Achieving A Mind-Body Connection
You may have heard the phrase ‘mind-body connection’ quite often lately and there’s a good reason for that: while physical health is very important, you mustn’t forget your mental well-being as well. As the weather warms and the days become longer, it’s the perfect time to get outside and try something new. We’ve taken a look at three different forms of exercise to have you finding your inner zen and connecting with your body at the same time.
The sheer sound of the word ‘yoga’ may conjure images of flexible people contorting their bodies into all sorts of tricky poses, but fear not: yoga takes many forms, including gentle variations which have just as many benefits. Yoga is low-impact and can help maintain muscle softness and flexibility, strength muscles and joints, keep the mind alert and awake, as well as encouraging relaxation.
Practicing yoga 2-3 times a week can have a number of benefits, such as:
- Improve balance and stability
- Increase joint mobility and strength
- Improve cardiovascular health and digestion
- Lower blood pressure
- Help lower stress and improve sleep
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese healing art that helps promote the flow of energy throughout the body. The mind-body connection is very important in Tai Chi as the aim is to create a healthy balance and improve overall health. It is commonly referred to as ‘moving meditation’ because it is comprised of a series of slow, relaxed movements. Tai Chi will not put strain on your muscles and will help encourage proper posture while forcing you to concentrate and breathe deeply.
In as little as 20 minutes a day of Tai Chi, you could see benefits such as:
- Relieves pain in bones, muscles and joints by strengthening muscles
- Eases arthritis discomfort, especially in the knees
- Improves lung function, respiration and oxygen flow
- Lowers blood pressure, stress and anxiety
- Improves balance and strengthens lower body
The fine art of meditation is something that can be quite tricky for most people. The goal of meditation is to achieve a state of complete awareness where the mind is cleared and tension is released from the body through deep breathing and relaxation techniques. It can be difficult to prevent your mind from wandering, however that is part of the learning curve on the journey to the benefits from meditation. There are many different techniques so it is a matter of finding what works for you best.
Studies have been conducted into the health benefits that meditation can do for your mind and body well-being. They include:
- Improved memory – both short and long term
- Improves circulation and blood flow
- Assist the digestive system
- Improves sleep
- Help manage stress and focuses the mind
Where to start
There are a few options for your new journey toward a better mind-body connection:
- Contact a local studio and enquire about their timetable
- Speak with your community centre about classes
- Use a mediation App on your smartphone or device that will talk you through the process
- Ask your friends if they go to a class and join them!
Things to keep in mind
- Before taking up any new exercise program, you should speak to your doctor or a medical profession first.
- It’s best to get the help from the professionals when first embarking on a yoga or Tai Chi class rather than an online tutorial to ensure you are doing it correctly and safely.
- Yoga and Tai Chi moves should not hurt: if you experience pain, speak with the teacher.