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Exploring Yoga and Mindful Movement with Kristine Weber

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By Sofia Health Staff on February, 16 2024
Exploring Yoga and Mindful Movement with Kristine Weber

Kristine Kaoverii Weber, MA, C-IAYT, eRYT500 is a leading world authority on the neuroscientific benefits of slow, mindful movement and an advocate for the use of these practices as a solution to the healthcare crisis. With nearly 30 years of experience in yoga and holistic healing, she leads the Subtle® Yoga Revolution, offering online courses and training for yoga teachers, and has addressed the U.S. Congress on the benefits of yoga therapy. She shares her expertise in this exclusive interview with Sofia Health. 

What is mindful movement? Is it different from mindful yoga?

For me, mindful movement is a term I often use interchangeably with mindful yoga, depending on who I'm talking to. I think it's important to tailor the language to the audience's familiarity with or preconceptions about yoga. Regardless of the theoretical nuances, the shared benefit is a deeper understanding of mindfulness. The potential difference might hinge on the idea of certain poses influencing energy patterns. In essence, slow mindful movements, whether labeled as yoga or not, offer tangible benefits.  


How does yoga help our mind, emotions, body, and energy?

Let's break down how yoga helps our mind, emotions, body, and energy:

  • Mind: Yoga is fundamentally a practice for the mind. It influences the mind through both top-down processes, such as yoga postures and meditation, enhancing executive functions like focus and decision-making, and bottom-up processes, like mindful movement and breathing practices, creating mental-emotional balance.
  • Body: Yoga's impact on the body is profound. It uses poses to balance the neuroendocrine system, providing a sense of agency and control over emotions. By practicing mindfulness and concentration, we use the mind to shape the body, brain, and nervous system, recognizing the distinction between the mind and the brain as per yoga tradition.
  • Emotions: Emotions are interconnected with the body. Yoga practices create balance in the neuroendocrine system, offering a sense of control over emotions. Focusing on the mind allows individuals to navigate emotional states with intention rather than being carried away by them.
  • Energy: In the yoga tradition, energy is divided into five prana values. Yoga postures can be used to bring balance to specific subsystems of these values. It's about nourishing rather than just stimulating the body and energy system. Practices like meditation and self-reflection (swadhiaya) also play a role in understanding and improving energy levels.

This question is loaded because these aspects—mind, emotions, body, and energy—are interconnected in a holistic system. Yoga comprehensively addresses them all, recognizing the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit. The conversation could go on for hours, exploring individual experiences and nuances in how yoga affects each person uniquely..

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What tips would you give someone starting their journey into yoga?

  • Clarify Your Intentions: Begin by clearly understanding what you want and need from your yoga practice. Reflect on your goals and expectations to guide your journey effectively.
  • Explore Diverse Experiences:  Don't settle for the first yoga experience. Many people dismiss yoga because their initial encounter wasn't the right fit. Keep exploring various classes, teachers, and styles. Needs might change over time, so remain open to new experiences.
  • Shift Perspective on Yoga: Don't view yoga solely as an exercise regime. While physical activity is crucial, yoga offers more than just a workout. Avoid confining it to the exercise category. Recognize that yoga provides unique internal benefits, offering insights into your nervous system, self-reflection, and a deeper understanding of life's purpose.


Could you elaborate on the concept behind your Subtle Yoga brand and how it aims to address the healthcare crisis? What inspired you to create these series?

Subtle Yoga emerged in 2004 as a response to the prevailing intensity of mainstream yoga. Focused on accessibility and avoiding injuries, it offers a unique experience emphasizing interoceptive awareness. Unlike the prevalent exercise-centric yoga, Subtle Yoga prioritizes internal exploration, making it accessible to beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. 

The approach extends beyond fitness, reaching mental health professionals to integrate subtle yoga into clinical practices. The goal is inclusivity—reaching nine out of ten people who could benefit from yoga with a non-sectarian, internally oriented practice. Subtle Yoga seeks to redefine yoga's perception, emphasizing well-being over physical performance.


Can you highlight key points from your experience integrating yoga therapy into conventional healthcare?

Integrating yoga therapy into conventional healthcare addresses critical issues, including chronic diseases, workforce shortages, and mental health stress, which contribute to the $4.6 trillion healthcare crisis. Yoga therapy offers a low-cost, low-risk solution adaptable for individual or group settings, enhancing patient experiences and promoting self-management. Encouraging clinicians to adopt yoga practices personally can further transform healthcare by recognizing their simplicity, effectiveness, and affordability. 


Your organization focuses on enhancing community health infrastructure through holistic training and clinical services. Can you share specific examples or success stories of how these initiatives have positively influenced communities?

Our primary focus is on training individuals to integrate holistic practices into their clinical services. Through partnerships with institutions like the University of North Carolina and the Mountain Area Health Education Center, we've trained professionals nationwide. For instance, a graduate initiated a yoga program at a federally qualified health center in Hendersonville, benefiting the local community, especially those with limited financial resources.

Additionally, therapists in North Carolina, serving the Latino community, have integrated subtle yoga into their mental health programs, translating materials into Spanish for accessibility. In Tacoma, Washington, students are pioneering the integration of subtle yoga into the healthcare system, primarily targeting healthcare professionals.

These examples showcase our commitment to enhancing community health infrastructure through mind-body training and clinical services. While we are still in the early stages, I envision continued growth and impact over the coming decades, fostering key shifts in community services and making holistic practices accessible beyond the private wellness sector.


Living a holistic lifestyle is often key to effectively teaching and advocating for well-being. How do you personally incorporate mindful movement and holistic practices into your daily life?

I prioritize mindful movement by starting my day with 30 minutes to an hour of meditation and slow yoga. Throughout the day, I take short breaks for mindful moments and spontaneous family yoga. Evenings involve singing and chanting with my family, while I also focus on mindful eating and indulge in relaxing activities like baths. Nature walks are a key part of maintaining a balanced and holistic lifestyle.


What are your most helpful tips for optimal health?

My most helpful tip for optimal health is to love yourself more. If you want to be healthy,  you have to learn how to love yourself. 


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Disclaimer: The Sofia Unfiltered Podcast by Sofia Health is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional healthcare services, including the giving of medical advice. No doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have. For any health concerns, users should seek the assistance of their healthcare professionals.

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