Flexibility, balance, strength and endurance are common components of a yoga class. The poses alone provide an excellent workout, but if you’re ready for something different, consider adding stability balls to your practice. This is a fun way to recruit core musculature, incorporate more balance work, and increase range of motion.
Yoga on the Ball Details
GOAL/EMPHASIS: a basic yoga practice incorporating the stability ball TIME: 45–60 minutes (can be shorter or longer depending on how many reps you do or how long you hold poses)
Mindful eating practices may help clients with a variety of health conditions to improve their nutrition habits. For people with type 2 diabetes, training in mindful eating was as effective in managing weight and blood sugar levels as conventional diabetes self-management education, reported a pilot study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2012; 112 , 1835–42; doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.036).
Growing research evidence supports the theory that tai chi provides not only physical benefits but also mental benefits. In a review of tai chi studies conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson, study authors found 10 studies that reported improvements in executive function, language, learning and/or memory among older adults who practiced tai chi regularly.
More trainers are integrating life coaching with fitness training to improve clients’ results. Given the increasing popularity of life coaching, investigators from Lillebaelt Hospital and from IRS University of Southern Denmark in Kabbeltoft decided to evaluate its effectiveness in improv- ing health.
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,” posited Joseph Pilates in his book Return to Life Through Contrology, first published in 1945. A recent observational study of Pilates practitioners provides support for his position.
Even in childhood I had a philosophical bent. I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table with my twin brother and discussing with him why the dog could eat hamburger and it became “dog,” whereas we could eat hamburger and it became “us.” An interesting question for a couple of 9-year-olds to pursue. Sadly, we never figured it out.
By my early 20s I had taken up the study of yoga, and my worrisome won- dering about the big questions of mean- ing and purpose in life was becoming more refined. Now I really wanted to “understand” what life was all about.
Good news to share with clients who worry that if they don’t practice yoga daily, they won’t get results: Attending yoga class just once a week can provide positive, measurable help for people with low-back pain.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/658030) reported that weekly yoga classes were as effective as twice-weekly classes for relieving low-back pain in low-income minority participants.
Most of us know that helping others has its rewards, but now scientists have been able to measure the cellular effect of altruism, and results confirm that contributing to others may do more for your health than simply satisfying your own needs. The study appeared in PNAS (2013; 110 , 13684–89).