Billy Macagnone is the CEO of Body Evolutions Studio NYC established in 2001. He has been drawn to physicality and motion since he was a child. He enrolled in his first karate class at age eleven. Martial arts can be beneficial to children around that age. Karate is a lovely mix of body and mind. There are certainly physical aspects of the sport necessary for success: strength, coordination and balance. However, the mental aspects are equally, if not more, important: discipline, concentration, listening and respect. The two spheres, the mind and the body, connect while practicing a martial art in a way that is very constructive for children. Billy Macagnone was fortunate enough to absorb all the right messages while practicing karate as a child and, looking back, that first class he took was hugely influential in his life.
As Billy entered high school he moved away from karate to focus on music. In his early twenties, Billy rediscovered his love of the martial arts. With renewed focus, Billy began training heavily. For many years Billy has studied Seido karate, which focuses not only on the physical aspects but also the mental. Respect, Love and Obedience are the tenants of Seido karate. Again, we can see how body and mind are working harmoniously. The goal of Seido is to create balanced, complete individuals – a state only achieved through the oneness of body and mind.
He was competing in local tournaments and earning his stripes, quite literally. Today, Billy is a sixth degree black belt, earning him the title of Jun Shihan. Billy has been training at the World Seido Karate Organization in New York City for 30 years and contributed as an assistant instructor for many years. Billy has competed in many tournaments and in 1997 he was awarded the Sogo award for overall achievement. He won for excellence in all divisions: kata, fighting and breaking.
Billy describes the Seido experience as on par with the “magnifying glass theory.” His view of Seido karate was quoted in The Villager: “he writes that the focus of a magnifying glass held in sunlight yields fire, and in the same way the intense state of being focused while doing karate yields many ‘benefits, physically, energetically, emotionally and spiritually,’” Judith Stiles wrote in an 2008 article.
As Billy Macagnone was growing as a martial artist, he was discovering the physical demands of the sport. After training, instructing and competing at such a high level for some time, Billy’s body had begun to wear down. He was constantly battling injuries and developing new ones. Billy needed a way to heal himself without sacrificing the physical fitness, strength, and flexibility that had become so crucial to his way of life. In 2000, Billy discovered his solution to the problem – Yoga.
Billy underwent intense Yoga training during a 6-week, deeply spiritual retreat to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Center. There, Billy learned about how constructive and restorative Yoga can be. Again, the connection of mind and body is central to the effort. The time spent at the Yoga retreat left Billy with a distinct and moving sense of awakening. Billy was resigned to sharing the beauty and restorative power of Yoga with others. He became a certified instructor and began spreading the practice.
Through experimenting with Yoga, Billy discovered GYROTONIC® exercise systems, and his love of motion and physicality finally had its permanent outlet. Billy now owns and operates the largest GYROTONIC® studio in Manhattan, Body Evolutions. The transition from Yoga to GYROTONIC® was a smooth one, because many of the underpinnings are the same. GYROTONIC® is often described as “Yoga for dancers.” In Billy’s case, it’s Yoga for martial artists.
The journey that started with Billy Macagnone taking that karate class at 11 years old has led him to be one of the most recognized and respected figures in the world of GYROTONIC®. Billy learned that you need to chase your bliss if you want to be happy for life.
Explore this website for more information about Billy, Body Evolutions, and GYROTONIC®.