10 Times to Take a Mind-Body Movement - dummies

10 Times to Take a Mind-Body Movement

By Therese Iknoian

You can find a mind-body moment any old time during the day, not just during the specific exercise slot you doodle onto your calendar. Mind-body exercise feels good, and helps you become healthier. Plus, you can draw on the benefits in some small yet glorious fashion many times during the day.

Okay, okay, you won’t get sculpted biceps or lose 10 pounds from these smaller fitness tidbits. But you can gain a little more peace of mind, lose a little stress, or simply prepare yourself better for your sweaty workouts later. Darn solid reasons to meddle in mind-body moments.

What the heck is a mind-body moment? For many, it means a snippet of seconds any of those umpteen times during a day when you can start to feel your blood pressure inch upward like the mercury in a thermometer on a hot day.

In other words, a mind-body moment is any time you need a personal time-out, when you can check in with your body, re-center yourself, and take on what’s been thrown at you in a calmer manner.

Take a look at these suggestions for times to practice your own mind-body moment. You can, of course, apply any of the techniques in the book for alignment, centering, breathing, abdominal tightening, balance, or slow knee bends a la Tai Chi that suit your fancy.

Before bed

What better time to breathe and center yourself than when you’re trying to relax after your day and go to sleep? If you have a family and you find it -difficult to take five minutes for yourself without interruption, you can always retreat to the bathroom; lock the door, and say, “I’ll be out in a minute!” Then try to tap into the quiet place in your mind.

While you wait in line

In line, on a line, in a queue . . . whatever you call that art of waiting patiently that has become a rather unavoidable part of everyday modern life. You have a couple of choices.

Go wherever you’re going when there’s no line (that’s a pretty good choice, but not always possible), stand there and get aggravated while mumbling nasty things about someone’s brain capacity (not really productive), or (here it comes) practice your mind-body moment. It’s a perfect time to take a Feldenkrais-ian awareness check, or get into a modified Yoga Tree posture for balance.

In the shower

Maybe this sounds odd, but isn’t the shower sometimes the only place you can get some peace and quiet? So who’s going to be the wiser that you’re actually working on your Yoga Mountain Pose or Tai Chi Bow Stance as you splash water around behind the curtain or door?

After a fight

Admit it; sometimes you have disagreements in your life with your spouse, roommate, parents, siblings, colleagues, or teachers that leave you storming and fuming. This is the perfect time to breathe deeply and find your mind-body connection with some standing meditation. What you wanna bet that the reason for the disagreement will become a lot less important than you thought it was?

When you wake up

Maybe morning isn’t necessarily your preferred time of day for exercise. But think about it: A mind-body moment can help you pull yourself together before you thunder out to meet the day and its demands. That morning moment could be a couple of Yoga spinal twists, Feldenkrais awareness moves, Pilates Ab Preps, or mind-body pelvic placement drills while you’re still on your back in bed.

Or it could be a little standing work while you’re brushing your teeth or while you’re waiting for water to boil.

When you warm up before exercise

The word “warm-up” is used loosely here because warming up your mind doesn’t really mean sweating and stuff. But you still need to bring your mind to the moment and focus, even if your workout for the day is high-intensity aerobics or a long run or walk.

When you cool down after exercise

Well, heck, why not? If it can be enmeshed into your warm-up, it can be a part of the finish, too. Slow down; use your muscles in a different way. You may feel more whole from it. Qigong walking or a slow Tai Chi Chuan form may be the perfect, grounding finish.

Before you pick a fight

You’re mad and you ain’t gonna take it anymore. You feel like bulleting into the office/room/home (choose one or add your own) of your boss/kids/spouse/parents (choose one or add your own) and giving him/her/them (choose one) a piece of your mind. Or do you?

Maybe a short moment to gather yourself can put it all into perspective, change your outlook, and so change your presentation style. Try standing tall and breathing fully and consciously.

When you are on a deadline

Isn’t this just the time when you feel as if you have no time — not to eat, not to sleep, not to exercise, not to . . . hold on. You gotta have a couple of minutes for you. And if you spend a few minutes (maybe two to five) you’ll feel better, be mentally and physically refreshed, and be raring to go. You’ll probably be more productive, too.

If you’re in an office, that may mean just pushing back your chair, folding your arms in your lap and trying a few body awareness lessons.

While you walk through a store

Who says a walk has to be a non-mindful affair? Next time, as you make your way to the banana bin or the home appliance aisle, do it mindfully. Stop -holding your breath as you hurry past people, and stop tapping your toes when someone blocks the entire escalator and you can’t dash by

Use the moments you have many times throughout your day mindfully, and your mental and physical being can benefit even more from your entire -exercise regimen.