What does that mean? In short, that means you ask your mind and your muscles to be present and accounted for and to stay intentionally connected to each other. Inward focus means you pay attention to what you are feeling in your muscles as well as your breathing. Through the focus comes the contemplative state attributed to mind-body practices. In addition, mind-body fitness is an outcome, while mind-body exercise is the process. Mind-body movement focuses on the present, not the future. There is no goal, just a continuing practice, which in most cases leads to overall wellness.
So, compared to traditional Western fitness routines where your goal may be to lose 10 pounds or drop three minutes from a 5-kilometer running time, mind-body fitness routines are about just being there and doing them. Build it and they will come. Do it and fitness will happen. This synergistic approach in health and exercise appeals to diverse people with different fitness levels and is appropriate in various life situations. The main aim is often to promote stress management and aid in the release of tension and discomfort caused by modern lifestyles.
To achieve the mind-body connection, various traditional as well as innovative new exercise programs have gained in popularity in recent times. Many of these programs are based on both modern fitness methods and traditional disciplines, and draw their inspiration from the following mind-body techniques and methods, scientific approaches and holistic healing therapies:
Tai Chi–This graceful form of exercise looks like karate in slow motion. The gentle choreography rotates the body in 95 percent of the ways it was intended to move. Best balancing exercise known, also lubricates joints so it’s great for seniors. Improves coordination, mental focus and flexibility so it’s great for athletes. Research shows it is also very beneficial for children.
Yoga–A series of physical poses aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit, and achieving a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe while increasing strength and flexibility.
Pilates–Conditioning method developed by Joseph Pilates. Combines Eastern and Western philosophies of physical and mental development, and aims to promote neuro-muscular harmony while focusing mainly on the core stabilizing muscles in the body.