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: Alleviate Upper Back and Neck Pain with Tai Chi & QiGong

Welcome back mind-body students! I hope you all made a smooth transition during daylight savings, and are staying active even though it is getting darker earlier in the day! Speaking of which, a great way to stay active in the winter is with one of my online Udemy courses.

This week, we present an introduction to my course for Alleviating Upper Back Pain with Tai Chi and QiGong. This is one of my most popular, most well reviewed, and most commonly requested courses! As we all know, upper back and neck problems are becoming more and more common as people spend more and more time at their desk jobs, and on computers and phones.

Just like my last course intro, for my lower back pain course, this course is very focused on fixing upper back and neck issues. However, it does contain helpful techniques and Tai Chi principles that you can apply to your whole body health, not just your upper back and neck.

Unlike lower back issues, which usually just cause pain and stiffness, upper back and neck issues can cause stress, tension, headaches, migraines, and more, in addition to the pain and stiffness that any health issues can cause. This course is not just a physical therapy program for the upper back and neck: it is a total system of wellness (mind, body, and spirit), that you can apply across your entire health and prevention journey.

This course consists of 67 lecture videos, which total over 3 hours of video time that includes both learning and practicing each technique.

What are the requirements?

  • Willingness to invest 20 minutes a day to relieve and end your lower back pain

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Relieve and end your upper back pain

  • Provide the tools that will allow you to live a more enjoyable and pain free life

  • Prevent future injuries to your upper back

  • Learn basic Tai Chi & Qi Gong techniques

  • Learn to relax and reduce stress

  • Learn some meditation and deep breathing techniques

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone who suffers from acute or chronic upper back pain

  • People who sit at a desk much of the time and have upper back pain and stiffness

  • People who would like to be more active again

  • Stay at home moms

  • Athletes who have recurring upper back pain


I hope you, or someone you know who has neck and upper back issues, will invest in this course, and invest in not only getting relief from their symptoms, but also preventing future symptoms and working toward a system of total health!

See you next week! Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Introduction to my Online Courses: Relieve and End Your Lower Back Pain with Tai Chi & QiGong

Hello mind-body students! We’re going to jump right into our second installment of the introductions to my online courses this week, by looking at my Relieve and End your Lower Back Pain with Tai Chi & QiGong course.

As a quick reminder, all of my online courses are hosted on Udemy. Udemy is a free-to-join online learning platform that allows you to buy all kinds of courses ranging from computer programming to mind-body exercises. Once you buy one of my courses, you own it forever! You will be able to watch and review it as much as you want.

In this course, I guide you through a series of stretches, movements and elements of Tai Chi and Qi Gong that help the body recover from both acute back pain, as well as long term chronic pain. In addition, you will learn the power of deep breathing and meditation and will become more relaxed, lowering any stress you may have.

This course has many diverse and useful movements and stretches with all kinds of health applications. However, it is much more focused than my long-form Tai Chi course (see my last blog), so the majority of the content is aimed at relieving the pain, soft-tissue tension, and stress that people carry in their lower back.

The course spans 72 short and digestible lectures, which combined total over 5.5 hours of video for learning, practicing, and reviewing the various techniques and postures. By investing 20 minutes a day you will greatly improve your quality of life and enjoy activities that you have not been able to enjoy, perhaps for many years.

What are the requirements?

  • Willingness to invest 20 minutes a day to relieve and end your lower back pain

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Relieve and end your lower back pain

  • Provide the tools that will allow you to live a more enjoyable and pain free life

  • Prevent future injuries to your lower back

  • Learn basic Tai Chi & Qi Gong techniques

  • Learn to relax and reduce stress

  • Learn some meditation and deep breathing techniques

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone who suffers from acute or chronic lower back pain

  • People who sit at a desk much of the time and have lower back pain and stiffness

  • People who travel a lot

  • People who would like to be more active again

  • Stay at home moms

  • Athletes who have recurring lower back pain


If you, or someone you know, is suffering from serious lower back issues, this course is for them! This time of year, Udemy is constantly doing great sales on all their courses. If you are quick, and time your purchase right, you might be able grab the course for a great discount!

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

Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 7

Welcome back mind-body students!

This is our 7th and final part of the leg workout series, the previous installments of which you can find here: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. Next week we will consolidate all of the leg series into one post so that you can have all the links in one place.


We’ll begin this week with an advanced version of the outer hip stretch. Once you’ve practiced enough on the chair, you can work on stretching your hips while sitting on the floor. You can still use some kind of object, like a pillow or blankets, to support your knees and stay between 60% and 80% effort. Once you get comfortable and your body feels safe relaxing in these very tense muscles, you can gradually remove the supports that you use so that your legs can lie parallel to the floor.

Instead of a technique today, we’ve got my video about common walking issues. You should use this video to examine your own walking and see if you have any of the common issues I demonstrate. These include walking with one or both feet flaring outward, collapsed arches, lack of smooth rolling from heel to toe, etc. Once you have seen the ways that your walking might be causing misalignment and pain, you can begin working to correct them!

