Mind Body Health
Free to YMCA members and non-members, including all members of the publc.
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:
A short talk of 5-10 minutes on a subject of interest to students
A variety of mindful, gentle physical movement forms that can be done in a chair and/or standing. Includes chair yoga, standing yoga, tai chi chih, and other modalities.
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.
Week 1: Sound Bath, Sound Meditation, Sound/Music Therapy
Week 2: Components of Fitness, Fitness Planning for Yourself, Warm-ups, Routines
Week 3: Sleep, Nutrition, Creativity, Lifestyle
Week 4: Yoga Nidra/Relaxation, Breathing, Meditation
Week 5: Open to suggestions
Mind-Body Health - Benefits of Movement and Mindfulness
Most forms of movement offer an opportunity to practice mindful awareness and attention.
The systems of the body do a better job of keeping our bodies and minds functioning well when we exercise regulary.
20 Common Benefits of Daily Phyiscal Activity -
In general, any kind of physical activity is good as long as it doesn't hurt during or after exercise.
How Much Movement Each Day?
Mind-Body Health - Books
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years - Annie Delany, Sarah Delany, Amy Hearth
Live Pain Free - Lee Albert (He also does a PBS show!)
Yoga for Pain Relief - Lee Albert
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition - T. Colin Campbell
Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - Shunryu Suzuki
Food Rules - Michael Pollen
Keep It Moving - Twyla Tharp
The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
Mind-Body Health - Brain & Mind
Museum Exhibit: Diego Rivera's mural, Pan American Unity (1940), is at the SFMOMA! The exhibit has been at CCSF since 1961. The mural is in a free exhibit hall at MOMA, where members of the public will get to see the restoration process and attend other related events.
Article: What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?
Website: Are You Feeling...Stress?...Depression?...Anxious?...Sleepy? (From SFSU, designed for students, but applicable to us all! Includes national crisis and suicide prevention contact information.)
Website: 1degree (Free community resurces - food, housing, emergency services, etc...)
Website: Low Blood Pressure (hypotension)
Website: High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Article: Love and Support from Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
Article: Lifestyle Choices and Brain Health
Article: 12 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young
Article: Emotion Classification (a variety of systems that address this topic)
Article: Label Emotions to Improve Situations (for self, in therapy, in negotiating)
Poem and Article: Ode to My Socks, Pablo Neruda (Gratitude)
Infographic: 6 Benefits of Gratitude
Article: Teen Brains Found in Elderly Dancers One more reason to put on your dancing shoes!
Worksheet: Emotions - Language, Signs, Behaviors
Article: Loving Kindness Meditation
Mind-Body Health - Breathing & Mindful Movement
Article: Tai Chi Chih: Six Healing Sounds
Article: Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing (Information and breathing exercises)
Website: The Benefits of Tai Chi (Research. Tai Chi consists of up to 108 movements.)
Website: 108 (The significance of this number in math, religion, art, sports, cards, and more!)
Website: Tai Chi Chih
Website: The Benefits of Tai Chi Chih (Testimonials. Tai Chi Chih = 19 movements and 1 pose.)
Website: PurpleAir (Check air quality by zip code, more local than AirNow)
Website: AirNow (Check air quality by zip code, city or state)
Article: Preparing for Wildfires
Article: Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke
Article: SF NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) 4 min. video about
Article: Exercising to Relax
Article: The Benefits of Walking Meditation
Link: Walking Meditation
Mind-Body Health - Creating Your Own Fitness Plan
Report: US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed. (Ongoing interest!)
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.
- Do Some Physical Activity Everyday - Guidelines for a Weekly Workout Plan (7 days)
"Cheatsheet": 5 Basic Moves for a Physical Warm Up...Make it Your Own! 5-10 minutes
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.
Shallow knee bends. Both feet stay flat on the floor.
Knee lifts. Alternate legs.
(Substitute tapping toe on floor in place of knee lift if needed.)
Reach leg out to side/bring it in. Alternate legs.
Safe squat. Knees track over feet. Not too deep - mindful of back, knees, ankles.
Be mindful: Do what is comfortable for you without pushing too hard or creating pain, or even a hint of pain.
Consult with your doctor in general about doing cardio exercise. Follow recommendations for managing cardio exercise, especially if you have a chronic condition, or are recovering from illness or injury.
Start with a warm-up for about 5 minutes, then try 5 minues of cardio, then "cool down" for 5 minutes with easy leg motion.
What to do: Dance to your favorite songs, do moves from the warm-up list above--faster and with arm movements over your head...that will make your heart rate go up.
Goal: To breath heavily, but still be able to carry on a limited conversation.
Clear obstacles out of the way in your house, patio, or yard.
Let someone know what you are doing...just in case.
Don't do too much too soon. Gradually increase the length and difficulty of your cardio.
Be sure to hydrate before and after a workout, and throughout the day.
Mind-Body Health - Food
Article: 7 Rules for Eating - About Michale Pollen's Book, Food Rules. "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.")
Article: Foods That Fight Inflammation
Article: Guide to PFCs - Environmental Working Group PFCS are toxic synthetic chemicals used to make things repel water, grease, and stains. Examples: fast-food wrappers, teflon pans, carpets, jackets. How to avoid them?
Article: Can You Overdose on Vitamin D? Includes what this does for the body, sunlight and food sources.
Article: Blue Zones Food Guidelines Plant slant: What the world's longest-lived peoples eat.
Article: Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods.pdf
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 commiting 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."
"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 on-going 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
The San Francisco Botanical Garden, in Golden Gate Park.
"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
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
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 - Sound
Article: Tai Chi Chih: Six Healing Sounds
Article: The Neuroscience of Singing
Music/Video Link: 528 Hz Energy Cleanse
Music/Video Link: 528 Hz Powerful Euphoria Boost
Music/Video Link: Gregorian Chants @ 432 Hz
Music/Video Link: Sound Healing Symphony live at Grace Cathedral
Music /Video Link: 6 Hour Powerful Tibetan Bowl Music
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.
SF Public Library Newsletter: At the Library. Monthly themes. Lots of activities, videos, reading suggestions, for kids and adults!
National Council on Aging (NCOA). Newsletter and informative website: Healthy Living, Healthy Aging, Fall Prevention, Chronic Disease Management, Hunger & Nutrition, Economic Security, Public Policy.
Healthbeat, Harvard Medical School. Articles on a great variety of mind-body issues. Lots of advertising.
Sounds True, online community. Free gifts when you sign-up: Mindfulness Practices and Meditation Music. Lots of advertising.