Mindfulness Walking

The Art of Mindfulness Walking

What is Mindfulness Walking?

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention into the present moment where mindfulness walking is the practice of becoming aware of your surroundings and how your body and mind feel whilst moving. There are many benefits to this by focusing on the present moment you can increase self awareness and develop skills to manage your stress and maybe see a different perspective on any stressful situations in your life. Autumn is a great time to be outdoors, by engaging in the local environment and appreciating nature, mindfulness walking helps you to connect to your senses, releasing stress and anxiety and promoting health and wellbeing. Find out more about our mindfulness walking sessions by visiting http://www.fitness-excel.com

The Importance of Physical Education in Schools

Yoga classes outside on the open air. Kids Yoga

Current physical activity trends show that 30 years ago physical activity was accepted and was a normal part of the lives of young people, as they engaged more in physical activity they were benefiting from the many health benefits. Recent studies now show that young people’s low level of activity is not sufficient to benefit cardiovascular fitness.

Factors which have contributed to changes are the social and technological influences, where indoor sedentary activities such as computer games has become the preferred activity rather than participating in leisure and sport and travelling by bus rather than walking to school. The decline in physical activity at a young age can influence participation as a teenager and into adulthood. Encouraging children to adopt active lifestyles would appear to be of great importance.

Addtional pressures at school such as a tight schedule, limited resources or squeezed budgets with subjects such as Maths and English taking priority over physical education is another issue of concern. At SAG Tutoring we have over 15 years experience and knowledge of training the teachers in exercise for children and health related activities, using a selection of imaginative actvities which incorporate gymnastics and sport with links to the physical education curriculum which will engage and enthuse children. Experienced and specialist teachers are sometimes needed in schools to ignite new ideas and inspiration into the PE curriculum encouraging participation and opportunities for all ages and abilities.

Breathing Efficiently

Breathing is easy, it’s natural, you just do it don’t you? But wait a minute, a new book by James Nestor entitled “Breath” points out that it’s not quite so simple!

It turns out that there is more to breathing than just letting it happen and the consequences can be damaging. We all know that if someone gets into a panic, they can start what’s called, hyperventilating, where they breathe deeply and rapidly- with the result that they can feel faint.  And sometimes just thinking about a scary or highly stressful incident can induce the same reaction.

In both cases we breathe through our mouths and that we calm down by slowing the breathing down it will reduce the stressful sensations we go back to breathing through our noses-or do we?

Quite often, if the stress is low level and near continuous, we end up mouth breathing more than is healthy. But what’s wrong with breathing through the mouth you ask? Well according to James Nestor, breathing experts point out that nose breathing is the optimum way to breathe, except when undergoing physical exertion.

Why? Because amongst other benefits the nose is our own in-built air filtration and air conditioning system. Catching all the dust, dirt and germs floating around in the atmosphere. Which would otherwise be drawn deeply into the lungs when we breathe with our mouths. Also the air coming in via the nose is warmed and humidified, whereas it isn’t when coming in via the mouth.

Benefits such as these and many others are explained in his book, which whilst fascinating and is highly recommending reading, it doesn’t give any details of practices you can do to alleviate the situation. It appears that nearly all the techniques Nestor mentions are similar to a Yoga teachers handbook of Pranayama together with some of the physical exercises/practices utilised are also taught in a Pilates class. In view of this check out our short and entertaining theory and practical workshop on breathing efficiently for interested people to come and learn more about how the body breathes, how you can improve your breathing via some simple exercises from Yoga and Pilates and understanding what benefits you can gain.

References:

Nestor, J (2021) Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art.

International Women’s Day

Choose Challenge

Let’s celebrate all international women across the globe. The history of this event dates back to the early 1900’s and has evolved and grown addressing key issues and themes over the years. It’s purpose is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world as well as addressing equality. The theme this year 2021 is ‘Choose Challenge’. The focus and aims of the day are to celebrate women’s success and achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality and fundraise for female charities.

What better way to celebrate this day by joining an International Running Race across the globe, with many female-focused charities to choose from, this is a great way to support and raise awareness in your local community, inspire and challenge yourself, but to encourage other women across the world to participate in running, highlight healthy living as well as ‘firing up’ enthusiasm to women to reach their individual fitness goals.

Integrated Pilates & Yoga, Childrens Performance in Education

Standing Tall

INTEGRATED PILATES & YOGA, CHILDRENS PERFORMANCE IN EDUCATION

Pilates and yoga are mind-body systems which both emphasise breathing, relaxation, posture, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility.  There is much science behind the connection of the mind and body and the link between the release of specific chemicals released when undertaking movements and many have already reaped the many benefits of practising both disciplines regularly. 

CHALLENGES CHILDREN FACE IN LEARNING

Many children can face challenges in their learning which can affect their mental, academic and physical well-being.  Studies were conducted on elementary and middle school children in education and found that yoga had an effect on improved grades, better health through a reduction in obesity and health problems, the research suggests that mindfulness activities such as Pilates and yoga can also assist children in class lessons because they are calmer, find it easier to complete tasks improved concentration as well as having a healthy body image which leads to more confidence in themselves compared to those who have a negative body image, which could result in low self-esteem and become a distraction in the class.   (Eggleson, Brandon, 2015).  Furthermore (Peck & Kehle, 2005) revealed that younger children who took part in 30 minutes of yoga, twice a week for 3 weeks completed tasks on time compared to those who didn’t take part.

