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3 Classifications of Mind-Body Methods

You can find hundreds and thousands of mind-body methods and concepts to help you balance body and mind, or to increase your inner awareness and energy flow. Some methods are new; some are older. Some are a combination of several methods all mixed together, and some focus on improving how you do other activities, from everyday stuff like carrying a box to sports performance.

  • Early Classics: Some of these very early and well-respected mind-body methods are depicted on stone carvings or in ancient texts and date back centuries. Some have been handed down from family to family, or generation to generation, being taught and passed on by master teachers and their apprentices.

    They include, for example, the Eastern methods (Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, and Qigong) and some ethnic dance forms (such as Afro-Haitian dance or Capoiera).

  • Modern Classics: These forms date back 50–100 years or so. They tend to be very analytical, and so may help you do other things better, including other mind-body methods, because of their emphasis on focusing and becoming aware of very specific muscular movements. The concepts are often used by today’s generation as it comes up with other contemporary methods.

    Modern Classics include Pilates, as well as Feldenkrais, Alexander, and Laban.

  • New Kids: These mostly composite and contemporary mind-body forms draw from Early and Modern classic methods. They also draw on free-form movements and dance. Some are just a few years old. Some date back just to the 1980s or 1990s.

    New ones spring up each year all over the world to help satisfy one person’s needs (who then sees the applications for others) or by a teacher to fill a need they see in his or her students’ fitness. They vary in their focus on mindful involvement, breath, and movement. New Kids include NIA, Chi Ball, and Body Rolling.

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