I walked into Miriam’s studio in the Vista where hardwood floors gleamed as the sunlight streamed in from floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a brick patio. It was serene. I looked to my right and saw the Pulley Towers (I didn’t know that was what they were called). These gigantic wooden machines that looked like sculptures. They had cables and noose looking straps dangling from them. A strange black bench with a towel on it and handles sticking out from it sat in front of each machine. I thought I had stepped into a lovely, sun filled medieval torture chamber. What had I gotten myself into??
I think I must have looked stunned as a tiny dark-haired woman approached me and introduced herself as Miriam Barbosa, my teacher. She handed me an intake form to complete and chatted with me as I completed it, asking me about my body and what had brought me there today. She listened carefully and before I knew it, she had me sitting on the bench facing the tower, placing a pole on my back that was suspended from the tower between two of those noose-like straps attached to cables with weights on them. She then had me try to wrap my arms around the pole. My shoulders and back were too tight to accomplish what she wanted me to do so she had me adjust my arms to my level of comfort. The next thing I knew, with the weights on the tower providing support to my body, her hands were gently guiding me through movements that moved my spine in different directions. I felt awkward. I had never experienced anything like this, but it felt good.
The session progressed as Miriam directed me to different places. Next came sitting on the bench with my hands on those arms sticking out (she called them handles). Soon she was guiding me, with words and hands, through rhythmic motions encouraging my spine and abs to do things they didn’t know how to do. Then I was lying on my back with my legs in the air supported by straps attached to the tower and weights. The movements she had me do were like swimming without the water – I liked this one best. Throughout all this Miriam is talking me through every step telling me where to sit, stand, place my hands, place my feet and where to look. It was dizzying and at times intimidating being asked to do things I had no idea how to do. But at the end of the session, I felt amazing. My entire body felt alive, taller, somehow looser and energized. I had taken ballet and jazz lessons as a teenager and it felt as if my long dormant “inner dancer” had just woken up. My body wanted more.
That was the beginning of the physical learning journey. I had no idea how much there was to learn and how my body would change as I kept going deeper, finding muscles I didn’t know I had, and experiencing healing benefits I had no idea were even possible. Join me as I take you on my journey from aging 60-year-old to vibrant, joyful 72-year-old GYROTONIC® teacher.
The Movement Studio
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