YOGA FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Children with special needs may also benefit from undertaking Pilates or yoga as both mind-body systems focus the mind and attention on the movement, those in particular with conditions such as ASD (autism-spectrum disorder), as the skills learnt in these disciplines enable improved sensory information processing, motor control, communication and improved cognitive processing of information from perception, problem solving, reasoning, thinking and learning are factors linked with yoga participation which can help those lead a more healthy, balanced life. (Etheringer, 2010).  Particular Pilates/yoga exercises which are similar in nature have been associated with an increase in attention and memory as there is an increased blood flow to the brain, (Schaeffer, 2002) claimed “yoga can prevent memory lapses by calming you and enhance concentration.  It can also improve your powers of recall by increasing blood circulation to your brain”.

INCORPORATE PILATES & YOGA INTO LESSONS

Physical activities linked to Pilates and yoga can be part of your curriculum and can be blended into lessons for 5 and 10 minutes by incorporating a story during reading, writing combined with Pilates and Yoga poses and breathing techniques.  Some simple exercises can include:  Standing tall like a Tree, Seal stretch, Bridge and Tortoise.  By introducing some exercises also promotes physical activity and encourages a healthy lifestyle.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

E
ggleston, B & Brandon, J.E (2015) available at: International Journal of Health & Wellness Society, Vol 5, Issue 3, p 1-7

Etheringer, J (2010) Yoga for children on the Autism Spectrum, International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Vol 20, No 1. Pp 131-139

Peck, H.L & Kehle, T.J (2005) Yoga as an intervention for children with attention problems. School Psychology Review, 34 (3) 415-424

Schaeffer, R (2002) Athletic Insight, The Online Journal of Sports Psychology, Vol 9, Issue 2, June 2007

Live on line Fitness Community

Live on line fitness community classes are a superb way of connecting with like minded people who share a common interest in health and well-being. Live on line classes also offer a wider selection of classes. In studio classes you may rush to your class from work, however with live on line there is no need to travel, you will reduce air pollution and save money as live on line is cheaper. Moreover, small group live on line offers a tailored, personalised exercise class which can help with motivation.

Benefits of On-Line Fitness

Sometimes it is not possible to get to our regular class for exercise due to circumstances, however, on-line fitness provides a solution. As long as you have WiFi connection you can log on to your normal class and workout wherever you are. Also, workout for less, it is cheaper for you to book an on-line lesson compared to a studio session. In addition, having a variety of scheduled slots of exercise offer a more convenient approach to training. If you prefer to have an individual session this offers many advantages to time slots, costings and you not having to drive to gyms to meet your instructor, you will still get motivation and instruction, so give it a go.

Psychological Well being and Exercise

There are numerous studies and research on the many physical benefits of exercise to include aerobic exercise, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and balance, however, there is increasing evidence to list the psychological and cognitive benefits and its relation to physical exercise, some of these include; heightened mood state, less anxiety, stress and depression, improved self esteem and body image. Studies conducted in Finland on participants between the ages of 24-64 explored the association between physical exercise and psychological traits and demonstrated that participants who exercise at least 2-3 times a week experienced less anger, distrust, depression and report a stronger sense of social integration compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles.

Camino, Well-being & Relaxation

Journey of self discovery

Why is the Camino de Santiago so popular? An incredible 347,578 pilgrim walkers undertook the Camino last year from over at least 50 different pilgrimage routes for various reasons. Is this the year you embark on a Camino for your personal health and well-being? You could be a gap student, undergoing change in your life, maybe your retired and want to spend more time looking after your health.

The busy-ness of our lives with the constant technology, demands and overload consumes our time and depletes our energy. The Camino allows space to reflect, slow down, re-energise, re-connect with others and gain a perspective on how we lead our lives. As we become more conscious through awareness and mindfulness walking each day, we become more in tune with our body, mind and spirit and can aim to facilitate change for a more well-balanced life.

Building Resilience through Sport

What is Resilience?  Resilience is the ability to bounce back, know how to cope with setbacks, learn how to manage yourself and your resources, it is also the ability to function in times of stress, recover, adapt and change.  However, do we know what skills we need to pick ourselves back up.  Why do we need to develop resilience? Without this skill, it is easy to give up, this could apply to any area of life, study, career or sport.  One of the skills for developing resilience is perseverance, it is defined as the continued effort to keep going.    Where do we start?  You can start by building your mental resilience through enhancing your health and well-being.

Some simple steps to start with are:  to improve your physical health by eating well and exercising, develop your sleeping habits, incorporate meditation through mindfulness, celebrate your successes and achievements.  This is fine when everything is going well, but what about when something comes along to throw us off course?  Compare this to a gymnast balancing on a beam, how many times do they wobble and fall? It is only with determination through getting back on the beam, pushing through with persistence will they achieve their objectives and advance to perform a complex routine.