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#1 of 1 Old 02-19-2002, 03:44 PM - Thead Starter
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Relax your way to a better body
by Liz Neporent and Gina Allchin

As you are reading this, is your back hunched over? Are your shoulders tight? Is your head tilted to one side? Stop. Take a deep breath and ‘fix’ your body. Feel better? Look better?
There, you’ve just made a ‘mind-body connection’. That is, you’ve tuned into how body positioning can make a big difference in how you look and feel. Simple modifications done on a regular basis can help improve your appearance and comfort. This also translates into increased energy, improved athletic performance and reduced injury.

Learning how to control your body through mind cues is not a new concept, but it’s certainly a hot area in the exercise world. Below we explain four mind-body fitness options.


Origins: Named after Joseph H Pilates, a carpenter who developed this unique exercise system in 1920s for injured dancers. Today, there are reportedly 55 Pilates studios across the country as well as a number of instruction videos and how-to books. Sometimes taught under other names such as ‘the method’ or ‘Re:Ab’.

Basic description: Can be done in two ways: Private lessons on specially designed equipment or a group ‘mat’ class. You won’t do a lot of repetitions of each move, but it is intense work even for those who are extremely fit.

Benefits: Creates strength without bulk and lengthens and stretches your muscles as it creates postural awareness. Focuses on the ‘powerhouse’ muscles including the abs, back, bum and thighs.

More info: Check out the Fitness finder or log onto the Pilates Foundation website or the Purely Pilates website.


Origins: Developed in India more than 5,000 years ago, yoga is now more popular than ever. Many classes have a spiritual element, and there are several different styles of yoga out there so there’s a class for everyone!

Basic description: Typically, you perform a series of poses and postures while focusing on your breathing and relaxing your mind. Some classes involve chanting, prayer, candles or incense.

Benefits: Promotes deep relaxation, body awareness, strength and flexibility. Plus, it’s a great stress-buster.
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