Golborne Place specialises in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, and a selection of alternative therapies. It aims to create a safe haven for stressed urbanites to relax and reconnect with their bodies. I was here to test-drive Pilates on a reformer, and Gyrotonic; a unique system of exercise that incorporates movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming and t’ai chi.
Within minutes of sitting down to complete a form, a heavily pregnant woman emerged from the upstairs acupuncture room. She proceeded to gush to her therapist Tomoko that she wouldn’t have made it through pregnancy without regular sessions at the studio. On finding Tomoko was away the following week the woman appeared genuinely close to tears.
Downstairs is a large room filled with attractive wooden machines; Pilates reformers, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis equipment. Halfway between medieval torture devices and chic minimalist beds, the equipment is specially designed to allow specific muscle groups to be located and worked in a controlled manner. The Gyrotonic machine, or GXS, has rotational discs and pulleys allowing you to strengthen your muscles using flowing, circular movements.
I started with Gyrotonic with Tomoko. It soon became apparent why the aforementioned client had found her so calming. She began by re-educating my seat muscles; we spent about 10 minutes re-aligning my body to sit so that the core muscles were properly engaged and supporting the spine correctly. This was surprisingly subtle and tenuous, given all I did was sit on a wooden bench and imitate Tomoko’s positions.
Once I’d successfully located the core muscle groups I was ready for the Gyrotonic GXS machine. Sitting on the bench I was guided through several arm and body movements, my hands holding what could best be described as gearsticks. It was fascinating to acknowledge the specific muscle groups engaged by holding the sticks at different angles, and moving the arms at slightly different angles. A similar process was repeated with the legs. The exact trajectory of circular arm and leg movements had never seemed so complicated! I left feeling baffled, invigorated and soothed.
Next up was Benji with the Pilates reformer. I’ve done Pilates on and off for several years. While finding it moderately rewarding, I had always been frustrated not knowing whether I was locating the intended muscle groups. Pilates is all about engaging core muscles, but until you’re experienced, it can be hard to know if you’re engaging the right muscles. I spent an enjoyable hour with my legs in spring stirrups, gliding up and down in specific shapes while focusing intently on my pelvic floor muscles as they are central to all core muscle groups. By the end of the session I was far more attuned to my body, and could locate tiny muscle groups I’d never before been aware of.
One-on-one classes in either Gyrotonic, or Pilates on a reformer are fantastic for anyone wanting to tweak their technique to get more out of a group class. Whether a dancer, athlete or sluggish party animal, Golborne Place offers a chance to balance mind and body.
Golborne Place is offering all West London Living readers 20% off their first Private Pilates Assessment Class until the end of June. What’s more, if you fall in love with the Pilates system Golborne Place will offer a further 10% off block bookings of five Privates if you commit on the day – the block bookings are already discounted so this is a great offer to make the most of.