Rami's Blog

Like the Yin-Yang, Eastern Martial Arts and Western medicine are two halves of a whole. My mission is to preserve the ancient mind-body tools, and pass them on to you.

 

Freeing the Skeleton by Moving the Core

The end of the year grows ever closer and we are just a couple blog posts away from our holiday break. But we aren't done yet! We still have a couple more blogs to go before we're done learning how to free the skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue.

Last week we talked about moving the lower body to free the skeleton, and this week we are moving up! Up the body, that is. We are going to be doing some dynamic stretches and exercises for the core.

You may be thinking, "wait, what parts of my skeleton are in my core, and how would by core become a prison for them?"

That's a good question! Most people are worried about their core being too flabby, not too firm. But the core is much more than your belly. It includes your hips, your groin, your lower back, and even the area around your ribs and your mid-back. In fact, your core is the most important part of your body for both your organ function and your ability to move. Most adults who hurt themselves and lose mobility don't have injured legs, they have injured backs!

That's why, this week we are going to show you three techniques for releasing tension from your core and keeping it healthy.

Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #4: Swinging Leg

Swinging the legs, without bending the knees, focuses the tension releasing power of the technique on the deep muscles that comprise the groin area. Remember to do this movement both side-to-side and forward-and-backward!


Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #5: Tai Chi Walk

This motion is essentially the moving version of the hip extension that we did last week. The higher that you can get your knees, the better you will stretch your hips. Go nice and slow to get the most of the hip stretch, and don't worry too much about how many you do. We aren't looking for a leg strengthening workout, just a stretch!


Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #6: "Grind"

This technique is a classic tai chi move that, when done correctly, is much more of a core and lower back movement than an arm movement. You should be getting a nice gentle twist and rotation in the lumbar (lower) spine when you practice this movement.


And that's all for this week!

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Freeing the Skeleton by Moving the Lower Body

Hello students! This week we start to introduce the moving exercises that you can use, in addition to the stationary Body Marker stretches we have been reviewing, to release the skeleton from undue soft tissue tension.

If you haven't seen the stationary stretches yet, take a look at last week's blog post.

Once you know your way around those traditional stretches, you can start using the following moving techniques as you see fit to truly release your skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissues. Keep in mind that some of these techniques are pretty advanced. There is nothing wrong with simply doing the regular body marker stretches. They will help you a lot, especially when combined with the other building blocks of our being (mind, breath, energy, and spirit).

Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #1: Leg Rotations

The first technique can be done free standing to improve your balance, or you can hold onto a chair or table to simply focus on the freedom of movement it provides for your ankle.


Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #2: Kick Backs

Freeing the quads with movement can look a lot like running, but rather than raising the leg forward with each step, you pull the foot backwards and to the butt. I call them "kick backs" and they can be done lightly, or even while running. Check it out!


Moving Technique to Complement Body Marker #3: Windmills/Tornadoes

This movement is the most advanced of the three we will review today. But if you can manage it, it is a wonderful way to release stress from the hamstrings, as well as the entire hip joint. If you want to test your stability, balance, and strength as well, you can try to do the challenge that I describe in the video.

That is it for this week! Check in again next Friday for more!

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!


P.S. I have a FREE demonstration called "Freedom from Pain & Stress" coming up at The Between Space dance studio in Norwood next Tuesday! Check out this Facebook event page for more details. This demonstration will just scratch the surface of the 12 week workshop that I will be leading starting in January. Please check out the event

Hope to see you there!

Freeing the Skeleton with the Body Markers: Arms and Shoulder Girdle

Hello again Mind-Body students! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

We are closing in on the end of the year here, and only have three "stationary" body marker stretches left. Once we complete those today, there will be another three blogs on some moving variations for these body markers. Then, the final blog of 2017 will be the series blog for all 9 flexibility body markers, stationary and moving. After that we have our holiday break for a few weeks. Time flies!

If you've missed part 1 and/or part 2 of this body marker series for releasing the skeleton from soft tissue tension, check them out now!

