Exercise calms and tones

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, December 27, 2005

By Staff
With so many different exercise programs to choose from now, how will you ever know which one is right for you? Yoga, pilates, Tai Chi…which one will it be? And what is the difference?
When it comes to these popular exercises, it can be very stressful knowing which one is right for you and understanding the differences between them.
Here is a look at some of these mind calming, muscle stretching, body toning exercises.
Yoga is a type of exercise and spiritual practice that was developed in India. It originated as a means to enlightenment. In the Western world, Yoga has become associated with postures of Hatha Yoga, which are popular as fitness exercises. Yoga entails mastery of the body, mind and emotional self. Proponents of yoga see daily practice as beneficial as it leads to improved health, mental clarity and emotional well being.
The word “yoga” comes from Sanskirt which means, “union”. Yoga is the union of the body, spirit, and mind. Yoga is thought to make one feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes one healthier in the mind, body and spirit. Yoga allows you to relax and get into shape at the same time. Research shows that yoga helps manage and control anxiety, fatigue, stress, depression, headaches, back pain, blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Yoga is about being in the world. Although most books, videos and websites focus on yoga postures, breathing and meditation, the tradition also emphasizes love, compassion, knowledge and right action as paths toward union.
Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts that uses slow controlled movements, postures and breathing to increase the flow of “chi” or energy in your life. Increased flow of chi can boost your sense of wellbeing and relieve stress. Tai Chi involves very slow movements that aim to control the flow of energy through strength and meditation.
Tai Chi is great for people who wish to gain more mobility and relieve stress. Some of the most noteworthy benefits include increased balance, mobility, flexibility, strength, coordination and it also relieves stress. Tai Chi is essentially suitable for everyone. Seniors and the young can enjoy and benefit from practicing tai chi on a daily basis. Since it has shown to help people with balance issues, arthritis and other conditions, tai chi is generally considered safe for everyone.
Pilates is an exercise method which aims to create a balance in the body. It is designed to cater to the individual needs of each person.
Pilates offers a trimmer waist, flatter belly, better posture based on a balanced muscle tone, less fatigue and lower incidence of back pain and injury.
The aim with Pilates is to incorporate the body, breathing and mind through physical exercise to improve strength, flexibility, balance and suppleness.
Pilates focuses on maintaining a strong trunk and utilising the abdominal muscles as stablizers while performing movement exercise sequences.  Muscles are worked with control, through the prescribed movement sequence with many muscles working together.
Shiatsu offers an opportunity to become aware of the way in which we inhabit our bodies. Through understanding breathing pattern, posture and mental attitude the practitioner and client can begin to uncover the root cause of suffering, be it mental or physical.
Over time the supportive relationship encourages the clinet to become independent through finding positive ways of empowering and improving the quality of their life.
Shiatsu can help with a range of stress problems and chronic conditions including: backache and pain, headache, muscular tension or stiffness, depresion or anxiety, sports injuries, insomnia, exhaustion or fatigue, digestive problems, menstrual problems, high blood pressure, low immunity, pregnancy, children's problems
Please consult your physician before starting any of these exercise programs.