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.

 

Isolating the Joints: During Your Tai Chi and Qi Gong Movements

Hello mind-body students!

If you haven't read last week's blog about isolating the joints, you can read that here.

We are back to isolating the joints this week, with another short video. In this one, I show you how to think about isolating the joints while you are doing the techniques of your Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice.

Specifically, I explain how to think about joint isolation: alternating between expansion, or gentle pulsing or pumping, to contraction, or relaxation.

I even explain how this can be used to practice your rooting! But you will have to watch the video to hear that part :)

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

Isolating the Joints with Flexibility and Strength Essential for Health, Martial Arts, and Various Sports

Isolating the joints is a great eastern way to warm up, starting from the energetic system!

(Speaking of sports and warming up: checkout the links in this blog to my martial arts tips for sport on YouTube!)

In my class at Dana Farber and in my research class at Tufts Medical Center, I use isolating the joints as the first warm up to ignite and start-up the energetic system. Then, I continue with a three to five minute walk to also gain the benefits of the typical “western” style exercise warm up. This walk gets the heart pumping faster which then increases blood flow to the muscles and the rest of the body. I find that doing the best of both worlds for a warm up before any physical activity is the best.

Since warming up before any physical activity is a must, make sure that when you are about to take a walk, ride a bike, hike, swim, run, or do any kind of physical activity, spend three to five minutes isolating the joint first. Spend about ten seconds on each one. Then run in place or walk for three to five minutes and that should be a great warm-up for whatever activity you are about to do.

Of course, then spending five to ten minutes for some stretches, before and after, is very important as well. Once you have done that, then you are really ready!

Isolating the joints has two outcomes that you can focus on: one is better health, while the other is better martial arts.

For health, isolating the joints leads to better flow. It is like a gentle massage to both the joints and to the soft tissues around the joints. You can think of the gentle movements of the joints like “oiling the joints,” and at the same time reigniting and charging the energetic system. The gentle movements of the ligaments stimulate the energetic system.

Remember, when it comes to health purposes, move the joints with 40% to 60% effort. Move gently, like your hands are in warm water. You will get better, with time and practice, on both isolation of the joints as well as with the movement. Practice makes perfect!

You will also find that moving the joints gently helps tremendously with Arthritis and other chronic pains around the joint areas, and elsewhere. Many of my students were able to reduce inflammation in the joint or in the tendons around the joints with the gentle joint movements.

Also, over time, breathing deep and emptying the mind while practicing the joint will allow you to experience a nice form of moving meditation.

Many times, when doing the movements correctly, I experience a nice warm feeling in the joint area which then spreads into the rest of the body.

For martial arts, and for various sports, moving the joints is done slowly at first, for correct isolation. Over time, the speed increases to improve performance.

The hands joints are important for both individuals that are interested in martial arts, and for those interested in improving their performance in sports activities. In martial arts, the hands are used for blocking, grabbing, and striking.

While the lower body joints are essential for both martial arts and sport activities, in martial arts, the legs are used for kicking and taking down your opponent.

Over time, you will develop both strength and speed in the joints, which will upgrade both your martial arts and sports abilities.

If flexibility is important, both leg and upper body strength are essential.

Use this exercise to improve both leg strength and speed.

Remember the art of 40%, 60%, and 80% movements too! Each one has different purposes and goals.

That’s all for this week! Come back next week for another video about isolating the joints while doing Tai Chi and Qi Gong!

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 with the Body Markers: Arms and Shoulder Girdle

Hello again Mind-Body students! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

We are closing in on the end of the year here, and only have three "stationary" body marker stretches left. Once we complete those today, there will be another three blogs on some moving variations for these body markers. Then, the final blog of 2017 will be the series blog for all 9 flexibility body markers, stationary and moving. After that we have our holiday break for a few weeks. Time flies!

If you've missed part 1 and/or part 2 of this body marker series for releasing the skeleton from soft tissue tension, check them out now!

Body Marker #7: Shoulders

The shoulder is an incredibly complex joint, with lots and lots of soft tissue around it that can become stiff and frozen for many reasons. Because of this, we like to do 4 different postures of stretches that enables you to stretch the joint in every direction. Use a belt or a rope if you need help maintaining the stretch! Remember, 80% effort!


Body Marker #8: Neck

Modern day life creates a huge amount of stress on our neck, with desk jobs, computer use, cell phones, driving, and more. I developed these three postures for the neck to help free it from the soft tissue strain it can experience on a daily basis.


Body Marker #9: The Wrists

You may not think they are that important to stretch, but think about it! We use our wrists for just about everything we do. If you allow your forearm and hand muscles and tissue to freeze around your wrist, you will not only find it harder to do daily tasks, but you will experience a lot of pain as well. Don't let that happen: use this simple stretch to release tension in the wrist. You can do it sitting, or standing while using a wall.


And that's it for the stationary body markers for flexibility! We'll see you all again next week!

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


P.S. BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!

All of my Udemy courses are currently on sale for the shopping holiday! If you haven't yet bought them, you should definitely do so in the next 4 days, before the sale ends! Each of the courses is currently just $10! Many of the courses have several hours of content in them. It is a great deal, but only available for a couple days!

Tell your family and friends to make free Udemy accounts and buy them as well! There is no better time to start a new Tai Chi program.

If you have already bought my courses, thank you! Please write a review on the Udemy website if you found the course helpful. Reviews are the best way to help new people on Udemy find my courses.