Body Marker #7: Shoulders

The shoulder is an incredibly complex joint, with lots and lots of soft tissue around it that can become stiff and frozen for many reasons. Because of this, we like to do 4 different postures of stretches that enables you to stretch the joint in every direction. Use a belt or a rope if you need help maintaining the stretch! Remember, 80% effort!


Body Marker #8: Neck

Modern day life creates a huge amount of stress on our neck, with desk jobs, computer use, cell phones, driving, and more. I developed these three postures for the neck to help free it from the soft tissue strain it can experience on a daily basis.


Body Marker #9: The Wrists

You may not think they are that important to stretch, but think about it! We use our wrists for just about everything we do. If you allow your forearm and hand muscles and tissue to freeze around your wrist, you will not only find it harder to do daily tasks, but you will experience a lot of pain as well. Don't let that happen: use this simple stretch to release tension in the wrist. You can do it sitting, or standing while using a wall.


And that's it for the stationary body markers for flexibility! We'll see you all again next week!

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!


P.S. BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!

All of my Udemy courses are currently on sale for the shopping holiday! If you haven't yet bought them, you should definitely do so in the next 4 days, before the sale ends! Each of the courses is currently just $10! Many of the courses have several hours of content in them. It is a great deal, but only available for a couple days!

Tell your family and friends to make free Udemy accounts and buy them as well! There is no better time to start a new Tai Chi program.

If you have already bought my courses, thank you! Please write a review on the Udemy website if you found the course helpful. Reviews are the best way to help new people on Udemy find my courses.

Freeing the Skeleton with the Body Markers: Abdomen and Back

Welcome back students! This week we continue on with our survey of the nine body markers which help you free your skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, or why I'm covering this topic, feel free to go back to last weeks blog and check it out!

So without further ado, let's cover body markers 4, 5, and 6!

Body Marker #4: Groin

Two ways to stretch your groin, using a simple chair, or a special machine.


Body Marker #5: Hips

There are several ways to stretch your hips, on the floor, a chair, or standing against the wall. We will focus on the hip extension while standing because we can more easily measure your progress with it. 


Body Marker #6: Lower Back

There are two stretches that can increase the flexibility of your lower back. First is the one we measure: the chair twist. You should experience 90 degrees of rotation to each side if you are fully flexible. The other stretch is something we call the "Five Musketeers". This stretch will help your lower back stretch from side-to-side. The "five" part of the stretch represents each of the positions you will take when you do the stretch.


Remember that the goal of these Body Marker exercises is to make you both strong and flexible, making you powerful. It is key to a full and healthy life, as well as optimal performance.

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Freeing the Skeleton with the Body Markers: Starting From the Ground

Hello mind-body students! We have just completed our series on finding a qualified mind-body teacher, and now we are moving on to a series about freeing the skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue, which will probably carry us through the rest of 2017!

The 12 Body Markers are a system that I have used for years to help teach my students both online and in my classes. They are designed to measure a person's range of motion through all of their joints, using a scale of 1 (least flexible) to 10 (most flexible). In western health an wellness traditions, everyone seems to be able to measure strength, but very few people have a good grasp of flexibility. Even professional athletes often don't know what the proper range of motion for each of their joints are. Many people are even unsure about what their personal level of flexibility is: usually under or over estimating it until they test it out.

To help address these issues, my wife (Ilana Rosenberg) and I are putting a book together that will feature an extensive guide to the 12 Body Markers to help everyone from average Joe to professional athletes avoid injury, recover from injury more effectively, and recuperate from training faster. 

We've covered some of these Body Markers in the past on varies blog posts and our mini Office Exercise series. For this blog series, we will be focusing on the 9 Body Markers that measure a person's flexibility, starting this week from the ground and moving up!

Body Marker #1: Ankles

How to stretch your ankle joint, and what angle your foot should (eventually) achieve:


Body Marker #2: Quads

How to stretch your quads, which I show if two ways. First is the Heron stretch that you do standing up and one leg at a time. Second is 'seiza,' which you do sitting down.


Body Marker #3: Hamstring

How to stretch your hamstrings. Or more specifically, how to do the proper Vitamin H stretch, if that is the one you will be using. 


