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At Balanced Birch Studio, we value AUTHENTIC instruction. We believe that our clients deserve nothing but the best. That's why every client will work with an instructor that is CLASSICALLY trained from an authentic source.


So what are Classical Pilates™ and GYROTONIC®?

What is Classical Pilates™?

The Pilates Method, developed in the 1920s by Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967), is a body conditioning program that has yielded many health benefits for its practitioners for nearly a century.


The Pilates method teaches balance and control of the entire body, rhythmic and controlled breath, abdominal and pelvic floor strength, and coordination of the Mind-Body connection. 


The Six Key Principles Of The Pilates Method

1. Centering

2. Concentration

3. Control

4. Precision

5. Breath

6. Flow


Who was Joseph Pilates?

Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany, and as a young child suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. In response to these ailments and the impacts of the modern societal world around him, he became dedicated to improving his health and that of those around him. Around 1912 Pilates lived in England working as a circus performer, gymnast, boxer, diver, and skier. His work was influenced by these athletic ventures as well as utilizing aspects of Yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman regimens. During World War I, he was placed into an internment camp in Lancaster, England, along with other German nationals. He became a caretaker to many of the other interns in the camp who had found themselves injured from the war or ill with disease. While there, he developed his work into the equipment- and mat-based program that we know today. Pilates utilized springs from the mattresses of hospital beds in order to create a feeling of resistance, deepening the attention on core postural muscles, keeping the body balanced, and providing support for the spine. These designs would later influence his patented apparatus designs used in modern Pilates studios today. In 1918, the world was hit with the influenza epidemic that killed hundreds of thousands in England alone. It is said that none of the patients that Pilates helped during that time died. This is credited to Pilates’s method of body conditioning and care. After World War I, Pilates returned to Germany and collaborated with important experts in dance and physical exercise such as Rudolf Laban. He then moved to New York City with his wife, Clara, and opened up his “Contrology” studio, where he worked with many dance artists, including George Balanchine, Martha Graham and ballerina Romana Kryzanowska, who became Pilates's protege.


“It is the mind that creates the body.” ~Joseph Pilates


The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® was created by Romanian-born Hungarian Juliu Horvath and includes both the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods. Designed to honor the human body as a holistic, integrated system, these original methods use carefully created flowing sequences of movement to increase range of motion, stimulate the nervous system, and improve overall strength and functional movement efficiency. While GYROKINESIS® is practiced on a mat or a chair without equipment, GYROTONIC® utilizes specialized equipment to guide each movement’s flow into the next, allowing the joints to move through a natural range of motion without the jarring or compression that often lead to injury. GYROTONIC® is practiced by people of all ages and abilities, from professional athletes to the elderly to people recovering from illness or injury to improve balance, efficiency, strength and flexibility.


Who is Juliu Horvath?

Juliu Horvath was born in 1942 in Temesvar, Romania. As a child, he excelled in many movement-based activities, namely swimming, gymnastics and rowing. At age nineteen he began to study dance, and by age 21 was a principal dancer for the Romanian National Ballet Company. After defecting from Romania in 1970, Horvath lived in a refugee camp in Italy for six months. He was eventually granted political asylum in the United States and moved to New York City, where he continued his dance career, working with renowned dancers such as Margot Fonteyn, Jacques d’ Amboise and Melissa Hayden.

After rupturing his Achilles tendon while performing with the Houston Ballet, Horvath transitioned into studying yoga, leading to a lifelong passion for breath- and flow-based movement, as well as meditation. In 1977, Horvath moved to St. Thomas in order to explore his growing interests and deepen his movement practice. There, he gained even more insight into how the body moves and heals, and brought his insights back to New York City as “Yoga for Dancers,” a movement practice from which he eventually developed what is now the GYROTONIC® method.

"When you stop experimenting, you cannot grow" ~Juliu Horvath

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