Finally, our meditation for this week is meditation the taoist way. In this video I review the way that taoist meditation uses visualizations of the energetic system to have purposeful effects on the body. The first step to building up the energetic system is to focus on the lower energy center. The easiest way to help you practice this visualization is to hold a small object in the front of the lower energy center (two inches below the navel). Once you can hold your focus on the energy center, and then visualize the energy center, you should be working toward “residing” in the energy center. Over time, as you’re able to reside in the energy center longer, and the visualization grows, you can replace the small object with a larger one, and an even larger one. Good luck!

See you next week! Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system, and evoke your spirit!

Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 6

Good to have you reading the blog again, mind-body students!

This will be Part 6 of our leg workout series, the previous installments of which you can find here: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.


Our stretch for this workout is a quad stretch called the “heron” stretch. This was one of the very first videos I posted on the blog! Stretching the quads is incredibly important for improving mobility and performance, in both your daily life as well as sports and martial arts. In the video, I show you how to do the stretch with a chair and a wall, or on the floor in “seza”, a sitting position.

Sit for 2-3 minutes at first, and then see if you can stretch comfortably for 4-5 minutes.

Next, we have “kick-backs", which is a great way to further stretch the quads and increase flexibility, but with a little more intensity than the heron stretch. You can get a good cardio exercise going as you practice this technique by doing it while running. See if you can do 15, 30, or 50 kick-backs on each leg.

And finally, we have the dissolving relaxation for this week’s finale. This exercise, which I show here on two blocks, is a follow-up to the light and heavy forces, and the grounding and rooting technique. After you are in an aligned and comfortable position, you focus on scanning the various “plateaus” of your body. When you reach a place of negative sensation or energy in your body, you dissolve it by using the metaphor or meditative mantra “Sold to liquid, liquid to gas.”

I have spent very long periods of time doing this meditation, and you should try to build up to 15, 30, or even 45 minutes if you really want to explore the depths of this technique. But to start off, just try to scan the whole body in 5 or 10 minutes.

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

Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 5

Welcome back students! We have another leg mind-body workout for you this week.

This is Part 5 of our leg workout series! You can find previous blogs in this series here: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 5

The stretch for this week is the groin stretch. The groin is the complementary group of muscles to the hip muscles that we stretched last week. Both of these groups of muscles are of the utmost importance for health and martial arts. They are key to proper leg strength, and most importantly for this stretch: flexibility.

Proper groin flexibility is so important for avoiding injuries from athletic activities and martial arts techniques. Groin injuries can prevent you from performing for several weeks, so stretch stretch stretch!

Once you have stretched your groin, you can move on to the technique I call “The Windmill Challenge.” It is mostly for the “young and restless” I like to say, but it is very good for increasing the flexibility and range of motion of your groin and hips. The goal is to practice until you can do ten in a row on each leg, without the spinning leg touching the ground.

If you have issues with stability, definitely consider replacing this technique with a different one, such as “Walk Like a Warrior.”

Lastly, the meditation this week is the Face Dissolving Relaxation. This meditation can be done with any of the breathing techniques we’ve reviewed so far. What you are trying to do here is release all of the tension in the many many layers of muscles and facia that the face has. Most people don’t realize how much stress they hold in their faces.

Relax the face, layer by layer, for five to ten minutes to start. As you practice this meditation more and more, you should be able to do it for even longer. If you can do it for 15 minutes, that is usually how long it takes to fully “dissolve” the layers of the face. You can sit for even longer as you get more experience. You will know when you have successfully completed the meditation, because you will have released all of the tension in the face, and it will feel like your head is just a skull.

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

Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 4

Glad to have you back mind-body students. It has been a rainy week here in Massachusetts, but this weekend is supposed to be beautiful. It is a perfect time to get in a nice leg workout!

So, here is Part 4 of our leg workout series! You can find previous installments here: Part 1Part 2, Part 3.


Leg Workout for Health and Martial Arts: Part 4

To begin this workout, we’re going to stretch the outer hips on a chair. Many many people forget to stretch this area, especially people who have back problems, or athletes and martial artists. The outer hips are such an important area of muscle, ligaments, fascia, and bone. They definitely deserve attention!

Do this stretch for 2-3 minutes on each side (each leg). The goal is to have your stretching leg rotated such that your lower leg is parallel to the floor. This stretch takes a lot of focus to relax into, so once you have watched the video and learned how to do it, focus the mind on the breathing and really make this a mind-body exercise!

Now that our hips are stretched, we are going to give the whole legs a workout with a movement called Tompu from side to side. This technique can be done at many different levels of difficulty, depending on how low you want to go on each side. Start with the heigh that fits your “80% effort” rule, and then work to deepen the movement from there. This technique improves strength, flexibility, balance, and even stretches all of your groin and inner thigh muscles too.

Begin with 10 to each side, and then work your way up to 20, 30, and even 50.

Last but not least, we will do one of my favorite breathing techniques as our meditation for this week. This breathing technique is called Diving for Pearls, and it is very simple, but everyone has lots of room for improvement. All you need to do is find your pulse, inhale, and hold your breath for ten heartbeats. Then exhale, inhale, and repeat.

As you begin to relax, your heartbeat should slow down a little bit, which means you will be holding breath a little longer each time. It is like your heart and lungs’ way of “stretching” and warming up. This is good! Practice doing this for 5 inhalations in a row. Eventually, you should work your way up to 10, 20, and even 30 heartbeats in a row. 30 in a row is very difficult, but if you can do it, you will feel totally focused and relaxed by the end of it. Good luck!

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