Its February already and we’ve all had an opportunity to start our exercise and fitness programs for the year. Whether you’ve joined a local gym, started jogging, or enrolled in a group fitness class of some sort, you are well on your way to treating your body to a more healthy lifestyle. You will tone your muscles, lose a bit of weight and increase your stamina. But wait a minute! Haven’t you forgotten something?
Very often we get so focused on our bodies that we forget about an equally important part of our being; our minds. After all, what is it that controls all aspects of our perceptions, our reasoning and our thinking, both conscious and unconscious? That’s right, our minds! So why do we often neglect mind exercises?
There may be a general stigma attached to the form of exercise we often hear referred to as mind/body. Some people may see it as too slow, too relaxed or it’s not enough exercise and it doesn’t burn enough calories. While it certainly may be true that mind/body exercises like tai chi are slower forms of movement, they can still provide a rigorous form of exercise. Tai chi not only stretches and tones the body and improves posture and balance, it also stimulates and exercises the mind. Movements are performed slowly to raise body awareness, increase mental focus and stimulate the flow of internal energy. All of which can help us with our daily routines, our athletic pursuits, our work or our family life.
For many people, strenuous exercise, whether lifting weights, running or playing tennis, is the only form of fitness they accept in order to build body strength or aerobic capacity. It clearly then, becomes all about the body with little thought to stimulating the mind and actually listening to our bodies. For many of us, now may be a good time to slow down and tell our bodies, ‘if you don’t mind, let’s try mind/body.’
Read about more benefits to practicing tai chi as explained in a previous article ‘Health benefits from practicing tai chi.’