The Mind Body Connection
PREMIUM CONTENT for MEMBERS ONLY
By Nicole Winhoffer
Let’s talk about mind-body connection. If you are reading this post, then you know very well that there is a connection between your mind and gut. Did you know you have more brain neurons in your stomach than your brain? In the same way that the body affects the mind, the mind affects the body. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think. Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). Our thoughts affect our physical health. Our neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals from our nerves to our cells, create communication between our brain and every cell in our body. They control essentially all of our body’s functions, from feeling happy to regulation of hormones to how we deal with our stress. Our thoughts create things – they are also likely creating every issue we have in our health journeys.
Starting my career on Broadway, I trained my body not just physically; but mentally. I knew that whatever my mind could conceive, I could achieve. I built my own mind-body connection through exercises and repetition that kept my brain and body healthy and strong. After developing my programming, I saw a need to everybody to have access to this information.
We are told to get 30 minutes of exercise in and to eat well if we want to be healthy. But what if our thoughts and emotions are getting in the way of making those very simple decisions toward health? I’ve dedicated my career to answering one simple question, “What if we are ignoring the key pieces of ourselves that actually create total health and fitness?”
Research shows that psychological stress directly affects our neurotransmitters, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These neurochemical changes put our body in a defense mode to deal with the stressors, which raise our blood pressure, so we can respond faster. This is all-natural response to protect us, but the chronic elevations of these neurotransmitters will weaken the immune system, and we are more likely to get a chronic disease.
And the opposite is true too. People who aren’t easily stressed actually resist illnesses, cope with adversity, and recover more quickly because they are able to maintain and manage their stress levels well. By managing our thoughts, we are able to manage our biological stress levels, and actually control neurochemical transmissions in the body. The power of a thought, therefore, cannot be underestimated in the mind-body connection.
So, what does all this have to do with physical fitness? Everything.
I’m redefining fitness. I’ve developed a total body wellness program called the NW Method and it focuses on bridging the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health for every “body.” It incorporates repetition, the chakra system, and steady-state cardio to induce muscle memory and reshape the mind, body, and spirit. Aside from the physical aspect of fitness, my method also takes into account the importance of our spirituality. Each workout is intentionally designed into 7 different sections, targeting each one of our chakras. The chakra system is the energy center of our body. Each section is formatted to open the corresponding chakra and bring balance to our body. Routines are specially tailored to each individual core chakra, tutoring you in the correct methods of opening, unblocking and aligning your chakras. In doing so, you open yourself up to self-exploration, providing you with the opportunity to better understand yourself.
As each human has their own unique, natural shape and inner composition, NW Method increases results tailored to your own personal best. Our body is connected to our thoughts, emotions, and spirit and absolutely everything is energy. The NW Method focuses on rejuvenating the energy centers in the body. Our mind-body connection is central to our health and our Chakra System is where the most important benefits come from. Without balanced, harmonious energy, our minds, bodies, internal organs, tissue, and muscles could not function. Each chakra is responsible for corresponding muscle groups and internal organs that are connected to each other.
When a chakra is out of balance, your body will reflect it – and, in turn, will show in your life through your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions. When your life is out of balance, it usually means your chakras are not balanced. What is going on “inside” of us, is often reflected outside in our lives. We are mirrors to our circumstance. Each chakra has a focus and responsibility.
Taking care of your mind, body and soul is absolutely imperative, while also dedicating time to yourself, so you can be the best version of yourself possible. Without taking care of your mind and soul, you will never be able to truly appreciate and thank yourself for the progress you were able to make with your physical strength and physique.
Check out the “Fundamentals” video below if you’re interested in practicing these exercises to begin building a better you!
Nicole Winhoffer is a world-renowned fitness artist, First Brand Ambassador for Adidas x Stella McCartney, and creator of her own workout brand, The NW Method.