In meditation, the objective is to achieve calmness and restore mental efficiency by bringing the mind into a state of balance. A more recent approach called Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) is based on the theory that calming the mind begins with calming the body. As a holistic meditation technique, IBMT aims to acquire the benefits associated with meditation in a very short period of time.
Integrative Body-Mind Awareness
IBMT is modern form of meditation based on traditional Chinese medicine, Taoism and Confucianism (the philosophical teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius). This method was developed and studied by Dr. Yi-Yuan Tang — a professor at the Institute of Neuroinformatics and Laboratory for Body in Mind in Dalian, China.
Unlike other meditation techniques that require long term commitment, body-mind awareness is designed to achieve immediate results after short training periods — typically 20 minutes per day for 5 days.
Generally guided by external instruction using audio recordings, or in training classes by a meditation coach, practitioners close their eyes and use progressive breathing and imagery techniques to accumulate the ability to reach a deeper state.
In theory, this technique does not require any effort to release or transcend thought. Control of the mind comes naturally through posture, breathing, relaxation and body-mind harmony. Awareness of the body, and conscious breathing is a gateway to the relaxation response. A degree of heightened coherence arises in the sensations of the body and is eventually translated through the mind.
IBMT is designed for adults as well as children. For children, health and wisdom are the two levels of training. For adults there are three levels of training.
The three levels of adult training include:
Body-Mind Health → Achieved through body relaxation
Body-Mind Balance → Achieved through mental imagery
Body-Mind purification → Achieved through mindfulness
Adults who master these three levels can apply to become a coach.
Benefits of Integrative Body-Mind Training
When conscious focus is applied to the brain, your mind becomes calmer and your emotional state becomes grounded. This is the result of the neural connections being strengthened and becoming more resilient to turbulence or negative emotional response.
Most participants in body awareness meditation techniques notice a significant decrease in daily stress, anxiety, symptoms of depression, anger and fatigue.
Some other benefits include:
- Decrease in negative emotional response
- Increased attention span
- Improved social behavior and ability to hold conversation
- Less prone to tension
- Mental resilience
Additional resources to help you practice body awareness and breathing meditation:
- Meditation and Mental Resilience
- Body Awareness Technique
- Relaxation Breathing Exercise
- The Relationship Between Body Awareness and Emotion