1. ARM & NECK
The class works with the mobility of the cervical spine in all directions; rotation, lateral movement, supination and extension. It opens up the muscles around the neck, upper back, chest and the muscles in the arms,. It works with and activates the nervous system in the area of the arms through different dynamic movements. The class helps relax tension in the head and face, releasing for example headaches related to tension or from biting teeth together.
The psychological theme “Awareness” guides the participant to a place, where it is easy for them to breathe and where they would feel good being. They are guided to let the feeling of that particular place come closer to them, so they can start sensing the different colors, textures, smells and feelings where they are. The participant is guided to let go of everything else and simply enjoy being there and enjoy the flow of the movements. “Awareness” works especially well for people, who experience anxiety, are stressed or have trouble falling asleep. The theme helps to release physical tension created by stress, and once the physical symptom is released, the feeling of stress is physically released. “Awareness” guides the participant to be aware of bodily reactions and feelings, but also to be aware of how they are feeling.
2. UPPER BACK & NECK
The class works with neck, upper back and shoulder joint, and it also opens up the opposite area of the body to release tension more efficiently. The mobility of the spine is increased, especially in the cervical spine and chest area, by rotation and by bending it forward and backwards. The mobility of the shoulder blades is increased through different strengthening and mobilising exercises.
Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to find moments and methods to relax oneself as the sensory sense is overloaded every day and the body is driven to constantly over-exceed itself. Recovery happens only when we are sleeping, which is rarely enough to recover both mentally and physically. “Relax” theme helps the participant to let go of stress by closing their eyes, letting the mind and the body to rest. The theme works with visual images of melting – what does it look like when something is melting? How would it feel? The participants are guided to visualise the melting of the tight areas in their body, to melt the stress away from the body and the mind. To relax is just letting go – letting yourself melt into time and space.
The physiology of the Chest -class works with the chest area especially through rotation, making it easier for people to breathe – as the muscle groups and the spine around the chest area are physically opened up, it makes it easier for the lungs to fill to their full capacity. The movements focus on opening up the pectoral muscles, the area of the shoulder blades, upper back and the shoulder joints, aiding in the overall well-being of the chest area. Posture is also a focal point, because as the chest opens up and shoulders have the mobility to move further back, the whole posture improves immediately.
The mind and the body are like the two sides of a coin – what happens on the other side, always affects the other side, and breathing is the bridge between the two. When the chest is opened physiologically with different stretching and mobilization exercises, it allows for deeper and calmer breathing, allowing the organs that contribute to breathing to work on fuller capacity. When the mind is calmed down with conscious breathing in itself, allows for physiological tensions to loosen up. “Breathe” as a theme guides towards conscious, deep and calm breathing as breathing is the key to a relaxed state. The participants are guided to breathe toward the tight areas, to release tensions through breathing and to simply feel, how it feels to breathe.
The shoulder joint is moved in circular movements in all the possible directions of the joint, which increase their metabolism and mobility, in order to create healthy shoulders. Chest, shoulder muscles, trapeze muscles, and biceps are opened and activated in different ways. The shoulder joint is freed from restrictions and by the end of the class it moves with less cracks and pops, in a wider range of motion. Everything in the class is done by respecting the range of motion and the feel in the joint by each participant.
”Trust” as psychological theme works with learning to trust one’s physical body, one’s own physical feelings and feedback from the body. The body will guide you to where you need to go and it will tell you, what to do to make it feel better, as long as we stop to listen and feel. When we are given the chance to stop for a while, we can learn to listen and to sense more efficiently, what our bodies are telling us. And once we learn to trust this process, the body will learn to heal itself in a sustainable and natural way. “Trust” guides us, gives courage and tools to face possible aches and pains both in the body and the mind. It guides us to trust our physical feelings, sensory sense and in that sense, to trust in oneself; further from how things and feelings should be and towards what truly feels the best for an individual.
5. LOWER BACK & GLUTES
The lower back and glutes are the focus in this class, and it opens up the ”back chain” of the body, especially through bending the spine forward and backwards. The rotation of the lower part of the spine aids in releasing tension in the muscle groups around the lower back. Hamstrings, inner thighs and glutes are the focus in the Deep Stretching element of the class, but because of how the movements are designed, the upper back and neck, as well as the calves are opened up. This allow for a stronger physiological response to the lower back area.
