The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body – Mind Disciplines
Body-mind is a term often seen in print and heard in conversation today. It is used frequently both in private discussions about disease and healing and in public forums on health care, where the value of alternative or complementary medicine is gaining recognition. Today, many educators are developing new methods that use the body-mind connection to help children learn how to live productive and creative lives in today’s complex technological society. The phrase body-mind resonates
through the halls of gymnasiums, physical conditioning studios, and in self-defense classes. It echoes in theaters, dance studios, and music practice rooms. What exactly is this concept that is exciting so many people and changing the way we heal, learn, work, and play?
Body-mind is a way of seeing and understanding the human organism. To see a human being in terms of body-mind is to see him or her as a totality wherein his or her physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects are all interrelated and reflective of one another. In other words, the body is not simply the material receptacle of the mind or spirit, it is the medium through which we experience, each in a unique and individual way, the unfolding, transforming nature of spirit itself.
From this perspective, the functioning of the body influences the functioning of the mind and the emotions. In a like manner, thoughts and feelings have a profound and direct effect on the body. On a deeper level, many body-mind models believe that the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of human experience are a reflection of and inextricably linked to an all-pervasive spiritual essence. In different cultures and in different times, this spiritual essence has had many names: Atman, the Tao, God, energy, the force.
A body-mind discipline is an organized program of activity that seeks to awaken and activate the links between body, mind, and spirit. The practice of a body-mind discipline may involve a variety of activities, all of which aim to incorporate the
physical body with the sensing, feeling, thinking, and/or intuiting faculties of the mind. Through the practice of a body-mind discipline, one develops awareness of
physical sensations and mental and emotional processes. This awareness can be the basis of healing and improved health, greater efficiency and expressiveness in one’s activities, more rewarding relationships and interactions, and a deeper, clearer sense of purpose in one’s life.
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