By Jennifer Witt
I had passed by the studio many-a-time, always wondering what type of new-age exercise was being practiced behind the glass doors. With yoga and pilates becoming increasingly popular, surely this could be the next big exercise trend, and as a self-proclaimed fitness trailblazer (and proud owner of many exercise tapes that promised to change my life and ironically still sitting unopened in my media cabinet), I decided that I must give it a try.
Gyrotonics, for those of you neophytes like myself, is a system that incorporates techniques from yoga, ballet, swimming, tai-chi and gymnastics to increase range of motion and balance and help with muscular rejuvenation. “Oh perfect,” I thought – Should the worlds most uncoordinated person, who can’t even hack Aerobics 101 at New York Sports Clubs, attempt to be a guinea pig for what sounded like an extremely complicated and tricky way to get a good stretch? But, in keeping with my New Years resolution to be more adventurous, I decided I had little to lose, except my embarrassment, so, challenge accepted!
First of all, the folks at Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon, upon learning that an intrepid reporter was setting out to do a review, brought out the big gun: Mr. Sal Anthony himself, who also has a thriving business as a restaurateur (I cracked myself up with the obvious joke of eating a hearty plate of spaghetti bolognese and then working it off at his studio, to which he pleasantly smiled as I’m sure he’s heard it a thousand times before).
Sal Anthony was to be my private instructor for the session and since he seemed to be pretty re known locally, and also in great shape himself, I was a bit intimidated at first. He also looked uncannily like The Godfather himself, or at least a Soprano family member. But there was no talk of waste management at all, in fact, we got right down to business, “wasting” no time getting me strapped into a harness attached to a machine of levers and pulleys similar to that of a medieval torture device. Lucky for me, there was little torture involved, in fact, with his watchful eye and another assistant on-hand to spot me from behind, I was soon enough gyrating all over the place (or, in circular movements as instructed), that felt strange at first, but fun and satisfying after I got into the groove. It’s all about using your core muscles to orchestrate the movements, similar to pilates, but to quote from the expert himself, Sal Anthony explained that if pilates is “an internal combustion engine,” then Gyrotonics is “the rocket ship.” Well, I was sold. Never before had I spent much time on my abs, so this was a refreshing jump-start to what I suspect might be a great way to go from beer-gut to six-pack in a fraction of the time you would relying solely on the “Abmaster” from the gym.
After almost and hour and a half, I was slightly dizzy and felt like a pro at gyrating left, right, up down, sideways, etc. In fact, as I stumbled out of the place, looking suspiciously intoxicated to passerby thanks to the unfamiliar movements, a hot shower and green tea made at home afterwards me feel like a million bucks and I’d go back to the Movement Salon and move what my mama gave me anytime!
Thanks Mr. Anthony and now let’s reward ourselves and Mangia!!
Sal Anthony’s Movement Salons (Studio 17)
119 East 17th St (near Union Sq)