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.


Stretch and Release the Bows

Today's exercise, called Stretch and Release the Bows, is a great technique for anyone to use. It helps keep the lower back healthy, it improves posture, it improves hip stability, relaxes the shoulders and chest, and much more. Use this technique when doing all your Tai Chi forms to see even greater results.

If you are having severe Upper Back or Lower Back problems, consider looking at the courses I designed to deal with those issues as well. Stretching and Releasing the Bows is a technique you will use in both mind-body prescriptions. 

Health and Fitness are About Perseverance

Countless posts and videos promising quick-fixes to health problems are circulating the internet these days, but as far as anyone can tell, Americans on the whole haven't become any healthier since the advent of Buzzfeed and Youtube fitness stars.

The reason for this is pretty simple: the road to real health and fitness is a long one, and you never really get to the end. A daily fitness regimen needs to be just that: daily.

Too many Americans fall into the trap of giving up, because there is no end in sight. Diets and exercise plans don't help people because they are seen as temporary. As soon as you stop a diet, you will stop seeing its benefits. As soon as you stop exercising, you will begin to gain weight and lose muscle.

Instead of committing to a temporary plan, make a lifestyle change. Instead of doing an hour of exercise a day for one month, and then quitting from exhaustion and scheduling issues, do twenty minutes of exercise daily. See if you can do it for a year. A year's worth of moderate exercise is worth far more than a month's worth of intense exercise, especially where overall health and longevity are concerned.

Commit to an achievable goal, given your career, study schedule, personal commitments, etc. Be smart about how much time you have and then set up a realistic regimen. This blog and my Youtube channel are great resource for finding exercises that you can do to reach your goals and maintain them.

When it comes to dieting, start by incorporating a vegetable into every meal. Just one. You don't have to get rid of all the sweets in your house. Going cold-turkey is a sure fire way to give-up. Instead, by getting one vegetable in at every meal, you will naturally be more full in between meals, and gradually begin to snack less, and opt for fewer servings of high-fat and high-carb foods.

Once you start feeling good, the healthy choices will be just as enticing as the unhealthy ones, if not more.

Sitting is Hurting your Hips

I saw a great article from www.artofmanliness.com posted on Twitter today (by @ImproveMove) that showed some great stretches for correcting the damage that sitting for long periods of time can do to your hips. I highly recommend giving the page a visit and incorporating those stretches into your routine.

I have touched on the issue of our sedentary lifestyle before, specifically, how it can affect our spine and back health. Obviously, a stiff or painful back will put anyone out of commission for a while, and that's why I spoke about it first. However, tight and painful hips will also do a number on our overall health. They can affect our digestive and reproductive health, and if you are an athlete, I'd argue that your hips are the most important part of your body.

Like I said in my vlog on Tuesday, the difference between a white belt and a black belt in martial arts is where the power of their attacks originates. In the case of the white belt, they are punching and kicking with only their limbs. In the case of the black belt, they are striking with their whole body, and the force of the ground pushing up against them, and turning that all into much more powerful attack.

There are two reasons as to why the hips are so important to athletic movement. The first, is that our hips are our biggest joint, and also the center of gravity in our body. But in the eastern tradition, just above the hips (two inches below the navel) is our bodies greatest energy reservoir, the Lower Energy Center. When we move energy from within our body outward, such as when we are playing sports, that is where it comes from.If you have tight hips, your energy in not going to flow as well as it should.

So stretch those hips! On my site, you can find numerous stretches for your hips labeled under Hips, and the Legs and Abdomen tags (because all those muscles connect to the hips, so any stretch for them is also a hip stretch).

Happy stretching!

Everyone Should be Doing this Exercise

A while back, I wrote a post about what it really means to be healthy and strong. It isn't about muscles folks, it's about your internal organs. This vlog is going to show you how to gently massage and stimulate your internal organs with Buddhist and Taoist breath. EVERYONE should do this exercise: men, women, children, the elderly, cancer patients, people with digestive problems, the list goes on and on. Use 80% effort, and you'll be making your organs very happy.