYROKINESIS® Workshops and attended a GYROTONIC® course with Master Trainer Rita Rehna. There are some incredible benefits to delving into these methods more deeply; largely body awareness.
Here are 5 benefits in which I’ve seen within my clients and experienced personally coupled with supported outside sources.
1) Enhanced Body Awareness
Developing body awareness is quite important for understanding movement as it’s also key to healing the body. Within the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods, students are guided through movement sequences that carefully focuses on how to stimulate the body’s physiology in a calm state.
Psychology Today states that slow and deliberate movement practices “increases the parasympathetic relaxation response […] which promotes reduced stress and inflammation and stimulates healing.” Without this, we aren’t able to connect to our bodies properly to promote awareness.
2) Deepened Breathing
The importance of breathing properly within movement can often be forgotten or under practiced. However, the respiratory system plays a major role in body awareness, so without proper use of the breath we reduce our full movement potential.
In the Science of Breathing, Novotny and Kravitz, mentions that, “the practice of proper breathing techniques is aimed at eliminating misused accessory chest muscles, with more emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing.” This helps us to engage the body as a whole, increase oxygen intake, and appropriately stimulate of the neuromuscular system.
3) Understanding Core Connection
When we engage the body, we are able to strengthen the body as whole without unnecessary tension. Unnecessary tension often includes forward head posture, upward shoulders, an overworked lower back, and/or tight hamstrings for example.
“Think of your core the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body,” Harvard Health Publishing relays, “[…][Therefore] your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction.” This is exactly the goal of the GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® methods, to create stabilization through contrast for optimal movement.
4) Tapping Into True Wellbeing
Sometimes physical habits and/or emotional habits tend to hold us back from being our optimal selves. Wellbeing should involve enhancing both the body and the mind simultaneously. I’ve often experience clarity and breakthrough within these movement methods because of the way the external and internal body has to work in harmony.
Human Kinetics wonderfully clarifies that, “the pursuit of health, personal growth, and improved quality of life relies on living a balanced life. To achieve balance, we need to care for our mind, body, and spirit […] If any of these three areas is consistently lacking or forgotten about, we will not be at our optimal level of health.”
5) Finding Efficient Movement
Efficient movement not only happens alongside body awareness but when we allow ourselves to enhance our learning and coordination skills. We want to “find effortless effort”, as Master Trainer Rita Rehna would reiterate when we started to work too hard in the course. We must invest enough time and practice to understand our own body.
Movement Therapist and Author, Todd Hargrove, mentions that, “neuroscience reveals that the quality of attention as [we] practice will affect how productive the practice will be […] try to make the movement as smooth and easy and effortless as possible […] this will almost always require slowing the movement down and reducing the force of the movement from time to time.” This is how efficient movement begins.
After every class or workshop the level of energy, satisfaction, and body awareness in the room becomes heightened – every time. The Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods have been specifically configured for the benefits as mentioned above. Its emphasis on somatics, physiology, and anatomical importance to movement goes a long way.
Although only a snippet in what I’ve seen in my clients and have experienced, it goes without saying that there’s always more to explore!
Maria decided to come back home after 10 years of living in the U.S., London, and France, to begin building a new space in Mexico City called Kinecta Estudio. Listen to her story.
Radiant Space Art Gallery is based in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, CA, and thrives from its founders: Daniel Elder, Sean Maurer, Golie Yazdy, Olivia Mia Orozco.
This gallery space hosts art shows, dance, music performances, sound baths, pop up fashion markets and donation based group classes. Mia, the main event coordinator, is a dancer, actress, and all round performing artist, making her a key element to Radiant Space’s network and success. This space has also a great emphasise on women, arts, and wellbeing (check).
When prompted to host a GYROKINESIS® Group class for the gallery, it was a definite “Yes” right away. As I’ve been based in London for the last 7 years and have just relocated to Lisbon, I haven’t had the pleasure to be apart of or even see the space.
The space is lovely and serves its purpose well. Being in the heart of West Hollywood, this gallery space has already had a lot of foot traffic and art buyers. With a few promotions and word of mouth, I was excited to teach my first class in Los Angeles in years, let alone Radiant Space’s first ever GYROKINESIS® Class.
5 movers were plenty in the space to allow full movement and the necessary student to teacher visibility that this method requires. In L.A.’s “winter” (80° F), we cultivated even more of a sweat and moved as a unit for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The energy was fantastic.
What I love about teaching and being involved with a place like Radiant Space is being able to transform the space and connect with a diverse realm of people. From Visual Art, Meditation, Music, Dance, and Fitness, these collaborations advocate what artists love doing the most: supporting and showcasing each other.
