Get the mind -body connection!

Students flock to yoga classes, but many teachers are concerned they may be missing the important mind-body benefits of the age-old practice.
 
“There are several disciplines of yoga, and with its rich history, the beginner can easily get lost – or worse – injured,” says Mary Jo Ricketson, an experienced yoga practitioner, health care specialist, and author of Moving Meditation: Experience the Good Within (www.thegoodwithin.com). A registered nurse, Mary Jo also holds a Master’s degree in Education from Northwestern University.
 
Here are few of Mary Jo’s tips for getting more from your workout:
 
1. Cardiovascular (aerobic) training: As with meditation, focused breathing is a cornerstone of mind-body training. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and aerobic movement increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, including the brain. Cardiovascular training is the single most important aspect of the physical training because it keeps the heart open and strong.
2. Core and strength training: This includes the students’ abdomen and buttocks, and the lower back region, which extends to the base of the skull. Here is where strength, stability, and balance originate.
3. Flexibility training (yoga postures): Stretching simply feels good, and it reminds students to become more flexible in one’s body, but also one’s mind. This step allows us to move (and live) with greater ease.
4. Adequate rest: Sleep is a necessary part of life, and sufficient rest is needed for energy and equilibrium.
5. Life-giving nutrition: Making the right choices in food allows yoga students to achieve an optimal, balanced state. This includes nutritional foods consumed in moderation.
6. Family/community/church: From Epicurus to modern science, study and observation show that we find greater happiness with access to friends and family.
7. Written goals and a plan of action: Goals and stated intention act as a road map to achieving balanced well-being.
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