“Feel” as a psychological theme helps open the connection between the physical and the emotional feelings. The philosophy that Mindful Body is built on, is that all emotions have a physiological response. If a feeling is suffocated, bypassed or denied, the body still stays true to the emotion – the reaction has left an imprint in our body. These emotions build up in our bodies throughout our lives, which start manifesting themselves sooner or later as different psychosomatic symptoms; as colds, headaches, stomach or back pain, as different tightness around the body and in worst cases as heart attacks or cancer. “Feel” as psychological theme gives at its best, tools and practical help to learn to identify different emotions in different parts of the body. It gives the chance to bring emotions to a conscious level, release them physically and psychologically – should the person choose to do so. This allows for release of tensions, aches and pains on all levels, helping to work towards happiness and well-being.
6. LOWER BACK & SIDES
Physiologically the class creates more space to the lower back and to the sides of the body, especially through rotation and lateral movement of the lumbar spine and through that, to the whole body. Through creating more space to the sides of the body and by rotating it, it allows for the lower back to be worked on a deeper level. The class works with hamstrings and glutes, gradually opening up access to the connecting tissue and muscle groups in the pelvic area, especially in the lumbar spine and the sides.
“Space” as a psychological theme works with different images and visualization. Space is created in the body by brining air into it, by “airing out” the body. The participants are given an image, of what a place looks and feels like, which has lots of space in it. By bringing the feeling of being in a spacious place, having the space and the time to breathe, to have the space just to be, it can be a powerful tool in working through feelings of stress and anxiety. It is also effective in opening a tight or a painful area in the body. People who are stressed or feel anxious, often feel like they don’t have time to do everything or be everything they feel they need to do and be. By giving people the feeling of having space and with space comes the feeling of time – to just be, to breathe and enjoy simply being there, the theme “Space” can offer feelings of great relief.
7. HIP & ABDOMEN
The physiology of the class dives deep into the muscles in the pelvic area – especially glutes, inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and the abdomen. The abdomen is strengthened and relaxed in sequence, which helps release tension as one learns to let it relax on a deeper level. The abdomen is also massaged by the person themselves – should they choose to do so – which aids in relaxation and in food digestion, in increasing the metabolism in the body. Many people react to stress or anxious feelings with their stomach, so this class gives an opportunity to learn to relax it, heal it and self-aid in relaxing it in the future. By releasing tensions in the abdomen, the whole pelvic-area releases tensions on a new level and especially the lower back and deeper glute-muscles benefit from this.
In order for the body and the mind to heal, it is essential to be able to accept things as they are. The body as it is now and the feelings one has at the moment. Acceptance is the path to true change – if one doesn’t know exactly wat it is they want to change, how can it be changed? The healing process and change can begin, once we listen to what is the state of our being now and what would make it feel better? Tightness and soreness can be found around the body but only once we start to listen to ourselves, to our bodies, we can understand where they are and possibly why they are there. And in doing so, we may begin to unwind different physiological and emotional knots. “Heal” as a theme helps people accept their bodies as they are now, learn to touch the abdomen with love and care. And once one has courage to do this, it allows for a change in how one perceives themselves – from neagative body image to something more positive and accepting.
8. HIP JOINTS
The physiology of the class focuses on working with the hip joint and increasing its range of motion in all possible directions. Movements are wide so it activates and stretches multiple muscles, that participate in moving the hip joints. Many of the exercises in the class are dynamic stretches, focusing mainly in quadriceps, hamstrings, hip contractors, abductors and adductors and the lower back. The hip joint is stabilized by activating the core and the deep muscles in the pelvic area.
The psychological theme “open” literally opens up the world of images and visualizations. People are guided to open the mind as well as the body, to look inside and to feel what happens inside – open oneself to physical and emotional reactions. By opening the imaginary and visualization, a person can be helped to do in the body what they imagine in the mind – and vice versa. Opening can be thought of as a concrete physical doing, where something that is stuck or blocked or tight is literally being opened up. But it can also be seen as the opening of the mind, of the person themselves, to themselves. One can find and open the connection between the body and the mind by physical doing in combination with the mental imagery.
The physiology works with the glutes on many different levels and in many different directions, helping to activate all areas in the glutes. Glutes are often an area in the body that is very tight, due to a lot of sitting or continuous exercise. Many problems in the lower back and knee area originate from problems in the glutes and the pelvic area. If the glute muscles don’t work in conjunction with leg or core muscles, it inevitably leads to imbalance in the body and the posture, leading to problems in the upper or lower joints in relation to the pelvic area. The class helps regain the balance, to search for areas that are inefficient in activation and areas that are over worked, and to balance these out with precise physical exercises.
