Gyrotonic, the new yoga or Pilates in Singapore?

Cheryl Tay
Fit to Post Sports

Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at She also happens to be a recent gym and fitness convert. Here she tests her spine mobility with a Gyrotonic trial...

The Moving Body was the first to offer Gyrotonic in Singapore. (photo from The Moving Body)

Singaporeans can’t stop working out.

The fitness craze that has gripped the nation in recent times is showing no signs of letting up, with new gyms – whether boutique, chain or traditional – and new ways of looking fabulous popping up at every corner.

But if the likes of Virgin Active’s “animal” workouts and Ritual’s flash 30-minute sessions are too action-packed for you, then here’s something a little less intense and a whole lot more Zen.

The Gyrotonic system, offered at studios like The Moving Body, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, Focus Pilates and Breathe Pilates, is all about maneuvering your body in ways you never thought you could, using special, custom-made equipment like pulley towers.

It incorporates elements of dance, swimming, tai chi and gymnastics to “wake the body up” through a fluid core workout – one that simultaneously stretches and strengthens muscles, facilitates injury rehab and helps improve balance and agility.

There are similarities to yoga and Pilates but Gyrotonic, which was created in New York by dance teacher Juliu Horvath, is more expansive because there is no end point to the movements.

I had a trial session with Master Gyrotonic Trainer Kim Young-ah, who dropped by Singapore to impart her knowledge to the in-house instructors at the The Moving Body.

Master Gyrotonic Trainer Young-ah Kim was in Singapore recently to train the instructors at The Moving Body.

“The Gyrotonic method helps to improve circulation of blood and energy,” explained the 52-year-old South Korean.

She added that it will also benefit those who slouch or spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer, as well as those who simply want to perform better in sports.

I took to the machines myself to try out some of the simpler exercises – for instance, a warm-up series known as the “Arch and Curl”, which in the course of the workout moves your spine up to an amazing seven different directions to stimulate the nervous system.

Arch and Curl Series (Photo from The Moving Body Group)

Good for all

The Gyrotonic system has gained worldwide popularity in recent times, attracting an array of celebrities and athletes such as Tiger Woods, Madonna, Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore.

In Singapore, the number of clients practising Gyrotonic at The Moving Body has increased more than fivefold from 2010 – the majority of whom are women and includes socialites Dana Cheong and Marisa Wee.

One client, 41-year-old Jennie Opperman, picked it up a year ago and now does it two to three times a week. "It has helped to improve my posture and make me more aware of my body so I do not injure myself unnecessarily,” she said.

Likewise, fellow customer Terry Young has seen "better overall body movement coordination, improved posture and stronger core muscles" since he started doing Gyrotonic two years ago.

Pretty much anyone can take up Gyrotronic. Kim, who has been instructing for 15 years now, revealed that her youngest client is seven, while her oldest is an 85-year-old lady.