Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Are Your Health Goals and Obstacles?

Here is a sample portion of an assessment I use when beginning work with clients on their health goals. My objective is to assist clients in designing a training that becomes something they want to do, enjoy doing, and continues to provide enough value that it is integrated into their daily life. To create a practice that serves these purposes, we look at goals, skills, interests and obstacles.

When you contemplate mind/body training, what do you hope to gain? Typical answers are:

  • Increase Strength
  • Increase Flexibility,
  • Increase Endurance
  • Decrease Tension/Stress
  • Increase Energy
  • Enhance Sports Performance
  • Body Sculpting/Toning
  • Improve Fluidity of Motion
  • Improve Mind Focus
  • Improve Breath Control
  • Improve Balance
  • Enhance Creative Expression

Reasons people give for not being physically active – do any apply to you?

  • Its hard work
  • I am usually too tired
  • Weather is too bad
  • I do not have anyone to exercise with me
  • I am overweight
  • There is no convenient place
  • I do not enjoy exercise
  • I am afraid of being hurt or falling
  • Exercise is boring
  • I do not have a safe place to exercise
  • I do not have the time
  • I am too old
  • I have no endurance
  • I have a health condition
You can overcome your obstacles by focusing on your goals and observing how each practice you cultivate helps you to achieve them. Once you understand and feel the benefits of daily movement, mind focus, and breathing techniques, you will want to do them daily.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Relaxation, Body Awareness, and Alignment Exercises

One important element of my practice with clients, in partnership with Dr. Dennis Chernin, is to assess where there is a mind/body disconnect and then train the client in moving and static body awareness, postures and exercises based in the gentle healing aspects and principles of the martial arts.

These movements and accompanying mind focus and breathing exercises train an individual in assessing, preventing, minimizing and treating areas that are experiencing stress and strain.
The focused and directed movements balance the autonomic nervous system, stretch and tone muscles, massage internal organs, and promote fluid exchange within and between the cells. By learning to integrate body/mind/breath, a fuller experience of life and sense of control and self confidence are achieved.

You may also visit the website Five Dimensional Healing to learn more about Cinda's group practice with Dr. Dennis Chernin, Dr. James Arond-Thomas and Maria Sylvester, Life Coach.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing exercises are useful to help treat many physical and mental illnesses. Learning to control the breath is key to controlling and balancing body, emotions and mind. Breathing training works because there are direct nerve connections from the nose and lungs to the brain with important relays to the nervous and endocrine (hormone) systems. Breath is also considered to be the link between the conscious and unconscious mind. Breathing is the only physiologic function that can be either voluntarily controlled by the mind or can be involuntarily and automatically run by the body. In the conscious act of doing certain types of breathing exercises, a person gains greater awareness and control of involuntary physical functions and the unconscious mind.

Examples of breathing exercises and their benefits are:

● The Complete Yoga Breath - helps asthma, recurrent bronchial conditions, and digestion

● Alternative Nostril Breathing - helps anxiety, obsessive thought problems, and depression

● Diaphragmatic Breathing - helps high blood pressure and

● Bee Breath - helps thyroid conditions and sinus problems

● Bellows Breath - helps both allergic problems as well as

● Hissing Breath - helps to cool the body

Disruptions in concentration are often associated with pauses and hesitations in respiration. Practicing simple techniques to regulate breathing rhythms brings about greater clarity and continuity of thought. Emotional states are often accompanied by altered breathing patterns. For example, the sobbing of grief, the sighs of disappointment, and the trembling breath of anger.

Meditation and Visualization Techniques

Meditation and visualization techniques help to quiet the mind and bring greater clarity to the thinking process. By training the mind to concentrate on a single object such as the breath, an inspiring idea or visual image, energy center (chakra), sound (mantra), the normally scattered mind can become more efficient and focused. These techniques can help a person observe and experience emotions arising from the unconscious while at the same time they learn to let go of disturbing aspects of these feelings. Meditation can help a person live in the here and now, to enjoy life more fully, and to stop dwelling on past experiences or on future worries.

Meditation and visualization techniques can help a person experience the inner connections to themselves, other people, to their environment, and to the universe around them. This often results in greater feelings of compassion, unity and oneness. Meditation also helps an individual to develop intuition and to get in touch with their creative potential.

Individual Instruction:

Dennis Chernin, MD


Cinda Hocking, LMSW

2345 S. Huron Parkway

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 973-3030




Breathing Techniques

Mind Focus Exercises

Body Awareness/Alignment

Martial Art Principles

These concentration and body movement practices help prevent, minimize and treat symptoms of illnesses such as asthma, digestive disorders, headaches, hypertension and osteoporosis.These practices are also important adjuncts in treating mental and emotional health concerns related to stress, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, eating disorders and phobias. These techniques improve concentration and memory. They help people to have more physical and emotional confidence.