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are out-shouting the wiser direction of the bodymind.


She asks, why not take a mindful approach and declare, “Running may be good for some people, but it just doesn’t feel right for me. So what else can I try?” Remember that mind-body movements will feel natural and honor who you are, Lee says, not what someone thinks you should be.


Although an enlightened perspec- tive can transform any workout, some disciplines openly strive for mind-body synergy. Following are some of the most popular.


Classics long-established disciplines


• QIGONG (chee-GUNG), an aspect of traditional Chinese Medicine, trans- lates to indicate “energy cultivation” or “working with the life energy.” This an- cient system coordinates different breath- ing patterns with various body postures and motions to improve the body’s qi or life energy. Qigong can be used either to maintain health or as an intervention.


• MARTIAL ARTS, philosophically influ- enced by Zen Buddhism, comprise sev- eral Asian arts of combat or self-defense, such as aikido, karate, kung fu, judo and tae kwon do. Movements include kicks, throws, dodges, holds, somersaults and handsprings. These may be used offen- sively, defensively or simply to promote health.


• PILATES, a total-body conditioning program developed by Joseph Pilates, is best known for development of core, or trunk, muscles. Exercises emphasize breathing, form and posture and can be performed on a mat or specialized equipment called a Reformer.


• T’AI CHI has become popularized as “meditation in motion.” Originally a martial art based in Taoism, T’ai chi’s slow, deliberate, rhythmic stances and movements work to harmonize femi- nine yin and masculine yang. Chinese philosophy holds that these two funda- mental forces characterize everything in nature, including humans.


• YOGA is a blend of ancient Indian physical, mental and spiritual traditions founded on the Sanskrit word “yuj,” meaning “to unite or integrate.” Hatha yoga, the physical branch most acces- sible in the West, focuses on breath and movement by employing a series of poses or asanas ranging in style from vig- orous (like Iyengar, Bikram or Ashtanga) to gentle (such as Kripalu, Ananda or Kundalini).


Recent Hybrids classic combos


• AI CHI, a series of mind-body water exercises derived from T’ai chi, employs a combination of deep breathing and soft, flowing movements of the arms, legs and torso. Tranquility, rather than


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precision and rigidity, is the goal. A com- fortable water depth up to shoulder level decreases joint pressure and increases muscle elasticity.


• BUDOKON promotes integration of mind and movement through the use of martial arts, yoga and Zen meditation and emphasizes agility, control, speed, power, balance and flow. Although they are intertwined, the physical practice has two distinct themes: The Yogic Series and the Budo Series. The Budokon Yogic Series is heavily influenced by Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga. The Budokon Budo Series is composed of standing and ground techniques drawn primarily from Okinawan karate-do, gracie jiu-jitsu and Olympic-style tae kwon do. Zen medi- tation is the Budokon mind practice of choice and forms the foundation for the entire discipline.


• GYROTONIC (derived from words for “circle” and “stretch”) fuses elements of yoga, dance, swimming, T’ai chi and gymnastics. Practitioners perform a series of rhythmic, flowing movements on equipment called the Gyrotonic Expan- sion System. Gyrokinesis, or “yoga for dancers” as it was originally dubbed, is similar but performed on the floor with no special equipment. Both floor and machine workouts pair fluid exercises with specific breathing patterns and core work. Benefits include spinal and joint articulation, muscle tone, posture, bal- ance and agility.


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