Thursday, March 28, 2013


By now, almost everyone has heard of Pilates and the "core", but may not know exactly what it is. Pilates is simply the name of the man who invented the Pilates system of physical training, where each exercise requires core activation and control.

Pilates is excellent training for increasing stability and awareness of the bio-mechanical principles of alignment when dealing with resistance. It adheres to aligned, supported and controlled movement from beginning to end points of each exercise.

Gyrotonic does not abandon the principles in Pilates training. But moves beyond the concepts of muscle-centric control and body positioning by incorporating fluidity in motion. In this way, Pilates and Gyrotonic, two distinctive systems, compliment each other beautifully.  In other words, understanding Pilates enhances Gyrotonic, and visa versa.

In Gyrotonic, the scope of exercise, broadens into an energetic and rhythmic flow, by releasing the nervous system into a coordinated pattern of multi-planar movement. Space is created in the muscle-bound joints, liberating movement. The organs are gently massaged and stimulated which opens their channels of circulation and aids the activity of the nervous system.

Gyrotonic exercises are considered to be architecturally circular, and conceptually too, many are like a circle with no beginning and end. Of course there is a start and finish. But once you set yourself into a specified pattern of the spiral-wave movement, it becomes more like perpetual motion.

The inventors of these two systems borrow from yoga, dance, martial arts, gymnastics and physical rehabilitation techniques. Both systems can be practiced without any equipment using a mat. Also, both systems have uniquely engineered pieces of equipment. The equipment appears quite unfamiliar from what is seen in the gym. The pieces of equipment from Pilates or Gyrotonic, each possess capabilities of exponential variation from a single exercise, allowing for the individuality of each unique performer. This is unlike typical gym equipment where usually one exercise is performed per each piece of equipment. 

Most likely, a trainer-teacher is required in order to build and grow a solid foundation in Pilates and Gyrotonic systems of conditioning.

There are obvious differences between the two systems. The inventors are unrelated. The equipment is also different. Many of the Pilates pieces are spring loaded. Many of the Gyrotonic pieces are set to a pulley system with weights. Without going into a physics discussion here, suffice it to say there is tons of information online about Pilates and Gyrotonic. To get started on your investigation click on the name of the inventor below:

Joseph Pilates developed all of the exercises, engineered and built all of the equipment in the Pilates system.

Juliu Horvath developed all of the Gyrotonic exercises, engineered and built all of the equipment in the Gyrotonic Expansion System.

GYROTONIC® is a registered trademark of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and is used with their permission.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mary Power, owner

Mary Power specializes in PILATES and GYROTONIC® for advanced athletic conditioning. With twenty-five years in mind-body fitness, fifteen of them were at St. Francis Memorial Hospital Sports and Dance Medicine Clinic. She holds a summa cum laude Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology from SFSU.

At St. Francis SportsMedicine, Mary worked with injured (pre and post surgery) performers from Cirque Du Soleil, Broadway touring shows, Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Symphony and many other local, national and touring performers. During five years at San Francisco Bay Club and Bay Club Marin, she taught many Pilates group classes per day including Pilates Mat and Pilates Allegro, Tower and Chair classes.  There she maintained private clientele, directed circuit training exhibitions, taught bootcamps for abs, and designed specialized workshops for tri-athletes, dancers, martial artists, skiers, surfers, circus performers, actors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, business professionals, and families.

For many years, Mary taught a wellness exercise class for Cancer Survivors at UCSF Cancer Care. She is a licensed massage therapist.

As a certified Group Ex. TRX instructor, Mary designed and taught TRX workshops specializing for shoulders, skiers, and for Pilates and Gyrotonic style workouts.  She continues to innovate with the TRX suspension system.

Mary Power has created a Pilates Fusion class geared for core, agility and performance. Mary maintains her private practice, Nob Hill Pilates and Gyrotonic. And she is the artistic director of MPOWERDANCE COMPANY,
 a San Francisco based performance dance art group since 1992.