In the 1980s, a former professional ballet dancer developed the Gyrotonic expansion system, often called “yoga for dancers,” as a way to help heal and prevent injuries. Inspired by elements of swimming, tai chi, yoga, and dance, the full-body workout, now found at more than a dozen studios in Portland, relies on a veritable playground of its own: elegant leather and wood pulley towers, rainbow-shaped ladders, and jumping boards that simulate running and leaping motions with low impact.
Why has Gyrotonic remained under the mainstream radar? According to Center Gyrotonic’s Emma Kingston, Portland’s only Gyrotonic master trainer, the system is hard to describe, but the experience speaks for itself. “Gyrotonic is like a fountain of youth for your joints,” she says. “It reverses the effects that gravity has on our bodies over time.”