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.

 

Complete Office Exercise Series + Forearm Office Stretch

Welcome back mind-body students!

This week's blog is a collection of all the Office Exercise Series, as well as one new office exercise, the forearm stretch.

So, without further ado, let's look back over those office techniques!


Complete Office Exercise Series

The first office exercise we showed you was the office meditation series, including candle watching, breath counting, water breath, and fire breath. There are so many ways to take a quick, 5 minute meditation while at the office. You are sure to find one that works for you!

Next, we focused on the parts of the body that are most stressed when working on a computer and in a chair all day: the neck and the upper back. For that, I showed you what I call the "emergency posture for the neck". Obviously, this isn't just a stretch that you do when you are in a severe pain emergency: dull achy necks get benefits from this stretch too!

Really feeling that mid-afternoon slump? 2-3 o'clock seem like it drags on forever? Most people will drink some coffee or each a bar of chocolate to turn their brain back on. But we all know that can cause you to crash later on. Instead, I suggested doing Up and Down in the office to get the blood flowing, the heart rate up, and reactivating the mind in the natural way.

What's in between the upper back and the legs? The lower back of course! Many people who work in office environments can develop stiff lower backs from constant sitting. The Three Musketeers Stretch I showed you relieves a lot of lumbar pressure and eases that lower back ache.

The next technique might seem kind of funny to some people (and many people already do it without even knowing about it!). It's a technique that relieves stress by using sigh sounds. You might not be able to do a full, loud sigh in your office, so I explain a few ways to do this technique with less noise, but while still letting that physical and mental stress go.

The first of the newer techniques is the chair twist, which is a great stretch for helping the body to regulate itself properly (particularly the internal organs and digestion). When your internal functions are well regulated, it reduces stress and improves mood, energy, and immune function. That's a great way to improve performance at the office!

The second of the new installments showed you how to stretch your arms overhead, and behind the back. This is another great stress reliever for the upper body, particularly the shoulders. You can even get a good face and jaw relaxation going while doing this stress. I find this stretch, when combined with deep breathing, to be a great way to relax from a hard day's work.

And last but not least, this newest installment in the series: the forearm stretch. Obviously, typing on the computer and using a mouse all day can cause not only tension and pain the in forearm, but also chronic inflammation (called carpal tunnel). This stretch helps to relieve those symptoms, and prevent chronic issues from arising.

P.S. The audio for the video cut out for the last 30 seconds, but we added subtitles so you don't miss my summary of the stretches benefits!

That's it! Happy Stretching!

Mind-Body Workout #9: Greatest Hits!

Hey there, Mind-Body students!

This week we have a fun workout to do: these five techniques are the most popular exercises on my Youtube channel (not including massage techniques or sports tips). So this routine was created by you guys through popular demand!

Good luck!


Mind-Body Workout #9: Greatest Hits!

The first two exercises (the two most popular) are relaxing stretch postures: the chair twist for organ health and digestive regularity, and the emergency posture for the head and neck. How each of these stretches for 1-2 minutes, working up to three minutes each if you can. Remember to do the chair twist to each side.

Once you are done with these stretches, your upper body and torso should be nice and loose, which will help with the remaining techniques.

The remaining three exercises are upper body techniques, some of which are pretty advanced. First we have tai chi/kung-fu blocking for speed with a partner. If you don't have a partner to practice with, you can do this coin-grabbing exercise on your own. Do about 2-3 minutes of this, switch off who is blocking, do another 2-3 minutes, and then repeat. In total, each person should be blocking for 4-6 minutes.

The next exercise is a beautiful medical qi gong movement called "white ape picks up the peach" that really helps increase shoulder and forearm mobility. It also stretches the chest. Do this movement 10 times on each side. Do it very slowly and focus on your breathing the entire time. Thoughts of no thoughts.

Last but not least, we have the most difficult technique: Advanced Tai Chi Ball movement. If you afraid of dropping the tai chi ball, just use a soccer ball or basketball. This will do just as much for your flexibility and balance as using the wooden tai chi ball. You can start with the small circles I show toward the end of the tutorial if your not confident or flexible yet, and gradually work your way to further extending your arm when you practice. Do as many of these circles as you are comfortable with. Twenty on each arm is plenty. Don't push it or go too fast, because you can damage your shoulder if you get out of control.

And that's it for this week! Happy Stretching!

Mind-Body Workout #8: Building Strength, Speed, and Health in the Arms

Great to have you back again, mind-body students. This week, we have a new installment in a series that has become a blog favorite: the mind-body workouts!

On the agenda for today: a total workout for the arms, which includes work on your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and more! The workout is divided up into three sections: strength-building, speed work, and relaxing. Let's jump right in.


