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.

 

Introduction to my Online Courses: Improve your Physical and Mental Success with Tai Chi

Hello again blog readers and students! This week, I want to begin an introduction to the various Tai Chi and Qi Gong courses that I have available for purchase online.

These courses vary in length and intensity. Some are long-form courses that you will need to practice for a month or more before you are comfortable with each technique. Others are short-form courses that are highly focused on creating a particular health impact. I made these different courses so that as many people as possible could find a course that worked for them!

The platform that I use for my courses is called Udemy. It is a platform that allows students to make an account for free, and only pay for the courses they want to take. Once you buy one of my courses, you own it forever! You will be able to watch and review it as much or as little as you want.

Today, I want to do an introduction to my most popular course (which is also my longest online course): Improve Your Physical and Mental Success with Tai Chi.

This course is a 10 week Tai Chi course which will not only introduce you to Tai Chi as a beginner, but also train you through the various movements and techniques of a longer Tai Chi form. Each movement is complemented by helpful stretches and practices that will improve both your flexibility and your strength, as well as build your skills with deep breathing and meditation.

None of my courses (so far) expect you to have any Tai Chi experience. This course is precisely designed to be most helpful for people who are new to Tai Chi. All that is required to succeed in this course is the following:

  • An interest in becoming more fit, more flexible and more relaxed

  • Willingness to invest 10-20 minutes a day in one’s wellbeing to enjoy life more

  • A small, comfortable space in your house, apartment or office where you can learn and practice

This course contains seven hours of Tai Chi content and teachings! There is a lot to learn and practice. Just a few of the things that you will experience in this course are:

  • Learn a simple, yet powerful Tai Chi form

  • Become much more flexible

  • Learn to meditate for stress reduction

  • Learn the benefits of deep breathing

  • Become stronger and more fit

  • Develop better balance

  • Reduce and prevent injuries

Even though this courses requires no Tai Chi experience, you might be wondering, “is this course, or Tai Chi in general, right for me?” Great question! My belief is that Tai Chi is great for everyone! In fact, this course is my most popular, and currently has over 2,100 students enrolled from all over the world! But if you still have doubts, the list below should give you an idea of the kinds of students that I had in mind while making the course:

  • People with little time or interest in going to the gym and taking classes

  • Stay at home moms (and dads)

  • Weekend warriors

  • Competitive (and not so competitive) athletes

  • People who travel frequently

  • Anyone who has wondered about the power of eastern health philosophy, but hasn’t known how to start exploring it

  • Anyone interested in becoming stronger and more flexible, while reducing stress

If any of those sound like you (or someone you know), I highly recommend setting up a free Udemy account and getting this course to Improve Your Physical and Mental Success with Tai Chi.

That’s all for this week! Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Mind-Body Workout #10: Strengthening Your Roots

Welcome back mind-body students! We have had a lot of posts about research and special events on the blog lately! These are all great, and I am so happy to share the amazing work we are doing with all of you. However, I also like to have action on my blog too!

So let's dive into a great mind-body workout this week, and get back into the groove of our mind-body routine!


Mind-Body Workout #10: Strengthening Your Roots

Let's begin with some stretching of the key muscles that support stability and balance. Stretching these muscles is not only important for flexibility and avoiding falls, but it is also a key part to releasing our skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue. This improves blood flow, which allows oxygen to reach all of our cells more effectively, and energizes our whole mind-body system!

The first stretch will be the Flamingo Stretch for our hips. Our hips are the core of our body, and they are responsible for directing the strength that we generate from our legs. Having strong roots is not much help if you cannot use your hips correctly! Do the stretch to each side (each leg) for 2-3 minutes, using whatever support you need.

Next we will stretch our lower back out in each of its major directions using the Five Musketeers Stretch. Just like with the hips, the lower back is responsible for directing a lot of the strength of our root system (our legs). If your lower back is tight, you will not be able to properly strengthen your legs! Do this stretch like I show in the video, for about 1-2 minutes at each angle. Use blocks or books and pillows to properly support yourself so that you are doing 80% effort.

For our last stretch, we will be working on the tightest muscles in our body: our hamstrings! This technique is an old favorite I call "Vitamin H." While we do this stretch, we will also be focusing on performing "water breath." This will begin to really engage our mind and breath into the workout. This stretch you can hold for 3-4 minutes, but make sure you are doing 80% effort, just like before!

For our first of three strengthening exercises, we will be moving Up and Down Like the Moon and the Sun. Remember to do the two sets, legs apart and legs together. Up to 15 (in each set!) is beginner level, 15-30 repetitions is intermediate, and 30-50 repetitions is the advanced level of leg strength. Do the amount that you are able to with 80% effort. 

From working our quadriceps and other thigh muscles, we are moving down to the calves! This exercise has you go up onto your toes, and then roll back onto your heals. It works your calf muscles as well as massages the bottom of your feet. The feet are so important for generating the strength and force from the ground that everyone needs. Whether you are a martial artists who wants to throw a powerful kick, or just a person who needs to run up and down a flight of stairs, strong and flexible feet are so important. Do this 20-30 times, and be sure to pay attention to your breathing like I mention in the video.

Finally, we are going to practice moving up and down from the floor safely. This may seem like it contradicts what our workout is about. Why would we practice this if the goal is to have strong roots and not to fall over? The answer is pretty simple! Everyone falls over sometime. When you practice this movement, not only are you getting a good workout in for your whole body (especially your legs), but you will also be teaching your body how to react when it loses balance: bend the knees, move down low in a straight down way so your body can "collapse" instead of "fall". Do this 10 times to each side, practicing getting down and up from one side and then the other.

And that's all for this week! I hope you enjoy the workout!

And as always, happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Freeing the Skeleton by Moving the Upper Body

Just one more week! One more week before we take our holiday break for the year. We've gone over how these body marker movements can release your skeleton from unneeded stress in the last two blogs here and here. We began with the lower body, then moved up to the core. All that is left is to gently move the upper body and we will have gotten to everything!

Moving Technique to Compliment Body Marker #7: Swinging Arm Rotations

This is a great movement to help you loosen up the entire shoulder girdle and upper body, but I'm still going to include two more movements you can do in addition to this to really release your soft tissue tension. A note on this exercise: sitting or standing is fine. Standing is not the "next level" of this exercise, because it has nothing to do with the legs. As always, I encourage you to stand if you can.


Moving Technique to Compliment Body Marker #8: Move your Head Like a Pigeon

This exercise also uses circular rotation to help you loosen up your soft tissue, but maybe not in the way you expect! The circles you do during this exercise are forward and backward, not left and right. Don't forget to relax your face and shoulders here! We don't need to add more tension while we're trying to get rid of it!


Moving Technique to Compliment Body Marker #9: 40% Effort Movements

I invented and tested these movements over the years with the help of my students who have arthritis in their arms and wrists. Pay close attention to the wrist movement that I do later on in the video. But don't skip the other movements! The finger movement especially can help to loosen the soft tissue in the forearms and relieve wrist tension.


That's all for this week! Next week we deliver the full "Freeing the Skeleton" guide, and then we're off for the holidays.

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

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!