Mentastics is an invented word, created by Dr. Milton Trager to explain the mind/body connection. Mental (mind) plus Gymnastics (body movements) equals Mentastics.
Mentastics are a tool to consciously re-pattern through movement. When we engage in new movements, the mind is interested because it loves novelty. Repeating a new pattern of movement builds new pathways in the nervous system allowing change to occur. Movement becomes easier, and the mind learns to pause.
Why Minute Mentastics®?
From the minute we are born, our mind and our body are learning, growing, adapting, and responding to stimuli. The mind and body are intimately connected, and build patterns of response to both what is happening to us from the world around us, as well as what is happening inside us. We experience something physically and the mind has a story about it. We think about something and the body responds.
When we experience a frightening incident, the physical body responds by engaging the fight/ flight/ freeze mechanism preparing for danger. Heart rate and respiration increase, as the nervous system sends signals to the parts of the brain needed to fight or flee the situation. A third option is sometimes triggered and the mind freezes, the body feeling incapable of moving. These same physical responses occur if we simply think about a frightening incident.
The opposite effects happen when we have a pleasant experience. The physical body relaxes, heart rate and respiration slow, as the nervous system sends signals to the parts of the brain involved in creativity and analysis. These same physical responses occur if we simply recall a pleasant experience.
When there is a physical injury or limitation to movement, the rest of the body responds by developing a pattern of accommodating the restriction. This accommodating pattern becomes the new way of moving, and often lingers subconsciously after the injury or limitation is repaired.
When a pattern becomes part of our life for a long enough period of time, we no longer consciously notice it. Bringing conscious awareness to patterns of movement allows us the option to choose to alter a pattern that may no longer be effective in our daily life. Bringing conscious awareness to patterns of movement also allows us to remember ease and peace.