Latest "Mind-Body Health" Posts
10 Tips to Tune-In to What Your Body is Telling You by Improving Your Mind-Body Connection
It’s crazy all the ways we’ve conditioned our bodies to over-ride our mind-body connection. Too many people these days don’t listen to what their body is telling them and act accordingly. Sadly, we’ve been told that we need to “push thru the pain,” or “go for the burn” to get benefits from exercise. When we’re tired, we reach for a high-caffeinated beverage or sugar-filled snack to boost our energy instead of catching a quick cat-nap or planning to get to bed earlier for a better nights rest. Who do you know that has to start their day with coffee, and end it with a sleeping pill? It’s not normal that this is what we need to function! And food… our portion sizes are out of control and the fast-food, pre-packaged, processed foods being consumed are too high calorie and low nutrient to give us the fuel we need for a healthy body. We’re starving for nutrients and eating more and more “empty calories,” and the population as a whole is getting fatter, sicker, and dying at a much younger age.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! Making a change to tune in to what your body is telling you starts with YOU. Honor yourself. Be brave. Learn to listen to that small, inner voice inside you. Improve supportive conversations with yourself. Trust that what you feel, or sense that your body needs, IS what it needs – and provide it without doubt or question.
To really live in a healthy body we can’t zone out, but instead need to zero-in on DOING what supports our health. Improving our mind-body connection is the first step in actually noticing what we’re doing good, bad, or otherwise.
Years ago I had a Pilates client Dr. Dave, (not his real name) who would show up for his weekly private sessions like it was the movie Groundhog Day. We had been working diligently together for a long time, but every session he was clueless about what to do, how to support himself and find the right muscles, or even what the exercises were that he had been doing over and over again in his weekly workouts. I like to think I’m very patient with my clients. It’s ok if you don’t “get it” right away; I’m going to hang in there with you and support the process of learning new skills and figuring out what you need to improve your health. But one day with Dr. Dave I lost it and blurted out, “You realize that Pilates is about developing the mind-body connection? Ultimately, that means you should be able to remember what you’re doing, know your exercises by name, the breath patterns, repetitions, equipment set-up, and be able to make corrections to your technique when you notice that it could be improved. All without me telling you what you need to fix, right?”
And at that moment the sea parted…and we both had a revelation. His reply to me, “I’ve always exercised to tune-out, and get away from having to think.” And believe me, his form and body mechanics clearly demonstrated this fact! But Dr. Dave now clearly grasped the importance of needing to pay attention to what he was doing to really improve his health during exercise and not get hurt. He “got” how important developing the mind-body connection was. AS a result, our training sessions shifted from a Groundhog Day experience, to really making strides for improving his mind-body connection and progressing his exercise program. In my mind, it was a miracle! For him it was life-changing because he finally started getting real benefits from his exercise program.
- Sometimes we’re just not aware of what we’re doing, and having a helpful mentor or teacher help point things out to raise our conscious awareness level can make the difference.
- Sometimes we are aware, and make the choice to ignore, over-riding what might have been the best choice for our body.
- And sometimes “baggage” from past traumas can be in the way, blocking our ability to tune in.
I had another client, Becky, (not her real name, either) who was a sweetheart. But as much as we worked on developing her core support, she could never “feel” that she was using her abdominal muscles. I’d have my hand on her belly, telling her “that’s great, your abs are working.” But Becky just couldn’t seem to make the connection to feel what was going on. Then one day, as she was lying on the Cadillac, she paused and said, “If it seems like I’m a little distracted…I’m still working on integrating my multiple personalities.” And then she proceeded to tell me a very small part of her story. Learning what she’d gone thru and the coping mechanism she developed to survive, explained to me why it was such a challenge to “feel” anything in her center! Of course it was going to be a challenge, she had chosen to disassociate from her body, and that was her primary defense mechanism.
But you know what, she continued to show up for Pilates, and it was a great asset in her healing process. Together we worked on searching for her center, strengthening her center, and gaining confidence in feeling it support her.
There is a lot of power in improving your mind-body connection. Whether the trauma you’ve experienced was emotional or physical (car accident, sports injury, falling out of a tree as a kid), compensation patterns accumulate until we take conscious steps to change habits and shift both our thinking and our actions.
When I’m stressed, I like to eat! When I’m emotionally drained, stressed, and upset, I like to eat specific foods… (Chocolate: Oreo cookies, Little Debbies, Twix/Reeses. Cheese: Mac and Cheese, Cheese Curls, Cheese Curds, Cheesecake, Chips, French Fries and Cheese…). How do I know this? Because one day I went to the grocery store in a really bad mood, and the only things I put in my cart were “comfort foods.” As I was checking out, I realized what I had done. So I purchased everything anyway, took it home, ate a few bites – and ceremoniously threw everything in the trash. When I crave these foods, I now know that I have two choices: 1. Deal with the issue that is stressing me out, or 2. Avoid the issue and cram my guts with crap that will make me feel worse instead of better.
