Avril Betoushana is a certified GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® practitioner living in Ashland, Oregon. The Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods are forms of exercise that utilize fluid and organic body movements which both increase flexibility and strength. Often times compared to a practice of dancing and doing yoga simultaneously, Gyrotonic movements create both an internal and outward body awareness that allow your body to go with the flow.
Movements are very gentle, opening and freeing, thus promoting a delight in all aspects of your movement. Gyrotonic exercise offers more than two hundred motions to stretch, strengthen and foster more natural body motions and is practiced around the world by all ages. Gyrotonic exercise relieves stiffness, tension and stress, and while traditional exercises might focus on start stop motions, Gyrotonic exercise builds on a circularity that keeps your body in graceful motion.
Avril Betoushana is here today to speak with us about her practice and passion for being a Gyrotonic practitioner.
GYROTONIC® exercise was first introduced as yoga for dancers in the New York area by Juliu Horvath, the founder of the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®. Dancers, as well as many who tried it, began to fall in love with the movement practice and it grew from there. It was reducing injury in dancers as well as improving technique. That was in the late 70’s and it continues to gain popularity today.
GYROTONIC® methodology is quickly gaining popularity now across the world. How are people learning about and participating in this new exercise?
Although Gyrotonic exercise has its roots in the dance community, it has quickly been adopted by the world of physical therapy, professional athletes and other healing and movement modalities. It informs your body in a way that helps you to produce intelligent movement, thereby reducing injury as well as speeding healing processes.
Who is the exercise best suited for?
Anyone can do Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercises. Each unique body is like an instrument and can be taught to play its own song through use of the Gyrotonic methodology. It is extremely fluid in its ability to be tailored to any individual’s needs.
That said, this exercise system is great for teens because it balances hormones and helps them to develop a better spatial relationship with their bodies as they go through rapid growth. It is a gentle and effective exercise for regaining core strength and pelvic floor tone in women who are recovering from childbirth. It’s also great for the elderly, as the movements lubricate and strengthen their joints spaces as well as keep their bodies moving in ways not usually a part of their daily routines. Further, it helps anyone suffering from muscle tightness, back pain, and aids injury recovery and is a wonderful method for increasing core strength and pelvic floor health.
GYROTONIC® exercises appear to be circular and very fluid. Will you please tell us why this is important?
There are no start-stop, back and forth movements, or hinge-like movements in Gyrotonic exercises. The movement starts from your center, circulates through your spine and extremities and back to your center in a complete circular pattern—much like a wave breaking on the shore, the movement circulates under itself to then feed into the next wave. Because our breath also follows this same circular pattern and leads all movement, often Gyrotonic exercise feels organic. It is a natural way of moving that can have the effect that can awaken us to the fact that we had forgotten that our bodies can move this way and, in fact, loves to move this way. This movement process leaves us feeling energized and rejuvenated.
Can you please explain the difference between GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods?
Gyrokinesis exercise, once called ‘Yoga for Dancers’, is the “mat class” version of the methodology. It starts out on stools and moves onto mat and into standing exercises. Gyrotonic exercise is the movement on the unique GYROTONIC® machines. This setup consists of several pieces of specialized equipment that are designed to aid the body in the spiraling and circular movements.
You mentioned that your life changed after you first saw a GYROTONIC® machine. Can you please talk about this?
It was in 2004 in the Los Angeles area. I entered a Pilates, GYROTONIC® and yoga studio to sign up for a yoga class. I saw this beautifully constructed tower with pulley cables and bench with handles that looked like something out of medieval times and, immediately, I felt a pull toward the equipment. My initial response being, “Oh that looks like it would feel so good.” That thought didn’t leave my mind for sometime. I tried it and have been hooked ever since.
What are five key benefits for an individual practicing the GYROTONIC® methodology?
Body awareness; core strength; fluid motion; stabilization; and an ability to get the spine moving, releasing rigidity. This exercise system also stimulates and strengthens the nervous system and strengthens joints as well, while allowing them to become more flexible. All in all, it invigorates and re-educates the body to move with fluidity, relaxation and power.
How do you as the practitioner work with and support the person doing the GYROTONIC® exercises?
I aid you in meeting your body where it’s at and where you are in relationship with your body. We go in together and I support and guide your movement. Much like a music lesson we treat your body as the instrument and teach it to move with strength and fluidity. I have an absolute passion for using my skill and knowledge to give people attention in this way. Every body’s story is so different and unique and it is wonderful to a part of a person’s journey of becoming more physically empowered. I feel blessed to be part of this self–discovery process.
You are currently teaching and offering GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Classes. Will you please tell us how someone might get involved, if they want to learn more?
I am teaching GYROKINESIS® classes at both Inward Bound, here in Ashland, and the Trillium Waterbirth Center in Medford. GYROTONIC® exercises are taught on the specialized equipment at Inward Bound 258 A Street #12.
Avril, what has been your favorite aspect about getting involved with the GYROTONIC® methodology?
I have become so much more of an ally to my body, as it is to me. It’s my vehicle while I am here having this life experience and I want to have the most comfortable, fun, fluid ride I can have.
Your best client testimonial after a GYROTONIC® session.
Far and away the most common comment I get is “I feel taller”
Another is “I feel like I am floating”
But my favorite was: “That felt like WD40 for my spine”
What is the opportunity that you want to extend to Ashlanders via the LocalsGuide?
Gyrotonic exercise is new to people and I wanted to get the word out to the wonderful community of Ashland and invite them to give it a try. I think they’ll enjoy the experience.
GYROTONIC, GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM and GYROKINESIS are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with their permission.