Module 3: Harnessing the Body

The "mind" is a tool, as, too, the body and natural world can be important tools to cope with stress, the challenges of a pandemic, and the challenges of life.  This module highlights/leverages  the mind-body relationship, or "connection," and nature's impact on cognitive restoration. In this module you will:

  • Evaluate your personal beliefs about physical health.
  • Contemplate and discuss psychology-based insights and recommendations related to physical activity/exercise, the embodied mind and illness, behavior change, emotion, nature, and cognitive restoration
  • Reflect on experiences of yoga and/or self-massage techniques and deliberately spending time in nature. 
  • INQUIRE: What are your health beliefs? Take the questionnaire by joining our Free Canvas course. Not all of us get as much physical activity as we should.  During the pandemic with gyms closed and group workouts not advised, there is a chance we may get more sedentary. Regardless of your current level of activity, IF YOU were to get very sedentary in the next three months, how likely would the events in the questionnaire be and how severe the consequences?
  • ACT: Spending time to focus on nature is a key part of coping. For this assignment, go outside and find examples of nature. Pick your best views, sights, etc.  You can draw or take pictures.  The key is to focus on nature for some time. Perhaps a long walk in the woods or any natural area that you have access to. If limited in travel, zoom in on the grass or moss around where you live.  Pick a favorite nature sight or sound and upload a picture/sound file (e.g., of the ocean or rushing water) with a brief description of how it makes you feel.
  • PRACTICE: Embodiment practices come in all sorts of varieties and for many levels of physical capability.  We've provided a range of 4 yoga practices below - for different levels of experience, ability and mood, in addition to 4 videos instructing self-massage techniques.  Please explore the practices that seem most appropriate and interesting to you - and repeat the ones that are the best fit 2-3 times this week before reflecting on the questions below. 

YOGA

  1. Restorative Yoga  Sequence 20:55 (V) Summary:  Very simple postures for most anyone with basic movement abilities.  This sequence utilizes a yoga block, a bolster, and a firm blanket.  Pillows can potentially be used to substitute  the bolster, and a firm blanket roll can be used to substitute for the yoga block.
  2. Gentle Yoga Sequence 11:35 (V) Summary: Very simple postures for most anyone with basic movement abilities.
  3. Introduction to Yoga 9:27 (V) Summary: Basic yoga postures for generally healthy bodies with no injuries. 
  4. Sun Salutation A 8:26 (V) Summary: Flow yoga sequence for generally healthy bodies with no injuries. 

SELF-MASSAGE

  1. Feet, Hands & Calves Self-Massage (V) 13:45 (Requires 2 tennis or pinky balls)
  2. Hip & Low Back Self-Massage (V) 13:24 (Requires 2 tennis or pinky balls)
  3. Upper Back & Shoulders Self-Massage (V) 10:20 (Requires 2 tennis or pinky balls)
  4. Head, Neck & Shoulders Self-Massage(V) 10:18
  • REFLECT on the following questions: 

  1. How did the yoga/embodiment practices this week go for you?  What did you notice?  What did you find challenging and/or helpful?

  2. What other types of embodiment activities or exercise routines might you engage in? 

  3. Do you have trouble motivating yourself to exercise most days of the week?  Based on this week's reading on behavior change (Chapter 7 of Dr. Gurung's Health Psychology), what might you do to keep yourself inspired and active?