Are you aware of the habits you have that might not be serving your good health? How often do you tune-in to what your body is telling you, and harness the power of using your mind-body connection? It’s not always easy, but it is possible to develop your skill set in learning to listen to your body.
My first Pilates Mentor, Romana Kryzanowska, had a great phrase about this. It’s all about using the 5 Parts of the Mind. I believe this applies to exercise, eating, and everything we do in life!
Guided by Your WILL,
Fueled by Your IMAGINATION,
Assisted by Your MEMORY,
And Enhanced by Your ESP (or INTUITION)
These 5 Parts of the Mind are what we need to be using to develop our Mind-Body Connection!
Still Reading this and wondering, where the heck are my 10 Tips to Tune-In and Improve Your Mind-Body Connection? Here we go:
- Use your INTELLIGENCE – Your brain is the “master computer” to guide your every thought, movement, and action.
- Let your WILLPOWER guide you to make good choices. (Won’t-Power will never get you results!)
- IMAGINE what it feels like or looks like to achieve successful results.
- REMEMBER what works and do it over and over to reinforce positive results.
- LISTEN to your Inner Voice – INTUITION is a powerful force.
- Be PRESENT – Be in the moment, and stay in your body to notice what it needs.
- HONOR yourself – You are Worthy.
- Be BRAVE – What you need is what you need. Stick Up for Yourself!
- It’s OK to Talk to Yourself! Improve supportive, loving, communication, and conversations.
- TRUST that what you feel or sense IS what you need – and provide it without doubt or question.
With Pilates, the goal is to make the last repetition of each exercise the best one possible; leaving your muscles with the memory of how to work well for optimal form and function. I’d like to encourage you to take this philosophy and apply it to your exercise program and your LIFE. Make today, and every day, better than the last by paying attention to what your body needs and improving your mind-body connection.
Help Yourself with this Hand Exercise
Embrace the power of healing hands. We all know how good a massage feels, and how important touch is to provide calming, healing energy. But did you know there is a simple way that you can work with your own hands to help heal yourself?
I’m always so amazed to learn and experience the benefits of the mind body connection. There are many, many different modalities and techniques out there. In India when they work with healing hands it’s thru Mudras. But this simple hand exercises to balance energy and emotions is from the ancient Japanese form of touch therapy called Jin Shin Jyutsu.
Improving balance between the mind and body means that we are in sync or in “flow” not only within ourselves, but in relation to the world around us.
Our emotions are intertwined with the health and well-being of our mind and body. This simple Jin Shin Jyutsu technique can be done anywhere. You can work on one specific area, or do a whole-body balance by working through all of the fingers on both hands.
Eastern philosophies connect Emotions, Organs, and Physical Symptoms, a shift or healing can help bring everything into balance. Use the chart below to help determine which finger(s) you should hold for this simple hand exercise to balance your energy and emotions.
How To Do this Simple Hand Exercise:
Hold the finger that’s connected to the emotion you want to calm, or the organ you want to heal for 3-5 minutes while breathing deeply.
||Worry, Depression, Anxiety
||Stomach Aches, Headaches
Skin Problems, Nervousness
||Fear, Mental Confusion, Frustration
||Digestive Problems, Wrist, Elbow, or Upper Arm Discomfort, Muscles and Back Aches, Teeth/Gum Issues, Addictions
||Anger, Irritability, Indecisiveness
||Liver, Gall Bladder
||Eye or Vision Problems, Fatigue, Migraines, Frontal Headaches, Menstrual Cramps, Circulation Problems
||Sadness, Fear of Rejection, Grief, Negativity
||Lung, Large Intestine
||Digestive Problems, Respiratory Issues, Ringing in Ears, Deep Skin Conditions
||Overdoing It, Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, Judgmental, Nervousness
||Heart, Small Intestine
||Bone or Nerve Problems, Heart Conditions, Blood Pressure, Sore Throat, Bloating
Learn how this simple technique has been used with Cancer patients in the article by Dyani Main and video you’ll find here.
Personally, I’m always looking for simple techniques to incorporate into my day for health improvement. This looks like a fabulous way to balance mind and body! Try it and let me know what you notice. Share what you discover by quietly breathing and holding your finger(s), or hands.
Give Yourself a HAND, and Have a Happy & Healthy Day!
Health and Success – Paying Attention and Making the Transition with the Green Horse Energy Shift
While I am not an expert in Chinese Astrology, I do find it interesting. And from my training and teaching Bigu Qigong and studying Yin-Yang and Five-Element Theory, I am always fascinated about the relationship between what I know as a Western American, and what I feel happening physically, mentally and emotionally in my body and my world relative to a Chinese Medicine or Astrology.
While officially the Chinese New Year starts on January 31, 2014, and the Year of the Horse begins on February 4th. I am already keenly aware that there is an energetic shift happening.
