The Mind-Body Connection
Elisha Jachetti, Certified Personal Trainer
In yoga and other fitness regimens, there is constant reference to the “mind-body connection.” In a literal sense, it is easy to understand that the phrase alludes to the mind and body working in sync with one another. What does it really mean though? Since the mind is part of the body and vice-verse, aren’t the two already and irreversibly connected? The answer to that question is yes. Physically, the mind and body are conjoined during life. The two are perpetually sending signals to one another every second. However, over time, it is easy to start tuning out the body’s messages, especially the ones that are sent repetitively. That is partly why new stimuli tend to capture our attention. Therefore, when your instructor discusses this relationship between the mind and body, he or she is asking you to focus on the signals that are already present, to acknowledge them and to respond appropriately.
The mind-body connection is very important in both yoga and in life. Being aware of your body allows you to prevent injury as you settle into various poses. When listening to the body, it tells you not to push further when it is at its limit. Other times, your mind is the one telling you not to continue, even though the body is actually physically capable. As you become more in tune, you will be able to delineate when and where to challenge yourself or hold back. Consequently, your practice will improve tremendously and at a more rapid pace.
Establishing a mind-body connection takes time and active practice. Regularly, you must check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. Even if those feelings are opposite than what you want, you must honor those feelings, and concede to them. As you develop this form of communication, you will see how you become more present in the now. It is impossible to think about the past or future when you are so focused. As a result, your practice becomes a way to relax and to escape your troubles for an hour or two.