Remember that the goal here is to free the skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue. Our sedentary lifestyles, western styles of strength training, and the natural process of aging all cause our soft tissues such as muscle, ligaments, and fascia to shrink and tighten over time. This causes extra tension in our joints and restricts our range of motion, which reduces our performance and overall health.

By working on the Body Markers, particularly the 9 flexibility Markers, you can create a balance that will contribute to greater holistic health. When you are both strong and flexible, you become powerful, and that is what the Body Markers, and mind-body health practice, are all about!

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Finding the Right Mind-Body, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong Teacher: Complete Series

The year is going by quickly! We are already in November, which means we are just a few weeks away from our usual holiday break. But there is still much to learn this year! To help you all with your mind-body studies and practice, this week we are going to review and consolidate all of the Mind-Body Teacher blogs into a single post.

So here it is! The Complete Guide to Finding the Right Mind-Body Teacher.


In part 1 and part 4, we addressed the following qualities that a mind-body teachers should have, and gave these examples:

"A mind-body teacher will teach you to free your body from being a prisoner of the soft tissue, and at the same time, will help you build strength. This is the most basic form of balance that you will learn in your practice. The body should be both flexible and strong, so that you can effectively direct your strength and will, which makes you powerful. This is a fundamental part of your mind-body journey, both physically and mentally."

 

"A great mind-body teacher will help you isolate your joints with gentle movement, and stimulate your energetic system. You can think of your joints like the doorways that energy must move through in your body. When these portals are stiff and closed up, your limbs and organs can suffer. Opening these joints allows blood, oxygen, and energy to flow to every part of your body. This is important for healing, performance, and overall health."

 

"You need to learn correct alignment when standing, sitting, walking, and moving slowly. Alignment is crucial for avoiding injuries and maintaining health. The older you get, the more important this is. Balance is largely based on correct alignment, and preventing dangerous falls is all about having good balance. Alignment is also key to preventing injury during athletic performance."


In part 2 and part 5, the following qualities were reviewed:

"Every mind-body teacher will show you how to do deep breathing, and a great mind-body teacher will show you how to do many different kinds of deep breathing, and how to practice them during your mind-body prescriptions. How you should breathe while doing each stretch or tai chi form is of key importance to the practice of those techniques. Deep breathing correctly will allow you to relax your muscles more effectively, which will improve your progress on everything we discussed last week. Increasing oxygen intake is also one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your health."

 

"A great mind-body teacher will instruct you in sitting, standing, and moving meditations. There are teachers out there who know sitting meditations only, or moving meditations only, but a truly wise teacher will have lots of experience with all forms of meditation. With a great teacher, you will learn how to focus your mind and breathe in the way that best accommodates your current form of meditation. A great practitioner knows that each form of meditation is good for different goals, and will help you develop all of them so that you have a well-rounded mind-body experience."


In part 3 and part 6, we added the internal qualities that a teacher should have:

"A truly great mind-body practitioner is equally trained in both the external arts and the internal arts. Most of the time, this means that the teacher studied with a renowned master (or masters) for at least 10 to 20 years. Having both kinds of training means your teacher will be able to help you by using a wide array of mind-body tools, and can tackle your particular issues or weaknesses from the best angle."

 

"A great mind-body teacher will know how important it is to work with your energetic system. An expert should know qigong massage because that means they have lots of hands-on experience. It’s traditional for students of energetic massage to have thousands of hours of massage practice, and your teacher shouldn’t be any different."

 

"In addition to knowing the energetic system, a mind-body teacher should lead you in evoking the spirit and harmonizing the three forces; heaven human and earth. This requires an understanding in the important parts of the human spirit. A sense of humor, experience with loss and death, open-mindedness, and being lifelong learner are all signs that your teacher will be able to instruct you in your spiritual development."

 

"A qualified teacher will have experience working with different challenging health issues such as: injuries, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, lower back and neck issues, joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, cancer and all its side effects and symptoms from treatments or the cancer itself, and many more conditions and health issues."


And that's the series!

Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!