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Thread: Body, Mind, Spirit; Finding Balance

  1. #1

    Default Body, Mind, Spirit; Finding Balance

    Body, Mind, Spirit; Finding Balance

    Author: Kelly Smith
    Contributor(s): Joni Hyde, Susan Scholl
    Published on: January 21, 2003

    As the fitness world evolves, we are seeing a bigger focus on achieving balance between body, mind and spirit. Many of us have included yoga and meditation into our exercise programs. Holistic medicine and beliefs, talk of chakras and feng shui have creeped into our mainstream lives.

    The realization is that our health depends not just on how we look but how we feel. Maybe it is because of just how 'fast' and stressful our world has become, but we have forgotten to "stop and smell the roses" so to speak. Now, we are seeking new ways to get in touch with our inner selves, but we still want to look good while we are doing it. So, how do all of these components relate?

    "Our body, soul and spirit together make us whole individuals. If any one of those components is suffering, it affects the other areas," says Hyde.

    Hyde is developer of Workouts For Women and a certified personal trainer specializing in women's fitness with more than 14 years experience. For a complete home, gym or pregnancy exercise routine under the guidance of a certified trainer, visit

    One way of trying to make these connections is through Yoga. Yoga is a hot trend in the exercise world today and there are so many variations of it popping up at the gym. Maybe because people have realized it doesn't require sitting on top of a mountain or twisting into a pretzel. Or maybe it's because we have taken a good look at some of those yoga teachers. Yoga can actually strengthen and tone those muscles while burning calories.

    "Yoga is great because it promotes physiological benefits as well as psychological benefits including improvement in one's mood as well as a decrease in anxiety and depression. However, all exercise has been associated with these types of improvements. But the meditation aspect of Yoga makes it one of the more "relaxing" types of exercise," Hyde said.

    Yoga has been said to not only alleviate stress but some practice it to achieve what is called samadhi or pure consciousness. Whatever the reason, Yoga is one way of finding the balance between body, mind and spirit.

    "A balanced lifestyle is key in regards to one's health," says Hyde. Personal Life Coach Susan Scholl of Life Balancing for Women agrees with the belief that spirituality as part of a balanced life leads to a healthy life.

    "Yes, absolutely, I think it is all connected. It is so easy for today’s women (and men for that matter) to get so wrapped up in the busyness of their lives. I think being in touch with God and especially having some quiet time each day to focus on yourself and your body is essential."

    One type of coaching Scholl does is help others who may have this battle with fitness in trying to achieve harmony in their lives. She helps women by having them define their goals and set up a plan and then help them with some accountability steps.

    "Your entire life will go so much more smoothly if you keep in touch with your spirit and your body. I believe the mind can focus so much better when the body is healthy," said Scholl.

    For great fitness advice or getting your life back on track, check these web sites out!

    Time to Meditate: Take some time for yourself everyday to calm and clear your mind. Even if it's for fifteen minutes. Clear a space at home and sit or lay in comfortable posture. You may want to do some stretches beforehand to unwind. Breathe slowly through your nose. You may use a meditation object to focus on such as a candle, chants or soothing music to ease you into it.

    Since many of us are often doing a great deal of winter activities that require a good deal of leg work like skiing, skating and snowboarding, I asked personal trainer, Joni Hyde, to recommend a few for us: Thanks Joni!

    Good core strength exercises for the legs are:

    STATIONARY SQUATS(BUTTOCKS, THIGHS, BACK OF LEGS) Stand with feet just outside shoulder width, toes pointing slightly out, arms down to the side. Bend at the knees and reach back with the buttocks as if you are reaching for a chair behind you, while arms simultaneously come up in front of you. Knees stay behind toes and hips must not drop below the knees. Then stand back up as you pull arms back in to the sides.

    REVERSE LUNGE(BACK OF LEGS, BUTTOCKS, HIPS, THIGHS) Start with feet together, toes pointing straight ahead, hands on waist. Take a slow controlled step back with one leg. Bend both knees, lowering hips toward the floor without back knee touching the floor, keeping the front knee directly over ankle, weight on the heel. Shoulders back chest up, abdominal tight. Push off the trailing foot and the front heel as you return to star. 20 each side.

    SEATED CHAIR LEG EXTENSION(FRONT OF THIGHS) Place both 5 lb ankle weights on one leg. sit tall and back on a chair holding onto the sides of the chair. Place a rolled up towel under your knees to raise them up. Extend one leg out in front of you with foot flexed (toes pull in to you), squeeze the thigh muscle, then bend the knee and return to start. 20 each side.

    Joni suggests the following stretches;

    Seated Hamstring Stretch Sit on mat with right leg extended out straight, knee soft(slight bend) and right foot flexed, left leg bent, with left foot resting next to inside of right leg. Lean forward from the hips and reach for your ankle. Feel mild tension in back of upper right leg. Hold 15 seconds, repeat on other side.

    Lying Outer Hip Stretch Lie on mat with knees bent, right ankle on the left thigh just below left knee. Reach around left leg with both hands and gently pull the left knee up and towards the body. Feel mild tension in the right hip and buttocks. Hold 15 seconds, repeat on other side .

    Side Lying Quadricep Stretch Lie on mat on left side. Left arm extended straight out, head resting on left arm. Keep left leg straight. Bend right knee, and reach back with right hand grasping right ankle. pressing heel towards buttocks. Feel mild tension in front of thigh. Hold 15 seconds, repeat on other side. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER STRETCH KNEE.

    Standing Calf Stretch Stand about 12 inches away from wall. Place forearms against wall and lean forward. Step back with the right leg, keeping the right leg straight and press the right heel down. Feel mild tension in the right calf. Hold 15 seconds, repeat on other side.

  2. #2

    Default Body, Mind, Spirit; Finding Balance

    Mind/Body Medicine Definition Mind/body medicine, also known as ... Hippocrates
    believed that health depends upon a balance of the body, mind and environment,
    .... As beginning meditators find out, however, calming and clearing the mind of
    .... body-centered and body-mind and body-mind-spirit approaches to massage?

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