What do we mean when we say we practice mindful exercise? What is a body-mind exercise anyway? Research has shown that when you imagine an experience, you often have similar mental and physical responses to those you have when the event actually happens. For example, if you recall an upsetting or frightening experience, you may feel your heart beating faster, you may begin to sweat, and your hands may become cold and clammy. If you recall a time when you were happy, grateful or calm, your body and mind tend to relax. The mind-body connection means that you can learn to use your thoughts to positively influence your body’s physical responses, thereby decreasing stress and increasing your ability to heal or recuperate.
At the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem, body-mind exercise offerings are integral in improving the lives of seniors all over the community. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are offered morning noon and night in a variety of locations. If you come to a class, you will learn that people all over the world practice these forms of body-mind exercise for their health benefits. These include improved posture, coordination, agility, strength and focus. They also aid in achieving relaxation, quieting the mind, enhanced body awareness and more energy for life. Students of these arts are encouraged to develop a personal practice of meditation to enhance their experience.
Learning a Tai Chi form is excellent memory training. It is a sequence of movements that may number from seven to ninety-seven. Forms have been designed with beginners in mind, and moves can always be modified to fit the ability of the student.
Qi gong concentrates on the fundamentals and gives the student a good foundation for Tai Chi. It is a good place for a beginning student to start. It can also be beneficial while seated. Deep breathing, guided visualization and movements of the head, shoulders, arms and torso do not require a standing posture. Additionally, chair yoga offerings, while varying in form from Tai Chi, offer similar results.
At the Shepherd’s Center many classes are offered free or at low cost. The first class is always free to make sure the class is suitable for the student. Ask the instructor if s/he thinks a particular class will work for you. For class listings, go to www.shepherdscenter.org or call 336-748-0217.