Mind-Body Teaching Tips for Personal Trainers

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Oct 24, 2008

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Personal trainers, are you looking for ways to integrate a mind-body-spirit approach into your training sessions? IDEA member and 2004 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year Lawrence Biscontini, MA, movement specialist, author and spa consultant, contributed the following suggestions in response to a prior Mind-Body-Spirit News column Question of the Month. Biscontini organized his tips to correspond with the acronym N-A-M-A-S-T-E.

N stands for nurturing the training of clients’ brain-body-breath connection. Nurturing often commences when the trainer just asks a client how he or she is feeling, not only in terms of the body (“How’s your energy level today?”), but also in terms of the brain and breath; for example, “How’s your concentration level today?” and “How’s your breathing been this week?”

A stands for aligning the body with mindful concentration (the brain) and breathing.

M stands for motivating clients to pursue integration of brain, body and breath. A mind-body personal trainer’s ultimate goal should be to plant the seeds of motivation so that clients pursue mind-body fitness and integration on their own.

A stands for appraising clients’ integration of brain, body and breath. Trainers may wish to keep files on clients’ feelings as well as their numerical measurements, tracking the feelings over time to observe emotional progress related to fitness level.

S stands for starting sessions. Think about beginning your personal training session with the salutation “Namasté,” thereby invoking hundreds of years of mindful greeting between teacher and student. Starting sessions with a mind-body approach also means asking clients how they feel in terms of their energy, emotions and breath.

T stands for transitioning. As personal trainers become more familiar with mind-body exercises, they can begin incorporating exercises from yoga or tai chi, using these as transitional moves between more traditional training exercises.

E stands for ending. Mind-body personal trainers should conclude sessions mindfully. Saying “Namasté,” adding guided meditation, ending a session with flexibility exercises in a pool, offering mindful reading material or brain-teaser handouts—-all serve as examples of how you can round out sessions by including a mind-body-spirit component.

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.