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Beyond Fitness: Wellness, Balance and Breakthrough. Leena St. Michael, RYT. Learn How Meditation can:. Improve member wellness Increase member satisfaction Raise company profitability Participate in global sustainability and wellness movements (Save the planet?).

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Beyond Fitness: Wellness, Balance and Breakthrough

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Beyond Fitness:Wellness, Balance and Breakthrough

Leena St. Michael, RYT

Learn How Meditation can:

  • Improve member wellness

  • Increase member satisfaction

  • Raise company profitability

  • Participate in global sustainability

    and wellness movements

    (Save the planet?)

Our Present Healthcare Concept Is Outgrown

  • 30 Million people in the USA cannot afford health insurance

  • Those with health insurance, can no longer be assured of complete care

  • The US is 37th in the world in healthcare

  • Child mortality and disease are rising

Healthcare Defined

Healthcare, is the prevention and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by medical, nursing and allied health-professionals. --Wikipedia 2007

Physical Fitness

A general state of good health, usually as a result of exercise and nutrition. –per Wikipedia 2007

Wellness--West Chester University

Wellness is a dynamic process whereby individuals and communities become aware and make positivechoices in creating and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Wellness is the understanding and integration of the relationship of mind, body and spirit into one's philosophy of living.

Wellness-National Wellness Assoc.

Wellness is an active process

of becoming aware

and making choices

toward a more successful existence. 

People Want Wellness…

…beyond “healthcare” and “fitness”.

Process, Awareness, Choices, Success

  • Active Process—We can always improve. The process is continuous and conscious.

  • Awareness —We continuously seek more information/options about how we can improve.

  • Choices —We consider and select from a variety of options.

  • Success —One’spersonal life accomplishments (and path are unique—Leena).

Wellness is…

…Self-Health—taking responsibility for one’s lifestyle, diet, fitness and professional healthcare services.

Self-Health = Self Actualization

Abraham Maslow regarded self-actualization as the ultimate human need;

a positive growth tendency thatdrives us from within to fuller development.

--Dr. James R. Rini

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Six Dimensions of Wellness

  • Physical

  • Environmental

  • Social

  • Intellectual

  • Emotional

  • Spiritual

Physical Fitness

is affected by emotional, spiritual, environmental, social and intellectual dimensions.

Its all inter-connected.

Where do people take their first step to wellness?

Hint: It’s not the doctor’s office.

The Fitness Club.

No wonder the leading edge fitness clubs are becoming wellness centers.

There is an opportunity to not only capitalize on radical culture change…but help to create it.

Benefits of Meditation through Change: Life “Process”.

  • The Change Cycle

  • Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief

  • Change Communication Model

  • Ancient Yin-Yang Diagram for Change and Balance

“Our World is Changing More Rapidly”

“Success and fulfillment--your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being--depend on how well you adapt to change.”

According to Interchange International, Inc. developer of The Change Cycle

The Change Cycle Indicates--

  • Life is always changing

  • Some phases are uncomfortable

  • Avoiding discomfort or being unaware can be dangerous

  • Discovery is on the other side of discomfort

Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief

Kubler-Ross (1973) On Death & Dying, Routledge, London

Kubler Ross Stages of Grief per U. S. Military Diagram

Loss of a loved one, Trauma, Natural Disaster, Moving…

Sudden, radical and unexpected change requires strategies to:

  • Re-energize

  • Restore balance

  • Reflect/integrate/accept

Got Resistance? It’s a sign of change.

The secret of change is tofocus all your energy,not on fighting for the old,but on building the new. - Socrates

--Build the new, we must, and quickly. But what if we’re too exhausted to build something new?

When We Resist or Lack Awareness or Resources to Change

An overload of tension and stress can lead to the “Danger Zone”.

“Up to 90% of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by stress-related illness, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Recovery before Discovery

Living in constant tension is like leaving the lights on in your car overnight:

You are powerless to go anywhere until you recharge the battery.

