Tools To Enhance Your Mind-Body Connection, That Aren’t Yoga

It's time to get zen.

22/09/2017 15:27 BST | Updated 05/10/2017 15:28 BST

Flowing through sun salutations is a great way to start the day. It’s easy to see why yoga is many people’s first choice when it comes to enhancing their mind/body connection.

But this ancient practice isn’t the only way to get yourself in a good mindset for the week. Whether you fancy trying tai chi or you’re tempted to take up journaling, here are a few suggestions that will get your week off to a flying start.

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Meditation

Meditation is just sitting still, right? Nope – there’s more to it than imitating that Buddha statue you saw in your local yoga studio. The practice is a way of calming the mind, leaving behind any worries or to-do lists and learning to focus on the present moment.

It helps relieve anxiety and stress, helping you get to a good place at the start of the day. While many yoga classes include elements of meditation, you can go along to pure meditation class which involves little or no movement. You can also try meditation by downloading an app like Buddhify and giving it a try at home. 

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Tai Chi

Ever seen people moving gracefully through warrior-style poses in a park? You probably witnessed a tai chi session in action. This Chinese martial art weaves together gentle exercise with self-defense techniques designed to move energy around the body.

Tai Chi can be traced back to a 12th century Taoist monk who designed his own soft-but-strong fighting technique. It’s not only great for flexibility and balance, but tai chi helps relieve stress after a hard day at the office.

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Mindful colouring-in

Tap into your inner child and try an adult colouring-in book. No longer just reserved for children, colouring-in is a great technique for de-stressing and unleashing your creative potential. There are dozens of adult colouring-in books available to buy now – from floral mandalas to funny comic books.

By using coloured pencils to fill in the gaps, you come into a calm meditative state. Lose yourself in your colouring book and before you know it, those pre-work blues will be a thing of the past.

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Journaling

You don’t have to be a writer to start journaling. It’s a good way to process emotions, thoughts and write down your goals for the next week, month and year and can help to give you a sense of direction in your life. By writing down what you want, you commit to your words both consciously and subconsciously.

Make it part of your Monday morning ritual. Get up early, make a coffee and then sit down for 10 to 15 minutes to record your immediate, medium and long term goals. 

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Rolfing

If you have a stiff back or you’re feeling particularly tense, you might want to try rolfing (not to be confused with ‘ROFL.’ Very different.)

Rather than text speak, this is a way of realigning the body’s connective tissue (myofascia) that keeps the muscles in place. It releases both a physical and emotional build-up of tension. You can see a rolfing therapist who will follow a series of movements, working across the different body parts and can be painful, a little like a strong sports massage, but it will leave you feeling looser and more relaxed.

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Qi Gong

Qi Gong is similar to tai chi – both use slow movements and breathing techniques to bring serenity to the body and mind. However, Qi Gong is a form of meditation and healing rather than a martial art. It uses different, slightly more simple movements to tai chi.

Rather than following a strict series of postures, Qi Gong is more free-flowing and will depend on what the practitioner needs that day. If you like Tai Chi, you’ll probably enjoy hopping on the Qi Gong boat, too.

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Reflexology

If you haven’t had reflexology before, then you probably just think it’s a fancy foot massage. But hold your cynical horses, because it’s more than that. Reflexology works with pressure points on the hands, feet and head that are linked to every part of the body.

Using the feet as a map, a reflexologist can apply pressure to a certain area and it will move energy through that body part, relieving tension and pain. It can be used to treat a minor physical injury as well as emotional trauma – if you’re keen, you can even learn to do reflexology on yourself at home. It’s a great tool for helping you sleep and de-stress at the end of the day.

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