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Mind-Body Teaching Tips for Personal Trainers

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—offers the following suggestions, organized 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 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 record 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 “Namast├®,” thereby invoking hundreds of years of mindful greetings 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 “Namast├®,” 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.

For more mind-body articles, see the growing collection of mind-body topics on our website or—for even more choices—visit www.ideafit.com and use the search function.

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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