Colleen Downard has spent nearly a decade living in Teton Valley and operating a Gyrotonic studio in Wilson. Through the quirks of fate dealt by Covid and rising rent prices, she has been able to finally make the move over Teton Pass and open a studio in Driggs at 30 N First Street, and she’s excited to introduce the niche movement system to a whole new community.
The Gyrotonic Expansion System is a mind-body fitness approach with a range of fluid motions that strengthen the body, increase mobility, and enhance posture. It exists in the liminal space between yoga (both incorporate breathing and stretching), Pilates (both build core strength and use apparatus), and dance. Downard has a dance background, which is immediately apparent when she gracefully demonstrates some of the basic cycles on her apparatus, towers made of wood with pulleys and weights that provide gentle resistance.
As a dance and Pilates instructor in Colorado, Downard discovered the Gyrotonic method in the early 2000s. She said it helped her address many of her muscular imbalances and nagging injuries leftover from dance.
“It’s a really easy system to adapt for one person’s particular needs,” Downard added. “I can have an athlete in here and give them a vigorous workout while also teaching them about body movement, or work with someone who is dealing with chronic ‘issues in the tissues.’ I can just geek out on the human body like that forever.”
Over the winter she taught via Zoom and works with people around the world, but she’s happy to have clients back in the studio now. At MoveWell, Downard offers private sessions, semi-private sessions, instructor training, and small group classes in both the Gyrotonic (with an apparatus) and Gyrokinesis (no specialized equipment necessary) methods. It’s not easy to simply drop in for a class, she noted; some introduction to the equipment and movement is required.
To christen the new space, formerly the Yoga Off Little studio, Downard is offering free consultations where people can learn about the equipment and discuss their goals, as well as discounted introductory classes and packages. She is also holding free Gyrokinesis classes for first time students and hopes to develop a cohort of students who grow and learn together in the studio.
“I love the energy of group classes, and I think we’re all craving that after Covid,” she said. “I’m always trying to think of creative ways to offer access to the movement system that people can afford.”
To learn more go to www.movewelljh.com.