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.


Achieving Physical and Mental Balance: The Complete Series

Hello mind-body students! This week we are going to organize all of the exercises you've seen from the last seven posts into one easy-to-reference workout post. Next week we will be moving on to new material. Until then, here is my mind-body prescription for Achieving Physical and Mental Balance.

Complete Mind-Body Prescription for Achieving Physical and Mental Balance

Part 1: Flexibility

  1. Hamstrings - Do the "Vitamin-H" stretch 3 times during the day, for 3 minutes each time.
  2. Calves - Loosen your calf muscles with these stretches or these stretches. Twice a day, 3 minutes each.
  3. Quads - Continue to relax the leg muscles with this stretch, or the heron stretch, if you know it. Twice a day for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Hip Extension - Finally, use this new stretch video to learn the "flamingo" stretch for the hips. This stretch should be done twice a day for 2 minutes on each leg.
  5. Outer Hip Stretch - People always forget this one! Do this stretch (either on a chair or on the floor) 2 times per day, for 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Chair Twists - A great movement for releasing tension in your back and taking pressure off your organs. This one should be done 2 times a day for 2 minutes to each side.
  7. The Rainbow Stretch - Try to keep your arm unbent while you do this one. 2 times a day, 2 minutes for each arm.
  8. The 5 Musketeers - This is our new exercise for the week. You may have seen three musketeers in a previous video, but this new one has more information and a better angle to see the correct form. Go through all the positions 2 times a day, for 2 minutes in each. That's a total of 10 minutes, 2 times a day.

Part 2: Strength

  1. Up and Down - The key to this exercise, which helps to build bone density better than just about any other exercise, is to remember that there are two sets that you need to do. First with your legs apart, and then with your legs together. Build up to 30 repetitions of each kind, 3 to 4 times per week.
  2. Sit Ups - Begin with this exercise on a chair if you need to, and then work down to the floor version of the sit ups over time. Build up to 30 repetitions, once every other day.
  3. This new technique will help strengthen your calves, the muscles that sit at the back of your knees and stretch all the way to the bottom of your feet. This muscle pair is incredible important for stability while walking, climbing stairs, going uphill, and more. It's time to lift those heels off the ground! Build up to 30 repetitions every other day.
  4. Wall Push-ups - you should all know this one by now. Remember that there are two sets, one with elbows in, and one with elbows out. Build up to 30 of each type every other day.

Part 3: Experiencing your Mass/Weight

  1. Stand on One Leg - The easiest way to simulate being off-balance is by standing on one leg. We all have a different level of balance when we start off, so you may be able to do this easily, or you may need a lot of support to keep yourself up. Start wherever is safest for you, and work your way to the free-standing version of the exercise. Do this for 1 minute on each leg, twice a day. (See the video below).
  2. Duck Walk - This funny-looking exercise is about controlling your center of gravity and your balance as you get lower to the ground. It also builds leg strength while you do it. Do 50 steps twice a day, and try to move lower over time.
  3. Tai Chi Walk - This exercise might remind you of the duck walk, but it has a very different "feel" when you do it. Where the duck walk uses small leg movements and strains a lot of your quad muscles, Tai Chi walking (also called "The 50 Steps") requires big, exaggerated movements that activate more stabilizer muscles. Both are necessary for great balance. Move lower and perform the walk slower over time as you improve. You should do 50 steps a day.
  4. Moving Down to the Floor and Back Up Safely - Lastly, we are going to practice actually going to the ground and getting back up in a safe and controlled manner. This is not supposed to be done quickly, but it does need to be repeated many times to imprint this reaction into your brain. Once you have done it enough, you'll automatically fall more safely than before. Do this ten times a day, alternating the side that you support yourself with.

Bonus Exercise: Rolling

  1. You can aim for ten rolls every other day. It is very important to keep good form while you practice rolling so you don't hurt your neck, back, or other joints. If you feel yourself losing good form, then take a break. The purpose of these rolls is to create a pattern in your body that you can use unconsciously when you are falling. If you repeatedly do rolls with bad form, then when you fall you will probably have bad form then too

That's it for this week!

Happy Stretching!