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!

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!

Want to Get More Work Done? Take a Break.

Welcome back mind-body students! I hope you enjoyed the Greatest Hits Workout last week. This week, we have more of a mind lesson.

If you are like me, you like to get things done. You are very industrious. More likely than not you are zipping around every day with all kinds of plans on your to-do list. Many times, you catch yourself thinking about how you could be doing more stuff in the same amount of time.

People like this are often very successful, but they live in danger of burning out.

"Burnout" is when your mind is still trying to accomplish the tasks at hand, but your body is not rested enough to do so. From a medical standpoint, pushing yourself to the point of burnout can be dangerous. It might include high levels of stress hormones than increase your risk of heart attack, or very low blood sugar that could send your body into shock.

Working yourself to that extent may sound crazy, but people have done it.

Most people will just find that they feel "off their game" or really tired for several days, even a month or two. This isn't medically dangerous unless you begin abusing stimulants like caffeine to make up for the low energy. The worst result will probably be that your quality of work declines, perhaps for a significant amount of time.

So how do people who have busy schedules and high-stress careers avoid burnout, and even accomplish more than before?

Take regular breaks.

In Judaism, we have the ancient idea of the "shabbat" which is a practice of rest one day a week. One day each week may not be enough for a high-profile worker, however. Some people work up more stress than a single day can get rid of, so they need less frequent, but longer breaks. Maybe a 4-day weekend every month (assuming you work most weekends).

This resting phase allows your body and mind to heal and incorporate everything you have learned and exercised since your last break. By relaxing down to a healthy baseline regularly, your metabolic systems can reset and prepare for more work later.

And that's how you can do more work by working slight fewer days each month. Instead of working at 70% productivity every day for a month, you come back to work at 100% productivity (after your mini vacation) and that productivity slowly decreases until you take your next break. Each day that you are working at more than 70% productivity makes up for (and eventually more than compensates for) the few days you took off.

I know, for high-functioning professionals, taking four days off seems like a crazy move. But if you can get more work done, and have a nice vacation each month, and enjoy your life more, and spend more time with your family, the only crazy choice here would be not to try.

Happy Stretching!

Can't Meditate? Clean Your Room!

People ask me some variation of this question all the time: "Are there any tips you have for how to meditate? I just can't get my mind to sit still no matter what I try."

And the answer is "Of course I have tips for how to meditate!" I've written about them on the blog before. I've written about them so much, in fact, that I have a whole category of posts dedicated to meditation tips.

But all those tips are about how you meditate, or what you should do while meditating. What if I told you that you could do something before meditating that could improve your meditation practice? It might seem strange, but this really works.

Clean your room. Or even better, clean your whole house.

You might be thinking, "What? I close my eyes when I meditate. I can't even see if my house is messy or not." But that's not completely true. Your mind internalizes the area that you live in. Even if you aren't paying attention to the mess, when you are in a messy house your mind functions differently (and not in a good way).

In fact, there are several studies now showing that a cleaner home can lower your risk of heart disease, reduce stress hormone levels, and improve sleep. How interesting that all of these benefits are also benefits of regular meditation.

The reality is that your mind worries about the mess in your home. That mess makes you stressed and scatter-brained, which leads to an even messier house. It is a vicious cycle.

Luckily, most people find cleaning their living space to be very easy. A chore, yes, but an easy one. It isn't like meditation, which takes a while to become proficient in. Nearly everyone knows how to clean a space up.

As soon as your local landscape is more organized and orderly, you will find that your mind is more focused and relaxed. And one of the secrets to meditation is that relaxed and focused minds are better at it than messy and scattered ones. That's why many people find meditation so difficult at first. It's a lot like exercise in that way: it's difficult at first because you haven't done any, but the only way to improve is to keep practicing.

But hey, if you can get a boost just by cleaning up your house, that's good too.

Happy Stretching!

Tai Chi for Legs: Tompu From Side-to-Side

This week we have a video showing you a leg-strengthening and balance-enhancing exercise based on the martial arts stance called "tompu." During this exercise, you want to figure out how low is acceptable and safe for you to go, and then practice going smoothly from side-to-side. Do this near a table or other structure to use as a support if you need it.

Eventually, you should be able to do this without support or needing your arms. You should move gracefully with just the strength and flexibility of your legs. Enjoy!