|Work Body and Mind
||[Mar. 27th, 2007|09:12 pm]
Embark Into The Unknown
If you want to try an activity that combines more than one type of exercise -- and is relaxing and refreshing to boot -- consider taking a class in yoga, Pilates or tai chi. These three disciplines have very different origins and techniques. But they all emphasize the mind-body connection and are relaxing ways to increase your flexibility, strength and balance.
This system of breathing and poses (postures) has been around for thousands of years. Yoga promotes flexibility, strength, endurance and balance. It can be as vigorous or as gentle as you choose, and people of all ages and abilities can practice its techniques for stretching and strengthening the body. Many of the yoga classes offered in the United States teach hatha yoga. This style combines gentle breathing exercises with slow stretches and movement through a series of postures known as asanas. Yoga classes are offered at many places, including yoga schools and centers, health clubs, community and senior centers, and churches.
This low-impact system of exercises originates from dance and ballet. Designed to strengthen your core muscles -- lower back, hips, abdomen and buttocks -- Pilates exercises also improve flexibility, strength and posture. In Pilates, you perform a set of controlled stretches and movements, focusing on each muscle group both physically and mentally. Although some Pilates exercises are done on machines, many programs offer floor-work classes. Classes by certified Pilates instructors are offered at health clubs and community centers.
This ancient form of martial arts involves gentle, circular movements combined with deep breathing. The poses are performed slowly and gracefully, with smooth transitions between them. Tai chi helps strengthen muscles, improve flexibility and reduce stress. It also helps you maintain and improve your balance. Classes with qualified instructors are found at martial arts schools, health clubs and community centers.