Giving Gyrotonics a Whirl

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Laguna’s Jennine Baillie is inspiring motion.

Section by Somer Tejwani

LBM_45_Active_Jennine_Gyrotonic Tower_By Jody Tiongco-12

Sure, you’ve tried Pilates, but ever heard of Gyrotonic exercise? It involves circular movements and combines elements of tai chi, yoga, dance and Pilates. Former dancer Juliu Horvath created the innovative Gyrotonic method after studying yoga and meditation following an injury—a ruptured Achilles tendon during his time as a principal dancer with the Houston Ballet. Juliu developed his intensive exercise approach with a mat on the floor, then invented the Gyrotonic Expansion System, also called the expansion tower or pulley tower.

Jennine Baillie of Inspiring Motion Laguna, which offers instruction in Pilates, Gyrokinesis (using a stool and mat) and Gyrotonic (using the tower), has known that she wanted to practice Gyrotonic exercise since the first moment she tried it. While the system is beneficial for general fitness, it’s also used to help those recovering from injuries or surgery. Jennine uses her dance background—she previously practiced both ballet and gymnastics—to create engaging workout sessions for her clients. Here, the certified instructor shares her insights on experimenting with the new method.

Laguna Beach Magazine: How did you get involved in Gyrotonic exercise?
Jennine Baillie: In 2007, I was studying Pilates and noticed one of the expansion towers in the studio. I became curious—it looked like a medieval stretching chamber. I tried it and it just felt so good on my body. I was already certified in Pilates and there’s a lot of synergy between Pilates and Gyrotonics, so I got certified in it, too.

LBM: Why has it been so great for you?
JB: When I started, I had chronic shoulder problems and the machine has really helped my body. It heals and stretches your body, and is adaptable to fit any ability. From people with disabilities to professional athletes, anyone can do it.

LBM: For those who have never tried Gyrotonics, what advice do you have?
JB: Take a series of at least eight to 10 private classes before trying group classes. There is also Gyrokinesis, which uses a stool and a mat (instead of the expansion tower) that can be done in a group setting.

LBM: Any particular type of gear we need to get?
JB: The studio will have the tower; just make sure you’re dressed in comfortable clothes.

LBM: When you aren’t doing Gyrotonics, what other types of physical activities do you like to engage in?
JB: I love working out on the elliptical every day, doing Pilates, hiking, playing golf as well as swimming.

LBM: We’ve heard Gyrotonics can help your golf game. Is that true?
JB: Absolutely, especially with the rotation that happens in golf.

LBM: For readers who have tried Pilates and are thinking about dabbling in Gyrotonics, what advice do you have?
JB: If you like Pilates, you’re going to love Gyrotonics. It will enhance your balance, [and] create strength and flexibility.

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