Signs of The Danger Zone

  • Physical—Exhaustion, disease, immune system compromised, resources depleted

  • Environmental— Wasteful, over-use of conveniences, no energy to develop sustainable lifestyle solutions

  • Social—Loss of relationships, career, increased crime, accidents

  • Intellectual—Impaired problem-solving, mental confusion, reacting vs. responding

  • Emotional—Angry, depressed, panic-attacks, feeling helpless, radical behavior

  • Spiritual—Lack of creativity, values compromised


  • Accept the need to change (surrender)

  • Rest

  • Release Tension

  • Realize underlying emotions

  • Identify “stressors”

  • Integrate/learn lessons

  • Clean house/detox—mentally, physically

  • Assess core values

Meditative States Assist Recovery

  • Reduce stress, relieve tension quickly

  • Rejuvenate the body

  • Facilitate healing

  • Aid chemical detoxification

  • Dissolve addictions

  • Clarify values and priorities

  • Illuminate choices

  • Lower blood pressure

Meditation builds awareness “muscle”.


The intention of yoga is wellness and self-actualization through time spent in meditative states.

Yoga is the oldest system of mind/body/spirit excellence

Meditation is not “Stopping Thoughts”

It’s about stopping thought-waves.

There is a correlation between breath and thought-waves.

In deep relaxation one can…

Slow the breath…

Slow the thought-waves.

Slow the Thought-Waves and Practice Focus…

…one gains present moment awareness.

Present Moment Awareness…

The ability to name your mental, emotional and physical state of being in the moment enables choice.

Choice is essential to creating wellness.

Choice is freedom.

"Yoga serves the individual through inviting transformation rather than by giving information."

-T.K.V. Desikachar

But isn’t meditation…doing nothing?

Hardly. Meditative states require:

  • Physical health, especially spinal alignment, strength and flexibility (yoga asana practice)

  • Living in one’s core values

  • Control of breath (prana/ki/chi)

  • Ability to focus on one thing

  • Practice to achieve deep relaxation and release tension at will

Yogis don’t “do” meditation…

They land there.

Will Meditation Make Me Lazy?

Meditation Inspires Action—Right Action

Meditation practice is the fastest route to the most consistently effective and timely choices and actions.

Deep relaxation learned in yoga meditation practice is the quickest way to renew body, mind and spirit.

Can we minimize the energy drain of dramatic change cycles?


  • Master life balance

  • Live from vision/life Purpose

The only way to get out of change—is to get into it!

What if we were aware of excess tension or discomfort as an early sign of change instead of something to be fixed or denied?

Learn How to Live in Balance

The sooner we become awarethat discomfort indicates we're out of balance, the sooner we can implement strategies to re-balance, re-energize and move into wellness.

Change is the Only Constant

  • The ancient Taoist “Yin Yang” symbol represents the balance of opposites in the universe.

  • When they are equally present, all is calm.

  • When one outweighs the other, there is confusion and disarray.

  • The two swirling shapes inside the symbol denote change; the only constant in life.

Living in Balance…

  • Western life the values “Yang” side of life.

  • Rest and reflection are nearly lost in our culture.

  • Fitness clubs emphasize action, hard bodies, excitement, fast pace, heavy-metal music and the extreme heat of saunas, tanning booths, steam rooms and whirlpools. Members are inside, not connected to nature.

Living in Balance

Is it surprising that fitness clubs lose member retention to yoga studios, meditation centers, spas and wellness centers?

Living in Balance…

What if personal trainers, life coaches and yoga teachers assessed members for life balance and clubs provided a balanced array of wellness opportunities?

Regular Meditation practice…

  • Cultivates the inner awareness to sense

    early out-of-balance signs

  • Guides one to positive self-health choices

    to re-balance and improve

  • Increases “Yin” (counter-balance to “Yang”)

    --Inward, Quiet, Slow, Cool, Restorative

Benefits of living in balance…

  • Steady, abundant energy--fewer “sick” days

  • Increased creativity and productivity

  • Reservoir of energy for crisis

  • Steadier emotions--fewer highs and lows

  • Efficient functioning of internal organs

  • Stronger immune system

  • More joy and harmony

The Global Human Sustainability Crisis is literally forcing us to learn to live in wellness…NOW.

We’re in a crisis of human culture.

The unsustainable lifestyle of humans

with population explosion since 1930

has created a crisis of environmental

pollution and resource depletion.

The Solutions per “The 11th Hour”…

  • Awareness of severe crisis to humanity and ability to change in time to restore

  • Awareness that all life is inter-connected

  • Need to re-vision our entire way of life

We must re-create our entire way of living…now.

“There is a vital, thriving movement in the works, a global desire to re-imagine mankind's relationship with the environment.”

