Specialized Course Highlight: GYROTONIC® Principles Applied To Dynamic Trunk Stabilization

Blog Content Education // September 12, 2016

Conducted by GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer, Rita Renha Rezende

Rita Rhena Rezende, PT
Email: rita@gyrotonicbrasil.com
Tel: Brazil: (5521)99603-5949 / USA: (347)323-4927

What inspired you to create this course?
The main driving force was observing how people moved when they “exercised.” Over and again, the linear approach used in other exercise systems created a rigidity in the trunk, counterintuitive to the Gyrotonic methodology’s approach, and in fact, counterproductive for any way of exercising most efficiently. The marriage of simultaneous trunk strength and flexibility and training breath mechanics (respecting the physiology of the exhale in particular) seemed key.

When I moved back to Rio de Janeiro in 2000, I attracted mainly physical therapists interested in learning the Gyrotonic Method. I believe the reason for that was, as I set about promoting the work, I would tell my “story” of my knee injury to television and newspaper interviewers. How it affected my musical theatre career, how it led me to meet Juliu in 1991, and how much his methodology made sense and took me in a new direction. Well, I guess the public immediately associated it with rehabilitation. I also taught a lot of Pilates instructors – I really started to notice the rigid trunk, sucking in the belly, pulling the shoulder blades together and a way of breathing that was based in mouth movements as opposed to really using our breathing apparatus.

I noticed that over the course of the Gyrotonic teacher training – I would see movement changes in my apprentices. But then, they would go back to their normal lives, and when they returned, all the old habits were back.

It became my quest to explore how I could make these differences so clear to people that they would understand well enough to choose how they themselves moved, and therefore how they can observe and teach. You cannot teach efficient functional movement if you yourself cannot perform it.

Photos provided by Rita Renha Rezende

Photos provided by Rita Renha Rezende

Over the last 15 years or so, I have sensed a growing awareness, an “underground buzz,” towards addressing the body in a more integrated way! The years of isolating “body parts,” and building individual muscle as the primary focus, has gradually given way to a more holistic approach. The traditional gym “no pain no gain” workout has lost ground and has started to give way to a new concept, a sense of wellness!

But again, the bodies still had old habits and programs from practices that did promote linear and concentric movement. The word exercise had strong connotations. So, that is when I started to joke, telling people, “Welcome to the 21st century!”

My didactic approach then focused on encouraging the trainers to feel the movement instead of thinking about exercising. The Gyrotonic equipment is primarily designed as a feedback system. The goal is not to overpower the equipment like in traditional weight training, nor to manipulate it. Instead, the most efficient way should be observing the movement that the body can create with the equipment. In other words, the body and the equipment should become one full system, like a dance partner! I believe this is what Juliu means by “becoming an observer” and training the “muscle of intelligence.”

Thus, I enrolled in physical therapy school in Rio to better understand the science behind, what I believed to be, the most sophisticated therapeutic approach, the Gyrotonic methodology.

Physical therapy school gave me the language and science to express more clearly what I was seeing. Therapeutically, there was a divide between theoretical concepts of the “core” and “neutral pelvis” and the physical therapy tools available at the time to address trunk stabilization.

The missing pieces of the therapeutic approaches to core stabilization were:
1) The understanding of the relationship of the shoulder girdle to the pelvic girdle.
2) Using the physiological “deflate” of the lungs to then squeeze and engage the core muscles (meaning pelvic floor, local and global core muscles including thoracic).
3) The ability to master this and take it to all planes of movement – that is to bring this ability to all functional movement demands including the high level demands of whatever sport or art the person engages in.

By the time I could start bridging these two worlds together, the Gyrotonic Method and the science, the physical therapists that came to my Foundation Courses, and the Gyrotonic instructors enrolled in the Master Trainer program that did their supervision with me, encouraged me to systemize and document my teaching approach and the “translations” of the level one manual material.

What has been so exciting is that over time, physical therapy approaches have evolved to the point where today in 2016, we really are talking the same language and understanding that application of efficient functional movement in therapeutic approaches is key. The dialogue and concepts I have been teaching since 2000 are now parallel with PT approaches.

The tide has turned and I am very excited to bring this understanding to the Gyrotonic community in my “Dynamic Trunk Stabilization” course, for licensed Gyrotonic instructors, as well as to the PT community in my “Introduction to Gyrotonic Methodology for Health Professionals” course.

Thank you to Juliu Horvath and Paul Horvath. Also thank you to Marni Larkin for teaming up with me to realize this project.

Who is this course intended for?
This course is intended for all certified instructors looking to deepen their understanding of the kinesthetic application of the methods’ principles:
a. Spiral and circular movement, versus linear movement
b. Connection and strength, versus control and tension
c. Breath creates movement, movement creates breath
d. Dynamic core connection, versus static core connection
e. Exploring a guiding touch quality of “hands on” that creates new movement pathways

This differs from many manual therapy approaches, in which passive techniques mobilize and encourage range in a specific joint or “release” soft tissue. How that is then integrated into a person’s functional ability is dependent upon the particular therapist’s approach/techniques. With the Gyrotonic “hands on,” the net effect is simultaneous. The manual guidance is applied as the person is moving – hence, there may be an effect of soft tissue release or joints moving into ranges that the person is not normally able to access on their own. The immediate goal is to encourage and develop more efficient movement pathways. Hence, the client will experience movement efficiency in one’s own “movement system” and immediately integrate this into their daily life.

Together with a conscious experience of core connections to the three dimensional body, they will have the opportunity to enrich the conceptual understanding of a movement system approach to diagnosis, treatment, and wellness, creating a paradigm shift in their own training and treatment practice.

Client Testimonials
Rita’s Dynamic Stabilization course is the culmination of all her years of
1) Personal experiential inquiry
2) Scientific curiosity
3) Teaching / certification experience

The course leads to a true appreciation for our Level 1 Manual as pearls of wisdom are revealed during the 3-day program. Rita’s dedication to understanding Juliu’s work and translating it into current concepts, and beyond, in fields of biomechanics and therapeutic rehabilitation makes this course a landmark achievement.

Bravo Rita!

Marni Larkin PT, OTC
GYROTONIC® Pre-Trainer
Director of GYROTONIC® Manhasset (NY)

After knowing Rita and inviting her to teach courses in Israel for the last 7 years, I can say that in the DYNAMIC TRUNK STABILIZATION course Rita brings together the process of understanding and feeling “the real” core stabilization. During these 3 days she takes the teachers into a deep journey of finding and feeling one of the most important principles in the Gyrotonic Method – that “breath creates movement and movement creates breath.”

We loved every moment of it, here is Israel. Thank you Rita Renha.

With love and appreciation,

Ronny Perry Nadav


For more information about the GYROTONIC® Principles Applied to Dynamic Trunk Stabilization course, including a list of currently offered times and locations for this course, please visit our Specialized Courses page.

To inquire about hosting this course at your studio, please contact Rita Renha at rita@gyrotonicbrasil.com.

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