Mind Body Health


Class: Mind-Body Health 

Mondays, 1-2:40 pm.

 Free, ongoing, in-person classes at Stonestown YMCA  Annex.  


Free to YMCA members and non-members, including all members of the public.

Please come to class at least 15 minutes before start time to present your proof-of-vaccination and the YMCA will give you a card to use for future classes. Masks. Distancing. Ventilation. Hand sanitizer, hand-washing.

Hosted by the Stonestown YMCA, funded by the SF Department of Disability and Aging Services through the Dignity Fund.

Each weekly Mind-Body Health class usually includes:

 Weekly Topics for Short Talks:

Based on feedback collected from class members. Be sure to let me know if you have something you would like to know more about.

Each Month 

Mind-Body Health - Benefits of Movement and Mindfulness

Most forms of movement offer an opportunity to practice mindful awareness and attention. 

By participating in physical activities we positively impact our minds and all systems of our bodies, increasing health, vitality, and quality of life. Focused physical activity trains our bodies and minds so that we can function better in our daily lives.

The systems of the body do a better job of keeping our bodies and minds functioning well when we exercise regulary.

These systems overlap and work together, and include:

20 Common Benefits of Daily Physical Activity - 

In general, any kind of physical activity is good as long as it doesn't hurt during or after exercise. 

Consistent exercise over time enhances health at any weight, ability, or age. The most benefit is achieved by participating in a variety of exercise that includes training for aerobic endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, and mindful attention. Including relaxation, breathing, and meditation exercises further assists with stress reduction and may enhance our performance in the physical and mental activities we perform each day.

It's best to participate in a variety of activities that you enjoy on a daily basis! The variety is good for our bodies and brains, so try new things. This includes daily chores (cleaning, gardening, puttering around), movement classes at home or in gyms/studios, and other outdoor activities (biking, pickleball, surfing, tennis, hiking). Walking is an excellent activity to include in a daily routine.

Additionally, sitting for long periods of time is not beneficial to our bodies or minds. Frequent breaks, or "exercise snacks" (5-10 minutes of some sort of movement) do wonders for the body and mind. Also, try to do some computer/desk work standing at a counter or elevated desk instead of being seated.

How Much Movement Each Day?

Start where you are and gradually build up to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day for adults and 60 minutes for children, including both low-intensity and high-intensity activities appropriate for the individual. These times are what I consider the barest minimum. Really, 2-4 times that amount of time on most days is not a bad goal, spread out over the day. Be sure not to over-do the high-intensity activities, to gradually build up over time, and to have 3 "easy" days each week when less exercise is done so that the body can recover and grow stronger.


Check with your doctor or other health professional before beginning a new exercise program.

Mind-Body Health - Books

Mind-Body Health - Brain & Mind

Mind-Body Health - Breathing & Mindful Movement

Mind-Body Health - Creating Your Own Fitness Plan

This is a long report. I recommend you read the sections for adults, older adults, and for special conditions. Look at the table of contents to see what pages to go to. The report is loaded with useful information that is not only beneficial for our own health, but also for those we care about---friends and family. Exercise is key: Maybe you can get someone to exercise with you on Zoom, or, in a COVID-safe manner as restrictions lessen.

Reminders: Easy does it, awareness of body and breath, make movements larger/smaller according to your needs. No pain.

Add arm movements of your choice. If needed, hold on to a wall, table, or chair for balance.

 The  moves: 

(Substitute tapping toe on floor in place of knee lift if needed.)

Mind-Body Health - Food

Mind-Body Health - Lend a Helping Hand


Volunteering to help others is a valuable way to spend your time. You can help family, friends, neighbors, neighborhood organizations, political causes, schools...the list goes on and on. You can help by doing a variety of things, from making phone calls to helping in person at a food bank or tutoring someone who is learning to read...and there is a lot more. Stay safe, ask a lot of questions before committing yourself, and consider volunteering with a friend. "Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits" describes the mental, physical, and social benefits of aging and outlines ways to find a volunteer setting that suits you.


Be sure to thoroughly check out organizations before donating any money. Be clear when you donate that you indicate whether you want to make a "one-time donation", or, an "ongoing monthly donation". 

Below are some organizations that I trust. Let me know if you have information that indicates that any specific organization might be untrustworthy. Most of them have opportunities for you to volunteer or make donations. If you have any suggestions regarding other organizations, let me know!


"Red Cross volunteers and staff work to deliver vital services – from providing relief and support to those in crisis, to helping you be prepared to respond in emergencies."

Story: American Red Cross donates $10 Million Dollars for Ukraine Crisis Relief

"We’re on a mission to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities."

"We support individuals who find connecting within the community challenging. Institute on Aging’s 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities. We also make ongoing outreach calls to lonely older adults. While there are other organizations that respond to the needs of people who may be contemplating suicide, none provides the type of services that IOA’s Friendship Line offers to respond to the public health problem of suicide among the elderly. Knowing that older people do not contact traditional suicide prevention centers on a regular basis even if they are considering suicide, we created the only program nationwide that reaches out to lonely, depressed, isolated, frail and/or suicidal older adults. Our trained volunteers specialize in offering a caring ear and having a friendly conversation with depressed older adults."

 TOLL FREE - 800.971.0016

"Now, more than ever, it’s critical to get food out to the community. Being an essential service provider, the Food Bank is fully operational. We can’t do it without your help..."

"As a volunteer you are on the front lines; working one on one with LGBTQ young people to help them navigate tough times and to prevent suicide."

"Explore hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities in cause areas like health and medicine, education, and community building that you can do from a computer, from home or any other preferred location."

"Over eight decades, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has built an unprecedented global support system for the world’s children. UNICEF relentlessly works day in and day out to deliver the essentials that give every child an equitable chance in life: health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children. Together, we have helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization."

Mind-Body Health - Physical Activity Guidelines

 US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed.  

This is a long report. I recommend you read the sections for adults, older adults, and for special conditions. Look at the table of contents to see what pages to go to. The report is loaded with useful information that is not only beneficial for our own health, but also for those we care about---friends and family. 

Exercise is key!

Mind-Body Health - Poetry

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.

Because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi 

(1207-1273, Persia)

translation by Coleman Barks

Over the years, this poem has inspired me to keep moving forward in life, to keep hope, to keep creating, to keep loving, to remember that life is so very full, and to do the best I can with whatever comes my way. I always laugh at the second line, “Every morning a new arrival”, because, in my life, there seems to be a new arrival every few hours!

Mind-Body Health - Recent & Upcoming Topics

Mind-Body Health - Websites, Free Newsletters

These newsletters contain interesting and useful free content for mind-body books, music, workshops, and classes. If you care to have the extra email and information, you can register by giving them your email address.