--Paul Hawken is one of 50 global experts featured in “The 11th Hour” movie. An award-winning environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author, Hawken dedicates his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. Bio at

What does this have to do with Meditation?

Scientists have discovered that super-slow thought-waves, the Theta and Delta Waves recorded during deep meditation, lead to breakthrough creativity.

Brainwaves and Consciousness

  • Beta--normal waking state of mind.

  • Alpha--daydreams or meditation.

  • Theta--deep meditation, sleep, shamanic activity.

  • Delta--deep sleep and profound states of meditation and healing.

Profound Relaxation/Meditation Increases Creativity

“It is a well known and well studied fact that profound relaxation (such as meditation) can increase and enhance creativity. When certain brainwave patterns are created, visualization becomes vivid, memories flow easier and you can more easily approach ideas from different perspectives. In addition to this, creating brainwaves that are normally produced during sleep can act to "reset" the brain.”

The Power of Group Practice

Studies have proven: When groups practice yogic meditation techniques together, moving into deep relaxation with stillness of body and mind with complete awareness,

there is a positive affect on the

individual, the group, and the

social harmony of the entire community.

Common Passion .org

Power of Group Meditation with Intention…

“There is more and more evidence that… if one person has power with intention, from the Random Event Generators (we learn that), all of us are effecting things all the time by our collective thinking. It means we all have to get together and think the same good things all the time. “

--Lynn McTaggart, on Quantum Physics from "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

Group Meditation Amplifies and Accelerates:

  • Positive Outlook

  • Reduced reactivity

  • Breakthrough creativity

  • Timely responsiveness

  • Increased productivity

  • Social Harmony

Meditation is a Practice, Not an Achievement

One cannot fail at meditating.

Yoga Practice for Meditation Facilitates:

  • Shift from Healthcare to Wellness

  • Resistance to Recovery

  • Recovery to Discovery

  • Tension to Relaxation

  • Instability to Balance

  • Crisis to Creative Breakthrough

  • Mis-alignment to harmony with core values, passion and nature.

Physical Health Benefits

  • Improved circulation, respiration

    digestion, etc.

  • Improved coordination

  • Awareness aiding self-diagnosis

  • Pain Management

  • Reduced healing time

Spiritual Benefits

  • Ability to tap creative gifts

  • Receptivity to intuition

  • Enhanced appreciation/gratitude for life

  • Sense of sacredness, compassion and


  • Clarity to walk in one’s own footsteps

Living in Wellness “Success”

  • When one is in balance with abundant energy…

  • And regularly practices deep meditative relaxation states, particularly in groups…

  • With willingness to act only from clarity, "The Surrender Zone”,…

  • One becomes aware of talents, inspiration and passion…

  • And ventures into possibility, creativity and discovery of THE NEW WAY.

  • Becoming productive, enthusiastic and peaceful.

Key Points

  • We’re in a time of radical change

  • Deep states of relaxation/meditation achieved through yoga practices are key to wellness, health, balance and breakthrough creativity for life excellence

  • Fitness clubs can be leaders in wellness of members and communities through group meditation practice

Where do we go from here?

  • Thoughts, impressions, possibilities?

  • Who else should see this presentation?

  • How might yoga classes serve members?

    • Gentle Yoga

    • Restorative Yoga

    • Relaxation/Meditation 101

  • How might we expand the concept of personal training?

  • How might this organization retain, attract and better serve members while increasing revenue by an expanding focus on wellness, balance and creative breakthrough?

  • How might this organization or corporate clients benefit from meditation for creativity/re-visioning?

Leena St. Michael, RYT

  • Teaches yoga/meditation today at 24 Hour Fitness, ClubOne, M. A. Center and San Francisco Cty. Jail.

  • Has facilitated radical individual, leadership, corporate and community transformation and organizational development for 20 years

  • Led Mid-Week Mindfulness Meditation Program at Stanford University Hospital while an Interfaith chaplain

  • Began guiding group meditation and “Life Visioning” in 1994 at Agape International Spiritual Center, Los Angeles, CA (taught by founder Dr. Michael Beckwith “The Secret”)

  • Trained in mindfulness meditation of Jon Cabot Zinn for pain management at Stanford Complementary Medicine Center

  • Was the most angry, anxious, ADD person on the planet. “If I can relax and meditate, anyone can!”

  • More on Leena…

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