One of the things that I love most about Gyrotonic is it’s malleability. The movements are organic and universal enough to translate to almost anything else that I am doing in my life. I don’t “do Gyro” so that I can get really talented at “doing Gyro”. For me, it is a useful tool on my journey of self knowledge, understanding, and breakthrough. The physicality of the technique helps me to notice my movement habits, acknowledge where and when I hold tension, and ultimately to change, advance, evolve. With the appearance of spring in Durango, my thoughts turn to how Gyro can help those pursuing the sport of golf, whether professionally, or in the spirit of good fun.
Watching golfers is a bit deceiving in my opinion. Their athleticism is not as immediately obvious as say a basketball or football player. I mean hey, they get to ride in carts from hole to hole, pretty luxurious no? On further inspection though there is a ton of coordination, strength, power, and flexibility necessary, particularly during the golf swing. These guys and gals can’t just hop onto the course on a balmy spring day and expect to play perfectly. It becomes clear that some kind of cross training is needed in order to prepare the player for all they will face during a game. Strength training is great for building muscle, keeping bones healthy, and creating a more powerful body with which to play. Flexibility training is equally important to keep those strong muscles supple and responsive. However, isolating these two things is not the most ideal method.
Enter Gyrotonic exercise, which has strength and flexibility components built into every move! Imagine being able to strengthen your muscles while you lengthen them, it’s like your work is cut in half! Genius! Take the spine for instance. During an ideal golf swing you must keep the spine long and spiraling around your center of gravity while at the same time creating enough power to hit that ball as far as you’d like it to go. Or the pelvis. It must also be flexible enough to spiral easily on top of your legs, which need to be able to hold you up and shift your weight as you swing. The arms need to be able to rotate, and bend without restriction. The wrists need to be strong and clear about how they guide the club through the air. Oh yeah, you should probably breathe a little bit too. If one of these things is not in optimal working condition, it can lead to injuries that can take you out of the game for weeks, months, or worse, become a chronic issue. Just watching someone with a tight, held pelvis, a hunched spine, and shoulders that are up to their ears as they move with rapid force sends sympathy pains coursing through my body!
Unfortunately, merely being strong and flexible does not automatically make you a superb golfer. You must also learn how to coordinate all of the elements of a golf swing with your new, loose, supple and strong body. Gyrotonic creator, Juliu Horvath, worked extensively with PGA tour instructor Dave Rasmussen to create a program specifically designed for golfers. This program predominantly addresses problems that players have with their swing. I was fortunate enough to take this course with Dave five years ago, and have since enjoyed analyzing players habitual movement patterns, and helping them make breakthroughs in their game.
In my experience, Gyrotonic exercises coupled with private golf instruction is the perfect combination of form and technique. Ultimately, golf is just a game, but what if you could play it with strength, ease, and confidence while minimizing pain and injury? Maybe then it would just be (gasp) fun?!