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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

New Partner Helps Mindful Life Academy Grow

Apr 01, 2015 06:37AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Eric Eccles

When Eric Eccles became a partner at Mindful Life Academy, in Bonita Springs, in January, it was inevitable that the company’s menu of successfully proven staples—neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), biofeedback and hypnosis training—would expand to include numerous fitness offerings. Eccles is a 23-year veteran of the fitness and wellness industries; a life and meditation coach; an educator for Yoga Alliance and the author of A Lifestyle Worth Living: A Powerful How to Guide for a Happy, Healthy and Purposeful Life.

“The timing couldn’t be better for such a collaboration,” says Eccles, an innovator who also invented the Yoga Bench. “I see it as an evolution of the wellness industry that paves the way for a new generation of custom-designed health and wellness programs that meet an individual’s goals. It’s also the future of hands-on well-being education, encompassing mental and spiritual health and physical fitness for novices and professionals. It comprises life and meditation coaching; personal training in cardio fitness, strength and flexibility; and mental skills training.” Eccles explains the Mindful Life Academy Five Pillars of Wellness.

Mindful Nutrition

“Along with supplementation suggestions and guidance, we help clients develop better eating habits,” notes Eccles. The program incorporates My Fitness Pal, a free, easy-to-use calorie counter and diet tracker app and website ( that offers a searchable database of more than 1 million food items, as well as an exercise database that calculates calories burned. Tracking food consumption helps clients make better choices. The website also features links to other recommended apps for tracking food and fitness on the go.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Education on the proper way to exercise in order to maximize fat-burning and get a healthier, stronger body is essential, particularly with regard to the cardiovascular aspect. “We tailor programs to an individual’s medical issues and age. We also teach everyone that proper recovery time must be incorporated into their fitness routine,” Eccles advises.

Strength Training

Eccles trains clients using a workout wall with a suspension training system and stall bars (a piece of strength, conditioning and flexibility equipment that looks like a wide ladder, about three feet by eight feet). “Stall bars have been used since the 1960s by gymnasts and professional athletes,” he notes. “The concept is based on an individual using their own body weight, versus a machine or dumbbells.”

Yoga and Flexibility

Beyond basic Iyengar, vinyasa and hatha yoga for flexibility, Eccles incorporates proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, commonly used in clinical environments to enhance active and passive range of motion. The ultimate goal is optimizing motor performance and rehabilitation. “This helps with inflexible and tight hamstrings, back, shoulder and core muscles,” explains Eccles. “Foam rollers are also used for myofacial release, breaking up scar tissue and softening tight muscles.”


From the perspective of medical science, meditation makes a good coping mechanism for relieving the stress and anxiety. Findings from the Shamatha Project, at the University of California, Davis, published in the journal Health Psychology in 2013, showed that mindfulness meditation may help to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, insomnia and the incidence, duration and severity of acute respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.”

“Keeping the body and mind healthy and flexible are key components to living a long, healthy life,” remarks Cara Corr, an associate at the Mindful Life Academy and the wellness director for Spanish Wells Country Club and Tarpon Cove Yacht & Racquet Club. “Common sense tells us that because healthcare costs continue to rise, a comprehensive personal wellness plan is a necessity. We show our clients how to take the necessary steps to stay healthy in body and mind.”

Mindful Life Academy is located at 9122 Bonita Beach Rd. SE, in Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-676-5009 or visit or

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