The Dubai Tennis Championships are set to begin in just a few days, and the world’s top tennis players have been gearing up to battle it out on our sunny courts. Granted there are many amazing players participating in the championships, but it is no secret that over here at The Hundred Wellness Centre Britain’s #1 player Andy Murray has our vote! Aside from working on his serve, there’s been lots of press coverage about how essential the Gyrotonic Method has been to his tennis training. Last year before the 2016 tournament, Andy visited our centre multiple times to privately train on our Gyrotonic expansion system.
“Gyrotonics has made a huge difference to my life, actually. Not just my tennis but to what I can and can’t do. I still do Pilates, but a lot of it is straight lines. With Gyrotonics there is more twisting and turning, the kind of movements I use in tennis.”– Andy Murray
The “Gyro”, as aficionados call it, originated in the 1980s when Hungarian ballet dancer Juliu Horvath began developing a system to help him recover from injuries. The result is a complex-looking piece of equipment – with weights, pulleys and a web of inter-connected ropes – designed to help users perform controlled spiraling movements to help keep their joints loose and flexible.
Currently The Hundred Wellness Centre is home to the only Gyrotonic expansion system in the UAE. We sat down with Mara Tataki our in-house Gyrotonic teacher to get to know more about her and the system itself:
– Hi Mara, tell us a bit about yourself and how you started in Gyrotonic training?
As a dance instructor and dancer myself, I have always been interested in studying about techniques that prevent injuries and help build a lean, strong, and super flexible body. I first heard about Gyrotonic from a fellow Pilates instructor during a workshop; her description was captivating “It is amazing, even deeper breathing and fluid movements, oh, it makes you feel even better than Pilates!” but what really caught my attention the most was her face while she was talking about it.. she was glowing. During that period in my career I was still looking for “the best thing” to deepen my knowledge about movement and there it was! I spent one year in New York, studying about Gyrotonic and it was truly the answer to my quest!. I have not stopped since, it is the love of my life, and I have not felt better!
– Briefly can you tell us what the Gyrotonic expansion system is?
The sentence that Juliu Howarth -founder of Gyrotonic Expansion System- uses to describe his Method is “The Art of exercising and beyond”. I must say that however vague this description may be, Gyrotonic DOES GO BEYOND! Not only is it exercising in a way that strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia (aka myoskeletal system), but at the same exact time, during a workout, all internal systems of the body (nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic ) are equally activated in the process of restoring internal communication for a totally rejuvenating experience within a simple 60-90 minute workout. I have tried all types of exercise methods, and this is the only one that achieves a holistic effect to the entire body.
– What can people expect from a session on the Gyrotonic?
This question is probably the trickiest part of all. How can you describe what a child feels while playing out in nature? It is not just a simple dimension of exercising, it is so much more! While Gyrotonic does use weights you won’t feel the “burn” and this is so much healthier as both agonist and antagonist muscles work together at the same time. The body will feel like you’ve been on a long and intense swim but you are not going to feel sore afterwards, it feels more like you went for a great massage session, and the changes in your posture and quality of movement are in most cases is eye-opening just after one session!
– Ideally how often should you perform these workouts?
If It was up to me I would ask my clients to come in every day of the week and it will literally transform not just the body but the person as a whole in 3-5 months’ time. But being realistic, 3 sessions per week with a 5 minute homework exercise can yield fantastic results very soon too. However if you are short on time, practicing twice a week is a good option, and a person can definitely experience results within 3 months time, while what I call the “transformation” may take a little longer. For people who are already actively practicing sports or exercising with different techniques during the week once a week is adequate. However the most important element for your training regardless of how many times a week you come in, is: consistency, consistency, consistency!
– Who can benefit from the exercises, and what are the top benefits if you keep it up?
Gyrotonic is literally for everyone! From a health compromised person suffering from issues related to the nervous system, to a top athlete that wants to take his/her performance to a new level, Gyrotonic is not just another exercise, it is THE VEHICLE that will take you to were you want to be inside your own body, healthier, stronger, and happier. You might be thinking “yeah right..” but I have personally witnessed with my own eyes people changing, looking younger, taller and more beautiful! When I returned to Greece from NYC my friends were astonished…I was taller and my dancing was even better than before…how could it not? It felt like I was dancing on the clouds!
– What do you personally love about Gyrotonic?
The amazing sense of freedom and joy of the movements that go way beyond strength, stretch and control. It makes me feel like I can do literally everything bigger, better, easier, with laser-accuracy and minimum effort… and on top of all that… it makes you feel like you are 15 years old again!
Well, reading all of this, it is no wonder that Andy Murray is so obsessed with Gyrotonics – with all of its relaxed swoops and yogic breathing, it must be the most relaxing yet effective part of his training routine! If you are interested in trying out the Gyrotonic with Mara for yourself, drop us an email or call on +971(0)4 344 7333 to book a session and get ready to dance on the clouds!