Why tai chi?
These Chinese movement patterns have been around for centuries. In recent years, study after study has proven the benefits of tai chi—particularly for older exercisers—yet most fitness professionals seem to know little about it.
That’s too bad, because just about any fitness client can learn tai chi, and any fitness professional can teach it. Like other types of exercise, tai chi simply requires you to learn its movements and experience its benefits.
Yoga injuries in the United States are on the rise, particularly among older adults, according to data from hospital emergency rooms nationwide. Researchers from the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), Alabama, examined data from 2001 to 2014 to establish the injury risk involved in yoga participation.
Are you in menopause? Chances are that you sometimes feel that you are not in control of your body! If you are seeking ways to cope with unpleasant menopausal symptoms, you may want to try yoga and other mind-body practices.
Shirley Archer, JD, MA, 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, an award-winning author and IDEA’s mind-body spokesperson, explains the research and application of mind-body exercise on menopause.
Irritability and Mood Swings
Some 80 million Americans were expected to try yoga last year, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study (Yoga Journal & Yoga Alliance 2016). Couple this statistic with the continuing effort to entice baby boomers with new and effective movement class designs, and you get a sense of the opportunity yoga provides for dedicated teachers with skill and creativity.
While some people with lower-back pain may doubt whether movement is the answer, new treatment guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommend nondrug therapies as the first line of treatment to relieve acute, subacute and chronic lower-back pain.
Adding to the growing evidence of yoga’s health benefits, preliminary findings from a recent study show that consistent yoga practice may help to reduce blood pressure among people with prehypertension.
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us when we live.
Sooner or later, most of us will lose someone we care about. The pain this causes can be overwhelming, and we may feel that nothing will ever be normal again. Losing someone we love is a highly personal experience, and no two people cope in the same way or progress within the same time frame. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Sun salutations integrate strength, endurance, flexibility, controlled breathing and mindfulness. This cycle of postures is traditionally used in many yoga classes to warm up the body, as the sequence addresses all major joints and muscle groups while increasing blood flow and circulation. However, it also helps to release stress on the spine and promote relaxation, a perfect combination for a cool–down!
People with glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in America, may require specific modifications when practicing yoga. As many as 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of them know they have it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
The market for services such as yoga therapy, meditation and other mind-body methods of complementary care, as well as complementary health products, continues to grow, according to survey data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Complementary approaches like yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy and relaxation techniques can help some people manage chronic pain, says a research review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2016; 91 , 1292–1306). In the United States, chronic pain affects 126 million adults in any given year, with as many as 40 million of them suffering from severe pain. Leading disorders include back pain, joint pain, neck pain and headaches.
"Joanne," aged 51, presents with hot flashes and vaginal atrophy. She feels depressed, anxious, irritable, fatigued and not as confident in herself as she once was. Somehow she feels out of control. Her body is behaving unpredictably: She doesn't know when her next hot flash is coming or how to control the fat that is shifting up toward her waist.
"Sandra" is only 37 years old and has experienced menopause prematurely. She has not yet had children. She is having severe physical and emotional adjustment problems, including extreme mood swings.
Do you live by a certain code of conduct? How do you make decisions? When yoga expert Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, was in her early 20s, she found herself asking questions like these and wondering what principles to use to direct her actions.
Lasater's search led her to the five yamas of Patañjali, explained in his Yoga Sutra. The yamas may also help you. Here Lasater, founder of Yoga Journal magazine and a yoga teacher since 1971, defines the yamas and explains each of them.
What Are Yamas?
After working with an older adult (aged 82–92) for 10 years, I was troubled to discover that she had begun having difficulty getting out of the waiting room chair before embarking on our weekly Pilates session. What was I missing? She had faithfully completed Reformer Footwork, Eve’s Lunge and Side Splits, as well as Standing Leg Pumps on the Wunda chair, each week. Why was she continuing to lose leg strength?
Building Bone: Concepts and Controversies
The positive role that resistance training can play in building and maintaining bone and muscle tissue is well established. But how do other types of exercise affect bone? Recent research findings are sobering.
Walking does not build bone. Shocked? Doesn’t everyone say, “I don’t understand how I got osteoporosis. I walk. . . .” Most studies show that walking either doesn’t affect bone or may at best prevent bone loss (Martyn-St. James & Carroll 2008).
In our high-stress, hurried world—filled with financial pressures, information overload, “terror alerts” and sleeplessness—many people feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. Add to this emotional tension the physical stress of sedentary lifestyles with long hours spent hunched over computers and, all too often, the result is a serious pain in the neck.
When Tanya Colucci, MS, trains clients, she pulls from many different resources to offer the best results possible. Owner of Tanya Colucci Myofascial Release Therapy in Bluffton, South Carolina, Colucci believes in an integrative mind-body approach, which appears to resonate with many people. Case in point: client Aileen Worthington, age 71, who has osteoporosis.
When leading client sessions, do you find that you have difficulty maintaining focus on the task at hand? Learn how to break the habit of mind wandering to become a more mindful—and fulfilled—personal trainer.
In today’s complicated world, just listening to the evening news on television or radio can raise cortisol rates in the body. High stress levels, combined with current technological advancements, almost unending sensorial bombardment, and the ever-changing dietary habits of many developed countries, can deny the body time for repose and resynthesis.
For more guidance on the May 2015 Inner IDEA exercises, view this special IDEA Web Extra from author Lawrence Biscontini, MA.