Exercise is one of our basic needs to maintain good health and a younger look. Together with a sound and clear mind will ensure a happier lifestyle with fewer diseases. In this post I will share 3 popular practices for body mind balancing and longevity.
In the East, Mind Body welfare is addressed as one, whilst in the West, the body was always treated as separate being. Luckily today this is changing and science is more likely to recognise the benefits of caring for the mind and body in the same way as a holistic ONE.
If you are the kind of person who, like me, does NOT fancy going to workout at a gym, or prefer a lower impact exercise, then here are three practices you will love for body mind balancing and longevity.
3 Body Techniques That You May Want To Know About
Below I will describe the methods and benefits of YOGA, PILATES & TAO YIN.
Pilates focuses on physical exercise whilst Yoga and Tao Yin are more of a holistic method that unites body and mind.
Pilates is more dynamic, yet in Yoga and Tao Yin, frequent pauses for relaxation and breathing are common and of utmost importance during the session.
The core area targeted during Pilates or Tao Yin is the lumbar-pelvic region. It is believed that once this area (also referred to as our second brain in Chinese medicine) is strengthened then you achieve a far better digestive and elimination system and will feel more energetic.
During a session each exercise or set of exercises aim at one area of the body or an organ at a time and there is no or little sweating involved.
YOGA And Its Benefits
In ancient times people lived more in harmony and in contact with nature. In Indian Ayurveda it is believed that we need the 5 natural elements to be able to live;
- water to drink,
- fire to keep warm (heat of the sun),
- earth is our home and provides the food we consume,
- space is to move around and the
- air to breathe.
Yogis believe and tell that man starts getting diseases when he loses connection to earth and nature.
In the East Yoga is considered a discipline and also a lifestyle whereby practitioners, yogis and the people in general practice yoga to clear the mind and aspire for higher conscious levels, especially through meditation.
Yoga is a process to unite body and mind. In the West it is normal to practice Hatha Yoga, which covers only the physical aspect of Yoga. This gives you the flexibility that your body requires to let the energy flow and balance your system.
ASANAS, that are different postures mainly imitating those of animals, are practised during Yoga to obtain good health. The postures are usually comfortable and you will achieve stability by repetition. There is no need to force yourself into a difficult position. You stretch as far as you can, or you can use yoga accessories. By time you improve your elasticity and will be able to reach out further.
In fact when your body starts responding to postures and becomes more flexible, it is easy and enjoyable.
Breathing techniques included in the yoga method, called Pranayam, help to purify the mind and revitalise energies.
Some yoga classes also incorporate a few minutes of meditation to calm the mind.
Here are a couple of yoga postures.
Yoga helps in;
- clearing the mind
- body relaxation
- developing flexibility
- better breathing
- elongation of muscles
PILATES And Its Benefits
A cool video about the history of Pilates
PILATES was created by Joseph Pilates who was constantly ill during his childhood, and he was determined to find a solution to resolve and improve his health. Pilates was convinced that with the help of the human brain you can invigorate the body to heal itself without using any drugs.
He was inspired by various other techniques and sports and he came up with his own exercises to establish PIlates.
With the invention of PIlates method Joseph Pilates has helped his companions to recover during the war.
In the past this technique was more famous with the Elite, dancers and athletes. Today, Pilates is well-known and practiced worldwide.
Pilates will help to strengthen the lumbar area considered as the core in our body, and with frequent practice you maintain a healthy body and mind.
Pilates is ideal for everybody and can be practiced on a mat on the floor or using props like the Pilates ball, latex band, foam roller or blocks or even machinery.
Pilates helps in;
- better posture
- joints and muscle flexibility
- muscle strength
- aids with back pain
- gives stability and balancing
TAO YIN And Its Benefits
Only recently I have discovered Tao Yin, after attending a weekend long workshop. I had been to classes of Qiqong and Tai Chi before but had never heard of Tao Yin. A friend who goes to classes and is quite impressed with the results convinced me to join.
Tao Yin, Qiqong and Tai Chi is all coming from Taoism. These three practices complement each other but they are usually taught separately.
In a session of Tao Yin you visualise and guide your energy through concentration and awareness, and you are trying to balance the YIN and YANG forces in your body. These forces are the opposite of each other, however they cohabit, and the power to find the balance is within you.
The main exercises are carried out on the floor, either lying on your back or sitting down.
When lying down on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet flat to the ground. Root the lumbar area to the floor just like a tree earthed to the ground through its roots. Then to rocking like movements with the pelvis until you feel that the lumbar area has settled on the ground.
When you breathe in you are meant to relax (YIN), and when you breathe out it is when the active movement takes place (YANG). The force you apply can be subtle or strong as you may want, or depending on your current emotions.
The exercise strengthens the tendons and the muscles.
The postures are easy and are to be enjoyed. In the end the concept of Tao Yin is ´less is more´, and to achieve the maximum by doing less.
Tao Yin helps in;
- tendon strength and flexibility
- easeness to relax
- better posture
- Yin & Yang balancing
- strengthen the core lumbar area
- emotional balance
- muscle strength
Here is a book about Tao Yin by the Great Taoist Master Mantak Chia.
Prevention And Wellness
The three above techniques, namely Yoga, Pilates and Tao Yin are practical activities to integrate in your daily or weekly routine. You can go for classes 2-3 times a week or if you are disciplined enough, you can do a 5-10 minute habitual daily exercise on your own. All three methods offer contemporary preventive and well-being approach.
Have you any experience with any of the above methods, and what would be your preference? I´d love to hear your views.
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