Fit Body


fit-for-life-9f5d1b17How to Stay Healthy, Flexible and Strong

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Body Sculpt with Kettlebells

kettlebell-workouts-7ecb9ff5Workouts Burn Fat and Tone Muscle

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new-years-fitness-goals-a0991eabNew Year’s Resolutions that Stick

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Pilates Unbound

pilates-fusion-8e71ba3eNew Fusions with Yoga, Dance and Boxing
by Aimee Hughes

With 11,000 studios across the U.S., “Pilates continues to grow because an increasingly wide spectrum of people are discovering how it can benefit them,” says Elizabeth Anderson, executive director of the Pilates Method Alliance, in Miami.

Pilates instructor Amanda January, who works at The Carriage Club, in Kansas City, eventually became an instructor because, “I love the challenge of it. I had always been a dancer, and found Pilates provides the movement therapy that my dance classes lack.”

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Walking Meditation

labyrinths-walk-0201853dBY: GINA MCGALLIARD

The Calming and Centering Effects of Labyrinths

Relax and Unwind

restorative-yoga-poses-dd0273caRestorative Yoga Poses Foster Healing

The physical, mental and spiritual benefits are similar to those of active yoga, but because poses are held longer and supported by props such as bolsters, blankets, belts and blocks, “There’s no stress on the tissue and joints. Each pose gifts us with longerlasting benefits, including more time for the mind to unwind,” advises Carey.

“Restorative yoga allows both muscles and the brain to recover from fatigue, so we are stronger, sharper and better able to act in the world afterward,” explains Roger Cole, Ph.D., a certified Iyengar yoga teacher in Del Mar, California, and a research scientist studying the physiology of relaxation, sleep and biological rhythms. He attests that it also serves as preparation for pranayama (mindful yoga breathing) and meditation, which require a clear, well-rested, focused mind.

Perfect for beginners and used by longtime practitioners to complement other yoga styles, restorative poses are designed to accurately realign and reshape the body. They also can be therapeutically tailored to support natural healing for issues related to tension, premenstrual syndrome, weak immune functioning, back pain, pregnancy and recovery for athletes. “Poses for healing may require targeted gentle stretching, but prop use will coax the body into desired positions without requiring muscular effort,” says Cole.


Yoga Poses: What’s Your Favorite Yoga Pose

Natural Awakenings asked several nearby yoga teachers about their favorite pose (asana) and why they love it.


Yoga pose - Twisted Pigeon - Kirsten Birch Pose-adjKirsten Joy Burch: Twisted Pigeon
This pose is a variation of the Pigeon pose. To add the twist, you must surrender and allow your breath to release tension. You must let go of mental and physical constraints and focus solely on moving slowly into the position using proper form. Pigeon is considered the king of hip-openers and supports the low back, when done properly. It helps reduce or slow our bumper-to-bumper thoughts. Continue Reading


Walking-Benefits-03fe28ad22 Minutes a Day Boosts Well-Being

Zen Golf

Golf-Zen-d2eb5c7aMaster the Mind to Master the Game


“I remember the moment I had what I call my ‘golf game epiphany,’” recalls Steve Hughes, a passionate golfer from Richmond, Missouri. “I realized that my main obstacles were in my head, and from that day on, my golf game changed.”

In any athletic or fitness endeavor, the pursuit of excellence unfolds an array of challenges. While golf presents some of the toughest hurdles to improvement, any links enthusiast can better their game by acquiring a champion’s mindset. Applying a few Zen techniques and disciplines adapted from the Buddhist tradition of mindful awareness—which teaches that the mind is everything—can work wonders.

Zen Golf master and performance psychologist Joe Parent, Ph.D., of Ojai, California, advises: “The key is finding a way to let the ‘thinking’ mind do all the preliminaries to physical performance—selecting a target, judging the lie, gauging weather influences, etc.—and then letting our ‘intuitive’ mind take over, enabling our body to make a swing that’s free from second-guessing ourselves.” He calls the optimal playing mentality, “Not too tight, not too loose.” It’s the sweet spot that allows us to perform via our best self. Some key techniques prepare us to find and reside in this just-right Goldilocks place of being not too hot and not too cold.

Developing mental fortitude takes us even further than we can imagine. Mastery is born from discipline, focused attention and a deep core desire to adopt habits and behaviors that will upgrade our mindset.

Author of Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game, Parent teaches his students to enter a state that he calls “trusting versus trying.” He teaches a “one stroke at a time” approach, which emphasizes awareness of being in the present moment, as many contemplative spiritual traditions do. When the golfer is deeply engaged in the present moment with just the right level of emotional intensity, free of distractions and worries about future swings, they become integrated with what’s taking place on the course in the here and now to the point of total absorption. Read More

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