Mind and Body
Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Pilates are all forms of mind body exercise. These various forms of exercise have become popular and effective with the healthy, clinical, and athletic populations because of the numerous health and fitness benefits associated with a regular practice. Yoga for example, involves the practice of physical postures in conjunction with awareness of the breath to help develop mental focus and to connect the mind, body, and spirit. These forms of exercise enhance strength, flexibility, and balance and may offer light to moderate aerobic conditioning as well. Other benefits may be gained from incorporating breath work (pranayama) and meditation as a part of Hatha Yoga. These practices have been shown to provide beneficial effects in numerous health conditions including, but not limited to, cancer, heart disease, asthma, infertility, pregnancy, insomnia, arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic back pain.
For many fitness enthusiasts, it is the physical discipline and opportunity to improve fitness that attracts them to mind and body exercise, but continued practice may lead them to the realization that there is much more to be gained. Mind and body exercise may be used by anyone as a way to increase fitness, improve health, attain or restore greater balance and flexibility, connectedness of mind-body-spirit, and develop mental focus and discipline. With the help of a skilled teacher, these exercise forms may open the door to attaining additional health benefits and enhance stress management.
Many of my clients who have experienced a loss of flexibility, either because of age or related injury, have benefitted from Restorative Yoga. Those clients who are seated at a desk or dealing with the stresses imposed by their careers (i.e. Certified Public Accountants, Surgeons, and Lawyers) have all benefitted from the relaxation breathing of Yoga and the core strengthening of Pilates.