Exercise — The Eunique Way
The physical benefits of movement therapy include:
- greater ease and range of movement
- increased balance, strength and flexibility
- improved muscle tone and coordination
- joint resiliency
- cardiovascular conditioning
- enhanced athletic performance
- stimulation of circulation
- prevention of injuries
- greater longevity
- pain relief
- relief of rheumatic, neurological, spinal, stress
- relief of respiratory disorders
Movement therapy can also be used as a meditation practice to quiet the mind, foster self-knowledge, and increase awareness. In addition, movement therapy is beneficial in alleviating emotional distress that is expressed through the body. These conditions include eating disorders, excessive clinging, and anxiety attacks. Since movements are related to thoughts and feelings, movement therapy can also bring about changes in attitude and emotions. People report an increase in self-esteem and self-image.
WHO CAN LEARN Eunique SELF-RELEASE?
Eunice has compiled a gentler form of self-maintenance that is summed up in the following excerpt from the book Touch For Life by Dr. Robert C. Fulford, D.O.
“In the last two decades some Americans have become so crazy about exercise that they don’t realize how crazy they really are. People have taken a good idea and pushed it to such an extreme that some of them are hurting their bodies much more than helping them.
I see this happening in sport after sport. For example, quite a number of people currently lift free weights or work out on machines until their bodies become as hard as bricks. Why do they do this? The body as a difficult time breathing when it’s so tight.
Worse problems occur if, after building yourself up for years, you suddenly stop.
The body always accustoms itself to a pattern of exercise. So when you stop cold, you’re asking for trouble. Conventional wisdoms says that the muscles turn to fat, but that’s not so. Much more devastating results take place, because an abrupt halt can lead to a weakness, meaning that sometime in the future, when you need to pick up a heavy object, you won’t be able to do it. In fact, if people who have lifted weights throughout their lives stop their routine suddenly they may well end up in worse shape than those who’ve never touched a single weight.
The same is true for professional athletes, who spend far too much time repeating the same exercises, and then, once their career ends, stoop altogether. Later in life they wonder why their health is faltering. Problems may not appear for as many as thirty years, but when they do, they can manifest themselves as a weakness in the cardiovascular system or perhaps as arthritis. Why? The constant repetitive exercise once kept all the blood vessels and the capillaries open, nourishing the athlete, but when the athlete stopped exercising, those capillaries started to clog, inflaming the bony structure. Such a condition may start off rather mildly, but when full blown, that’s arthritis.
Aerobics can be a helpful exercise, stimulating the body’s respiration. But aerobics can also be problematic if they aren’t done in moderation. The key words here are attention and intention. When you set out to accomplish something, you must first focus your attention on what you want to accomplish. After that, you have to keep you intention clear, to accomplish the thought pattern behind your actions.
Presumably, you’re performing aerobics to move your body and increase your heart rate, so you must pay attention to every step and every movement. Most people don't. They get carried away with the music and the instructor’s orders and they stretch their bodies further and further until, snap! there goes the foot, and the ankle twists. They lost sight of their original intention which was to improve their health.
I can’t tell you how many people have come to me with injuries they’ve sustained doing aerobics. The oddest part is, once they’ve recovered, many of them go right back to their classes and hurt themselves again.
My experience has taught me that, of all the common exercises, stretching is the most helpful. If you stretch for ten minutes every day while paying attention to the rhythm of your breath and its movement through your body, you’ll end up better toned and with a healthier exercise pattern one that your nervous system can accept your whole life long than if you took four aerobics a week.
Many doctors tell people of my age, or people fifty years younger, that walking is the perfect exercise. Walking can indeed be helpful for many people, but I’ve never had time to do much walking myself. But, more important, there is no perfect exercise. Every one of us is an individual, our bodies make different demands. The one thing we all need, though, is some kind of work for our breath and stretching.
Sometimes my patients tell me about some new study they’ve read that swears that everyone has to get a half an hour of vigorous exercise five times a week, or that we must all walk until we perspire, or that everyone’s heart has to pump a certain number of times per minutes. I dismiss it as one of the flaws in our educational system. So many people are struggling to get their PhD in order to find a job. And all of them are being forced to come up with a new theory and to publish one exhaustive paper after another. But rarely do they say much of worth...Most of them contradict either what’s been said before or what’s said later.
Shun these fitness rules. The most important factor in finding the right exercise is whether you enjoy it. Otherwise you won’t do it, or if you do, you’ll have it and eventually associate something as important as exercise with negative feelings.
There’s nothing wrong with vigorous activity as long as it’s right for you. But it often isn’t. I know some people who’ve taken up running who don’t ever want to stop, even when their knees start giving way.
Sometimes their doctors tell them not to worry: if it gets bad, they say, we’ll just put in an artificial joint. But is that what you really want? An artificial joint? Although the artificial knees seem sound to me, artificial hip joints aren’t. They produce wear and tear on the boney structure until it deteriorates, and pretty soon you’re in as much pain as you were before that hip went in.
Don’t worry about how much time exercise should take, either. Ten minutes a day of stretching has helped me reach ninety. The most important part of exercise isn’t quantity, but regularity. Try to set a specific time for exercise every day, and do it consistently at that time. It’s like always eating at a certain hour, the nervous system gets accustomed to it. And when you’ve developed a regular pattern, your healhty practice becomes automatic.
There is one form of exercise that can benefit a wide variety of people: yoga. Because it’s meditative, yoga allows you to feel sensations in your body, such as the rearrangement or shifting of the muscles. And as you’re observing these sensations, you can’t help but also observe your breath and notice which part of the body is responding to the breath at that moment.
The only problem I see with yoga is that, like everything else in this country, people seem to want to do it better, do it harder, do it longer than anyone else. They end up stretching beyond the limit of their abilities, and soon they hurt themselves. Please, proceed at your body’s pace, not that of your teacher’s.”
—From Dr. Fulford’s book Touch of Life