Mind-Body Workout #8: Building Strength, Speed, and Health in the Arms

Part 1: Strengthening

Wall Push-ups with Fire-Breath: This exercise gets the blood-flowing into the arms and chest. Remember to do both kinds of sets, elbows-in, and elbows-out. These work the biceps and chest, and the triceps and deltoids respectively. If you find that this exercise is too easy for you, you can always take a small step back from the wall and move your hands lower. Add in fire breath to engage and calm the mind!

Panther Walk: This is a more intense pushing exercise that will truly build strength in your arms as you launch your body off the ground with each repetition. To really mix it up, do a set of 10 or so going forward, backward, left, and right. (You can always start with five each way instead, if 10 is too difficult.)

Part 2: Speed

The Washing Machine: If you do this technique slowly, it is a nice relaxing move. However, you can speed the move up to practice quick, precise movements with the arms. As you increase the speed, you want to bring the circles closer to your body and make them tighter. This technique is particularly relevant for developing effective blocking movements in martial arts.

Saber: This speed move is another technique that doubles as a relaxing technique depending on how slowly or quickly you do it. The first rule is to keep the stick as straight as possible all throughout the movement. You can watch yourself perform it straight ahead in the mirror to see if the stick is flaring to one side or the other. The motion should require less and less arm movement as you become more coordinated and proficient with it. As that happens, focus more of your energy on breathing deep. Remember: swift, precise arm movement.

Part 3: Relaxation

Iron on the Wall with Fire Breath: This is a classic exercise here on the blog. You can't believe how much of a difference simply letting go of the tension in the shoulders and neck can make. Not just for arm health, but for total body and mind health! You want the muscles between the neck and shoulders (the trapezius muscle) to become soft and moldable, kind of like clay. For most people, they start like rock. Hold the stretch for 2-3 minutes, working up to that if you can't hold it that long at first.

Reduce Inflammation: Working your arms hard can cause issues in the complex joints. The biggest cause of this harm is intense stress on the joints (like doing a heavy arm strengthening workout) followed by very little motion and range of motion use. To avoid having this happen while you are developing arm strength and speed, you should do this gentle exercise for a few minutes with both arms. There are two basic motions: vertical, and horizontal. Do both to help heal any minor strain or damage the joints naturally experience as you work them out.

And that's it! Happy Stretching!

Looking Back at 2016 on the Blog

Here we are! The end of 2016. Hard to believe another year has gone by on the blog. We've covered a lot this year, so let's take a quick look back!


Blog Series Highlights

The Guide to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). We began the year with a look at 'SAD,' a disorder that affects millions of people, causing depression-like symptoms during the winter months. We showed you three exercises you could do to manage the major symptoms of SAD and experience a higher quality of life during the colder, darker months of the year. Check out the workout: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The Series on Integrative Pain Management. In this six part series from late summer, we gave you a summary of the mind-body pain management strategies and research I contributed to this book. This is a great series for people looking to understand the scientific theories and evidence behind mind-body healing, as well as some of the philosophical underpinnings of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

Achieving Physical and Mental Balance Workout Series. Next, we created the series on achieving both physical and mental balance. This workout and post series will give you the tools needed to achieve a calmer mind and reduce your risk of accidental falls and trips. It also added some advanced techniques for people who are younger and unlikely to have harmful falls.

Mind-Body Workout for People Age 70+. And how can we forget the series we just finished? This, combined with the Balance series, makes a very well-rounded mind-body course for elderly students. And best of all, it is totally free! Just bookmark these pages and reference them at any time. (And also remember, if you are an elderly student looking to do these exercises, ask your doctor and have a younger person there to help you!)


Udemy Courses

It's that time of year that people make resolutions to exercise more and treat their body and mind better. If you are someone who has difficulty keeping those resolutions for more than a few weeks, a great way to stick to them is to use one of my Udemy courses to easily divide up the exercises you should do each day. No planning needed, just log-on, click play, watch the learn video, and then practice along with me in the practice video. You only need to do one exercise a day to start a good habit.

I have all kinds of courses available, including:

It's never too late to sign up for a course and start changing your day-to-day life. Give it a try!


More Classes and Workshops

We've also had some great classes and workshops in 2016, including last week at the Tufts Women in Medicine and Sciences Committee special Week of Wellness celebration on December 8th! If you didn't make it to one of my events in 2016, be sure to keep an ear open for events in 2017.


Taking a Break

Just like we did last year, we'll be taking a break on the blog from now until January 13th, when we'll be back with more mind-body techniques, tai chi, qi gong, and meditation tips, tricks, and discussions.

Until then, Happy Holidays! And as always, Happy Stretching!