I look forward to see what other movement modalities Radiant Space will offer in the gallery in 2018. It’s apparent that this space has already become special to those who founded it and unique to those who’ve discovered it. Keep a look out, Angelenos! Stay tuned to this important space.
Current & Upcoming
Donation Sound Meditation with Allison Jones
Currently On Display
In this World / Out of this World: Group Photography Showcase
Radiant Space is thrilled to start 2018 with a floor-to-ceiling interactive psychedelic textile cave by Laurie Shapiro
Follow Radiant Space here:
Follow Mia Orozco here:
More about Radiant Space
Radiant Space is a multimedia gallery in the heart of West Hollywood, CA. At its core, we are a team of creatives who have bonded together to co-create a space for visual arts, film, dance, fashion, and multimedia installations. Our aim is to authentically present work that adds to the global conversation of what it means to have a human experience here and now. We offer our space to rent for creative projects, photo shoots, personal art shows, and special events. We’d love to collaborate with you. Feel free to reach out to us and come join our community.
More about Olivia Mia Orozco
Orozco’s work explores the relationship between the mind and body both as it concerns itself with the movement of dance and from a philosophical point of view. Her work questions and redefines perspective. She enjoys using the camera lens to aide the audience in seeing new facets of the atmosphere in which the dancer is living that may not otherwise be seen in a proscenium setting. It questions the notions of time and from how many viewpoints time can be measured.
As a female artist she explores the defining characteristics of women and is interested in archetypal figures while also questioning the shaping of the modern woman. Her work weaves tales from ancient myths to Hollywood thrillers to create work that both pays homage to classical dance while still maintaining a fresh look of the twenty first century in its interwoven form. Slicing and mingling the old and new, she creates work that aims at authentically presenting her story, thoughts, dreams and ambitions to audiences worldwide via the use of technology and live performance.
Hello budding trainers! This one’s especially for you. While the GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® Methods have been a part of my life for many years as both a student and practitioner, it’s the Final Certification that can really reiterate the work in a different light.
As we develop our own way with learning how to teach these methods, it’s also useful to know how the rest of the world approaches these methods and enhance the way we see bodies in movement as a mover and a trainer. Here are 5 out of many lessons you’ll learn when attending either the Final GYROKINESIS® or GYROTONIC® Certifications.
Prepare the Mind and Body
Get ready for a long and adventurous weekend. Remember that these methods work very deeply for both the mind and body and there is a lot of information to obtain. Pace yourself and take it one sequence at a time. Map out some time for yourself before or after class with or without a partner. With good morning start and a long lunch break, there’s plenty time already mapped out for you to refresh.
Take Advantage of the Surroundings
As you can see, Münstertal is based in a tranquil, and refreshing setting. With that said, don’t forget to explore the studio’s surrounding area if possible. Whether you’re in Münstertal’s lush setting or in a bustling city like Hong Kong, there’ll always be something exciting and inspiring to see. At my Gyrotonic Certification in Miami Beach, we spent our time at the beaches casually acknowledging the different postures.
Release Unnecessary Habits
One of the most interesting things in being in a new environment is learning how to let go ‘how you usually do something’. During the Final Certification, this is definitely the time to listen and learn. For example, you’ve been explaining how to do the Arch and Curl in one way, now how could you add more detail and apply a new refreshing aspect? It’s not how the movement looks externally it’s where it comes from.
Take Care of the Body
Warm up, cool down, adhere to any existing injuries–something that the Certifying Master Trainer will undoubtedly recommend. While it’s important to show what you’ve been exploring during your training and apprenticeship, it’s important to remember that this is for you and that your body is a priority. Aim to arrive at the Certification in good physical shape if possible so you’re able to explore these methods to the next level.
Get to Know to Other Trainers
There’s only a few precious long days within a Final Certification, especially if you’re not able to take time off beforehand and/or afterwards. What kind of businesses are people running? Are they new to the method? Are they adding this method to an array of other practices and talents they may acquire? It’s so worth it to find out– it’s one of the most exciting parts of the certification. You may even meet someone to collaborate with in the future.
Ask Questions, Seek Advice
Although a Certification, this environment is your learning environment. This is a great place to bring questions you’ve had over the last few months or even years. Your certifying Master Trainer has a lot to offer and this could be a once in a lifetime experience. Your peers around from from many wonderful backgrounds will always have advice to offer as well! Don’t let this moment slip away as your Master Trainer will be quite busy otherwise.
The GYROTONIC® Method
Miami Beach GYROTONIC®
Master Trainer: Lisa Marie Goodwin
The GYROKINESIS® Method
Master Trainer: Salvatore Lo Monaco
Many thanks to all the Trainers and Master Trainers I’ve met along the way!