“Search” is a psychological theme, which literally helps people to learn to search for what is the best for them. What feels the best for them and what doesn’t, regardless of how things “should be” or “should look like”. Once a person starts actively and consciously searching for what is the best for them, they start actively seeking to a good feeling and what’s right. This search can carry on to life in general – away from the norms of a gender, of an age, of a sport and towards how that individual truly feels and what they feel is the best for them. What makes them feel good and happy inside and outside. “Search” as a psychological theme can be empowering, as one is given the chance to truly follow their own feelings, even in a group setting. It helps the individual to trust their feelings and reactions and to follow their truth, always working from the inside out.
The class works with the thigh area on many levels and also aids in tightnesses in the calf-area and the lower back. The class works with the opposites – by tensing the opposite side of the body, the other side releases tension. And by adding tension, the feeling of release and relaxation becomes stronger. Tightness, tensions and soreness is literally also being shaken out of the body, which imitates different techniques the massage therapists use in releasing tension from their customers body. Physiologically the class “Thighs” helps people, who suffer from lower back and knee problems. It also works for people, who need a method to help thighs recover from heavy strain or to increase the range of motion in order to futher strengthen the muscles.
“Release” helps people to physically release tensions and tightnesses in the body to achieve true states of relaxation, but also with the help of visualization and emotions. To be able to release something physically resonates to being able to do it psychologically. As a participant learns to feel, what it feels like to release tension or pain in the body, the release process is easier to carry to releasing anger or frustration or other negative emotions. This happens precisely because of learning, what it feels like to release and let go of things. The participant is guided to imagine carrying a heavy load and what it feels like to release oneself from it? To visualise, what it feels like when a situation that has caused nervousness and anxiety, suddenly opens up or solves itself? What does it feel like to tense the body and then release all the tension? “Release” as a psychological theme helps to let go of burdens, both emotional and physiological.
The class focuses on the mobility of the spine in all of the directions it moves in; the rotation, lateral movement, extending and bending forward. All of the areas of the spine, the cervical spine, chest area and lower back are all worked on specifically in all these directions. The muscle groups that inhibit the free movement of the spine are opened up, such as the back muscles, the chest muscles, the sides of the body and the pelvic area. To have a healthy spine means to have a mobile spine, but mobility without control creates its own problems. That is why during the “Spine” class the deeper muscle groups that support the movements of the spine are strengthened and all movements are done with control and support. The flow of the movements, where there are no restrictions to a movement and it is done with perfect control, is the focal point in the physiology of this class.
The psychological theme “Flow” describes flow on many levels – the flow of blood in the body and in the muscles, and the flow during a performance, where the mind and the body are one. Flow gives an image of a free flowing stream or a river, that runs completely uninhibited with clear water. Once a stream develops a block, the water turns murky and the flow is blocked. This describes well what happens in a muscle that becomes tense – the blood and oxygen flow are blocked, the muscle doesn’t receive nutrients and the metabolism is slowed down, as well as its ability to produce movement. The participants are guided to use these visualisations of flow during the exercises to help release tension. And in focusing on this image, the body and the mind get a chance to become one in the state of a flow.
12. ANKLE & CALF
The physiology of the class “Ankle & Calf” aids in releasing the mobility of the ankle, the toes and the tightness around the muscle groups of the feet and the calves. The nervous systems in the leg are activated through different pumping motions and it aids in opening up the calves but also the hamstrings on a deeper level. This aids in the well being of the knees and the lower back. Balance is also a key in the class – by activating the small muscle groups of the feet and ankles, they are warmed up and can aid in balance and taking strain off the knee area. The physiology of the class aids in posture, as when the way we stand on our feet affects directly the way we carry ourselves, and this can be improved with the activation and opening of the feet, ankles and calves.
”Energize” is a psychological theme, where participants are guided to activate areas in their bodies and in their minds, and on an emotional level. By consciously activating areas in the body that are less frequently activated, it brings new feelings by giving new bodily sensations. By bringing the participants the physical feelings of balance and being able to do movements with their bodies, they feel in better control of themselves as a whole. “Energize” teaches the participants to feel their bodies more consciously, to use it with more purpose and in the way it feels best for them. To learn the balance between relaxing and tensing, to learn the balance of different positions, to learn the balance between resting and being active. To become energized doesn’t always mean to rest – sometimes feelings of good energy and positivity come through being active and doing things. But it can mean equally, that it is important to rest more in order to become more energised. To learn to listen to one’s body, one’s feelings, to be aware of bodily reactions and signals, gives the chance to know, what is the best thing to do right now to bring oneself more well-being and happiness.