"There is neurobiological support for how and why mind-body therapies such as acupunture, meditation and mind-body exercise interact with important cognitive functions of the brain."
Research supported outcomes and benefits of Yoga & Tai Chi
Increased Cognitive performance
Improved well-being and psychological well-being
decreased stress hormones
decreased anxiety and depression scores
reduction in frequency of panic episodes
reduced symptoms of insomnia
reduced physiological and psychological responses to threat or stress
decreased symptoms associated with pain, angina, asthma and chronic fatigue
reduced atrial arrhythmias
To be fully engaged in achieving the results of a successful mind-body exercise, one must focus on the following:
Meditative/contemplative: living in the present and non-competitive or judgmental of oneself or others.
Body awareness: mental focus on muscle movement
Breathwork: Centered on breathing with efforts to inhale intention and exhale tension
Alignment and Form check: proper form increases alignment and overall well-being
Energycentric: focusing on ones internal (intrinsic) energy, which should be expressed positively
Types of Mind-Body Programs to Research and Try
Hatha Yoga (traditional yoga class), QiGong, & Tai Chi are the most popular and research has proven to be the most beneficial in assisting with cognitive behavior and attitudes.
As I've been studying to become a ACE Certified Personal Trainer, my studies have produced some interesting information that I wish to pass along. I have always viewed yoga as "weird" simply because I'm a go go go girl and meditating and feeling one with the earth and my body seemed like a waste of time. I tried it a few years ago and loved it. It was rewarding, energetic and relaxing all at the same time. I felt as if I could conquer anything.
I "practiced" yoga more when my husbands pornography addiction came to the surface as I was trying to stay mentally alert and ready to conquer my feelings of betrayal, lack of trust and all around numbness that this was my life. Yoga in my home brought me feelings of peace and connection, simply because I chose to CALM DOWN and breathe!
I do find myself regularly enjoying the grind of a "hard" workout filled with sweat, high endorphins and high heart rate, but I am grateful that I tried yoga to know where to go for that inner strength that can be found through taking an active day off.
Please allow me to share a small story of how I believe Yoga can be a benefit in your life. The actual practice of Yoga that most of won't experience unless we look deeply into it involves daily dietary, meditation and spiritual centering. My sister in laws sister in law is a well known yoga instructor. She tells me that she will get into a yoga pose in the middle of the conversation. Although she thought it was weird at first, she said that it shows how in tune she is with what her body needs and she can focus more on what you're saying when she does so.
Without knowing her too well, I know that she has cystic fibrosis and I believe she started this journey of learning the yogic lifestyle in pursuit of helping her feel at peace when her body was internally in turmoil. She has since been able to get off of her regular medications. Long story short, from my sister in law, it sounds like her health has benefited greatly from practicing yoga in her life.
Now I will share what I don't know but am fully assuming based off of my studies and how yoga has helped her physically. Her husband recently suffered from a tragic accident that left the front of his body with 2nd and 3rd degree burns injuring his face, trachea, esophagus and arm. Although this will be a physically and emotionally painful journey for the both of them, I believe with all my heart that God gave her the gift of Yoga years ago to help her in this very situation. She will be able to turn to Yoga in the repeated efforts to find peace and solace as the emotional pain will become overbearing at times. When someone fully lives the Yogic life, they are in tune with their Spirit and the God that gave it to them. From my sister in laws point of view, they will do great together on this journey of healing and recovery. Yoga can change lives. I know it will impact theirs better than she could have every imagined.
Regardless of your thoughts or past experiences revolving mind-body exercise, give it a try. Allow your brain to calm down for an hour to experience what it's like to let it all go. Even if you have to return to the chaos, you're more prepared to face the challenges. Your mind and body work together. Take care of your mind and your body will follow in it's pursuit of health.
Mentally stronger today; go try YOGA!