Circle Studio

1231 NW 11th Avenue
503-235-3556

Instructor Spotlight: Ashley Barton

Melissa Finds Strength and Laughter in Her Gyro Sessions with Ashley

Ashley Barton
Ashley Barton

How did you find Gyro and what benefits have you felt from your workouts?

I found Gyro about five months after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 31.  As a former ballet dancer and collegiate runner, movement has always been a vital part of my life.  After my diagnosis, I was forced to acknowledge that my old methods of exercise weren’t working for me, and in fact hadn’t been working for me for about a decade.  Throughout my twenties, my MS symptoms often manifested as sports injuries and rendered me a chronic physical therapy patient.  I was always frustrated that, just as I felt my workouts and fitness level gaining momentum, I’d be sidelined and unable to exercise with the rigor I craved.  Learning I had MS made me even more determined to keep moving, but scared about whether I’d really be able to feel a sense of satisfaction about my athletic accomplishments ever again.  I started seeing a therapist (who also does Gyro with Ashley) following my MS diagnosis.  After yet another session where I mourned my inability to be run, dance and exercise as much as I wanted to, she told me about Gyro.  I was skeptical and wary of embarking on what I worried would be a rehabilitative exercise regimen for a sick person when I was craving challenge and results.  However, through my Gyro sessions with Ashley I have learned that exercise can be both restorative and challenging, and really fruitful.  I have experienced increasing strength and flexibility.  I can now move in ways that were uncomfortable, painful and sometimes impossible when I first started Gyro.  Gyro has unmasked my body’s weaknesses and forced me to address them so that I am focused on arriving at a place of real strength.  Gyro helps significantly with my back pain and tight muscles- having a session is like getting the best massage.  I feel that Gyro has helped me reclaim and redefine a sense of grace, lightness and pride in the ways I can move.  Equally important, working with Ashley has enabled me to feel peaceful about the ways I can’t move- I think this sense of peace comes from knowing that I can still be strong and fit notwithstanding my limitations, but also because I feel more hopeful based on the progress that I have already experienced.  Also, I have lost a pretty good amount of weight and love that Gyro helps me stay lean and toned.

Tell us a little bit about your work with Ashley and how she has helped you on your Gyro journey?

Ashley is amazing- she is the perfect blend of knowledge and intuition, and always seems to know what exercises my body needs.  Her insightful instruction has enabled me to better understand and celebrate what my body can do, but she also has helped me to understand how to listen to what it needs and to feel accepting if I need to move in a more restorative way.  Ashley has taught me to appreciate that movement without a lot of burning, crazy sensation can transform your body and make you stronger, more flexible and leaner.  On days when I’m feeling good she really kicks my butt, albeit in a healthy Gyro kind of way.   More importantly, she has given me a sense of calm about the “bad” days when my MS symptoms are more troublesome because she still manages to find ways that I can move- and this can be really challenging on days when the majority of my body is acting up.  I so appreciate that she is never stumped and she is never afraid to gently push me.  She has given me a way to celebrate my physical accomplishments again, and she also seems really proud and excited when I make progress.  Last but not least, Ashley has a wonderful sense of humor and Gyro sessions with her are ridiculously fun.  I can’t recall a session where Ashley didn’t have me laughing!

What advice would you give to a “newbie” to Gyro?

Get in for regular sessions, and trust that Gyro will transform your body even though at first you may not get a lot of the crazy burning sensations that you might expect from other forms of exercise that are really hard on your body.  Pay attention to the unique, quiet and awesome sensations of Gyro, and your body will change and become more fit.  Challenge yourself to develop a new way of thinking about your body and what makes you are strong.  I have found a form of exercise that can forever provide me with a way to celebrate movement, be challenged and stay fit.  Gyro is the best thing I have ever done for my health – everyone should do Gyro!