The Power of Mind-Body Practices

Do you know that moment when you just wake up? That second when you first open your eyes and your mind is calm, your body is relaxed, and you are at complete peace? For me, it would usually last a short second. Right after, I’d realize all the things that I had to do that day, and that feeling would quickly vanish. It was a short magical moment that I’d find myself constantly wishing I could return to throughout the day. When I began learning about mind-body practices, I soon asked myself: What if I really could extend that feeling? What if I could experience true peace, calm, and balance?

The importance of mind-body practices is more evident now than ever. We need to find a way to once again become centered. Find what is important in life: Invest in our relationships with loved ones and ourselves, practice kindness (even when it seems rather challenging to do so), and reconnect with nature.

So what are mind-body practices?

Mind-body practices are simple techniques that help the mind create a positive effect on the body. Our minds are quite powerful and can be our greatest weapon for good (or bad, if we are not careful). When we are stressed, the body releases hormones that can affect our overall health and well-being. This is why bringing awareness to the mind is so fundamental. Some mind-body practices, like yoga and meditation, are quite popular since many celebrities and business women and men attribute their success to the incorporation of these practices into their day-to-day lives. But these are far from being the only options available. Today I also wanted to bring attention to another type of mind-body practice: tai chi.

Tai chi is an ancient mind-body practice that originated in China as a type of martial art, and it uses gentle movements, deep breathing and relaxation techniques to move energy throughout the body. This practice is known for providing great health benefits such as muscle strength and flexibility, improved balance, and reduced stress. The interesting thing about tai chi is that although it’s one of the practices that can help with stress reduction, we can even see its benefits in specific conditions, such as in those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that has, as one of its main symptoms, overall pain and fatigue. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia greatly benefit not only from therapies that put emphasis on the body, but also from practices and interventions that work on the mind as well. Incorporating as little as two weekly 60-minute tai chi practices can really make all the difference. (A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fribromyalgia)

Whether you are ready to incorporate into your routine yoga or tai-chi–or simply start by dipping your toes in with a short daily meditation session–the benefits that you can experience are manifold. And although many times we don’t feel any new super powers, these types of practices can really help with our overall well-being and prepare us to better cope with stressful situations that are out of our control.