Since I felt the shift before I knew what “Astrological Year” we were transitioning into, it prompted me to do a Google search to learn more about what to expect in 2014.
Continue Reading ‘Welcoming In the Chinese New Year – 2014: The Year of the Horse
Do You Love Your Body? I have to admit, my answer for most of my life has been NO! I’ve been working on an attitude adjustment, and struggled with loving my body, body image, and self-esteem my whole life! I’m still working on it –being both an athlete, and professional in the health and fitness industry for my entire life you’d think this wouldn’t be an issue for me, but it is… and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
It makes me sad to know that I’m not the only one who needs to shift my mental state and embrace my body with an attitude of gratitude, and a little more love and affection. If you struggle with loving how you look, read on and I’ll share a little bit about my story and a few secrets I learned last week that are helping me shift my perspective and helping me move closer to truly loving my body…
Continue Reading ‘Do You Love Your Body?
There are many ways to increase energy. Food is too often the go-to substance for a pick-me-up, as food is a primary source of nutrients to provide energy to our cells. Meditation is a way to manage and focus our energy. Daily meditation helps calm our mind and our body to reduce stress and improve energy. And exercise, especially mind-body activities like Pilates, is a form of moving meditation. Not only does Pilates help deepening the connection between mind and body to reduce stress and improve focus, but by enhancing our strength, flexibility, and fitness we develop stamina. Ideally exercise should not wipe you out and leave you exhausted, but instead energize you so that after a long day at work, you have an abundance of energy to enjoy life, have fun, and play. Add to your reserve stockpile of energy, Do Pilates!
Ever wonder what stops you from making great choices to exercise and be fit for an active and healthy life? Is it lack of exercise, or lack mentality? Does your attitude ever get in the way wreaking havoc on how you “feel,” and blocking your motivation to get up and move?
Perhaps these simple mind-body health training tips can help you enjoy an active life with a sound mind and healthy body. Joseph H. Pilates believed that it is everyone’s birthright to enjoy good health! And this fact is true. But without effort everything falls to ruin. So how can you keep your Mind and Body in sync to stay healthy?
Continue Reading ‘Mind-Body Health: 7 Training Tips To Help You Enjoy An Active Life with a Sound Mind and a Healthy Body
Are you still out shopping and looking for great fitness gift ideas for the health enthusiasts in your life?
What could be better than wellness solutions for better mind-body health from your head to your toes.
These are perfect fitness gifts for Pilates students, Runners, Walkers, Athletes, Dancers, and regular everyday folks who are inspired to improve their health and fitness at home, at the gym, or on the road. Check out these easy to use, products, books, and resources from the whole-body health experts at Centerworks® and give the gift of good health for the Holidays!
Continue Reading ‘Merry Fitness! 10 Great Fitness Gift Ideas from Centerworks®
A Mind Shift to See Your Beautiful True Self
Awareness is such a cool thing! We all know the world is a little warped when it comes to looking at physical beauty. Our perception on beauty and perspective needs a serious mind shift.
Models in magazines are itty-bitty, making us regular-sized gals feel like the curves that we’ve got or the “meat on our bones” makes us ugly and gives us the perception that we’re “fat.” Or worse, that without breast implants, Botox, or other beautifying surgeries to change how we look, we’re not pretty.
Maybe we were teased growing up about our freckles, dimples, color of our hair, how our legs looked….
I can remember in Junior High having to scoot around in the lunchroom because one of the popular boys was always making comments about my butt!
What we see in ourselves and what others see in us is sometimes is quite different. I recently wrote an article about Features vs. Flaws. Take a moment and think about what you see when you look at yourself?
Continue Reading ‘Beauty and Perspective
Perspective: How We Look and Feel About Our Body – Men vs. Women
This cartoon came across my Facebook stream last week, and while it’s good for a laugh, it also gets right to the point. This man and women quickly demonstrate the differences between the male and female perspective when it comes to what we think and feel about our bodies. While this mind-body mindset to evaluate our features and flaws might not ring true for everybody. I suspect that for the majority this cartoon does a good job of showing where we stand if we took a physical self-appreciation survey.
Continue Reading ‘Features & Flaws: The Mind-Body Mindset
Do something HEALTHY today and show yourself and your sweetheart how much you love and care about staying connected – body, mind and spirit.
- Take a long walk before dinner.
- Eat a light dinner instead of a big meal.
(You’ll have more energy!”)
- Skip the chocolates and dessert and opt for a big helping of hugs & kisses.
Don’t have a special sweetie to share Valentine’s Day with? YOU are the most special person of ALL!
Show yourself lots of love today – eat healthy, get in a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing, muscle moving workout and pick something fun to do tonight that you LOVE and enjoy!
Show and Share the Love!
Have a Healthy, Heart-Centered, Happy Valentine’s Day!