Focusing the mind on the body is the starting point for all mindful practices. Many professionals engaged in mind-body training have observed the mental, and even spiritual, changes that emerge from prolonged practice of focusing on physical sensations.
New research involving the Pilates centering technique will be of particular interest to Pilates pros and other instructors who emphasize engaging core muscles while doing exercises that challenge arm and/or leg movements.
There is new evidence that heart health is important to brain health. People with both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of cognitive decline, according to a study of 516 participants by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“Pilates has changed,” says Nora St. John, MS, education program director for Balanced Body®.
Today, she explains, many Pilates teachers are well educated in biomechanics. “An understanding of both anatomy and the mind-body connection makes you a better teacher and certainly a better problem solver.
“In the best situation, Pilates is taught with the idea of, ‘Who is the client in front of me? What are his or her goals? How can I use this environment to help the client achieve those goals?’ I think this is a good contemporary view of Pilates.”
Many yoga teachers consider savasana—also known as corpse pose or relaxation pose—both the easiest and hardest of all postures. Why? On the one hand, the point of the pose is to relax deeply and fully in a supine position with arms and legs gently rolled out to the sides.
In the first study to tease out the effects of different components of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, researchers have identified yoga and sitting meditation as particularly beneficial practices for promoting health among older adults.
Mind-Body Bridging [MBB] is a mindfulness-based technique developed by Stanley H. Block, MD, to improve mindful awareness. Use of the technique is growing, particularly to help people with sleep disturbances.
If you’re working with clients with chronic neck pain, let them know that a consistent mat-based Pilates program may offer hope of pain relief and improved functionality. The incidence of chronic neck pain is on the rise, especially among older women. Currently, clinicians lack general consensus on what type of exercise program manages this condition most effectively.
Relaxation training, as part of an overall weight loss program, may be an important factor in helping people lose weight and keep it off, suggests a study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.05.005).
Researchers from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, in Boston, conducted a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive mind-body approach to weight loss. Twenty overweight and obese participants from an employee-based program took part in the 20-week intervention.
Tai chi offers short-term improvement of pain, physical function and stiffness for people with knee osteoarthritis, according to a research review published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2013; 21 , 396-406).
Scientists from University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany, reviewed five randomized, controlled trials with a total of 252 patients to assess the short- and long-term effectiveness of tai chi for people with this type of arthritis.