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Movement for Mind+Body

While all forms of exercise have physical and mental benefits, many today are also seeking a ‘mindful approach’ to movement which starts as a philosophy, is practiced as a discipline and often leads to a lifestyle that works to achieve harmony between mind, body and spirit – both individually and in relationship with the world around us. The origins of many contemporary mind-body exercise programs we see today lie in the ancient Eastern disciplines of yoga and qigong. Yoga literally means “to yoke” or "union”, referring to the integration of mind, body, and spirit and Qigong translates as ‘life energy work’, describing a series of meditation, breathing and movement for health and vitality.

In addition to a full body workout, mindful movement usually includes all of the following characteristics/components:

1. Meditative/contemplative. A noncompetitive, present-moment and nonjudgmental introspective component that is process-centered versus being strictly outcome or goal oriented.

2. Proprioceptive awareness. Some call it body awareness or kinesthetic sense – exercise that couples muscular activity with mental focus to improve our body’s ability to sense where we are in relationship to our surroundings.

3. Breath-centering. The breath is the primary centering activity in mind-body exercise.

4. Anatomic alignment, such as spine, trunk, and pelvis, or proper physical form. Disciplining oneself to a particular movement pattern or spinal alignment holds true for many forms of mind-body exercise.

5. Energy-centric. Awareness and attention of the movement and flow of one's intrinsic energy, vital life force, chi, prana, or other positive energy.

Mindful movement is an important part of whole body health. The health benefits alone of regular, mindful movement are realized by improved sleep, reduced pain, gains in flexibility and strength, reduction in stress, increased energy, better cognition and mental function.

At Root, everyone, at any fitness level, is invited to experience the benefits of mindful movement. True fitness is a balance of physical, mental and emotional components and recognizes the need for balance and recovery that comes from routine engagement in mindful movement. Whether you are a runner or a cycler, a dancer or a skier, or are just learning to move your body or manage your stress and injury, mindful movement provides the recovery and self-awareness required for whole body health.