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: Martial Meditations: Reduce Stress & Make Better Decisions

Only two more weeks for the blog this year, mind-body students! After next week, we’ll be on our holiday break until 2019! Today, we finish up the introductions to my mind-body courses with an introduction to my newest course.

My newest Udemy course is called Martial Meditations: Reduce Stress & Make Better Decisions. I used a different design philosophy when making this course, and decided to set it out in three sections.

The first section is a set of warm-up exercises that get your body ready for the meditation in section two.

The meditation is the main focus of the course, and is meant to be the part of the course that you can eventually extend to be as long as you want. After a while you won’t even have to re-watch the meditation. You can just follow along with the warm-up, and then get right into the meditation that you know well.

The third section is the cool-down. After every good meditation, you want to gently stretch and move the energy you have built up out into your body to nourish it and energize your mind. That’s how it helps you make better decisions. By making a regular mind-body practice out of this course, you will reduce your stress levels and be better equipped to make complex decisions in your professional and personal life.

What you’ll learn

By taking this course and making the techniques part of a mind-body routine, you should see improvements in their physical and mental health, as well as your professional performance!

Are there any course requirements or prerequisites?

  • Basic mobility, such as being able to stand, walk, and sit for several minutes.

  • You will need a wall, and a chair.

Who this course is for:

  • Professionals looking to make better decisions and reduce their stress level.

  • People who work in a high-stakes or competitive environment.

  • Anyone who wishes to improve their overall quality of health and mental energy with a simple course.

This course is highly focused on developing one particular meditation technique with lots of supportive techniques and material around it. If that is the kind of program you think would work for you, then I highly recommend that you buy this course! If you think that you would like something more long-form, or with a focus on a particular part of the body, then definitely take a look at my other Udemy courses.

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

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!

Tinnitus? Migraines? Try These Head, Neck and Shoulder Girdle Techniques

Good to have you back, mind-body students!

Over the summer, I had a few people reach out to me about health issues they were having with their head, neck, and/or shoulders. This area of the body, which are the shoulder girdles and everything that sits above them, have a similar group of techniques that we use to restore and maintain health.

Issues that people frequently ask me about in this area include: headaches, migraines, sore neck and upper back, frozen shoulder, eustachian tube disfunction (“clogged ears”), tinnitus (constant noise or ringing in the ears), and a variety of other forms of chronic issues or pain. Many many people suffer from these issues, especially due to the toll that working at a desk over a computer for an extended time can have.

For people that have issues like these, I will often give them a “mind-body prescription” that looks something like this:


Mind-Body Prescription for Head, Neck and Shoulder Girdle Health

Before we begin, it is key to know my Rule of 80% Effort. Especially when it comes to the head and neck area, you are in danger of doing more harm than good if you push your body too much. The head and neck require very gentle movements to heal and increase the flow of energy. So do 80% effort with all these exercises!

First Stretch: Iron on the Wall

For most people, the muscles between the neck and the shoulders (the trapezius muscle is the easiest to feel here) are as hard as a rock! This is because modern people are constantly looking down at their desk or their phone, as so this muscle is always under tension while trying to stabilize the head and neck.

Iron on the Wall takes the tension out of this muscle group and allows it to relax. Many people find this exercise does wonders for not only their neck, but their back, shoulders, and head as well. All of those areas are interconnected by muscles! Do Iron on the Wall for 3 minutes, twice a day. You can even do it with your kids!

Second Stretch: Elbows Over Head and Behind the Back

Next, we want to give a good stretch to your shoulder muscles in all direction, so we want to do two complementary exercises: Elbows Over Head, and Elbows Behind the Back.

The over head part of this technique opens up the lungs (the sides of the lungs especially) and relaxes the arms and shoulders. The behind the back part of the technique allows you to relax the neck, deltoids, and lats especially well. Give yourself space to relax and breath deep while you stretch. You’ll want to spend two minutes in each of these postures, twice a day.

Third Stretch: Rotating the Neck Using the Wall and a Block

The next technique is for increasing our range of motion when rotating the neck. You would be surprised how many people have lost a lot of mobility of their neck! Are you someone who can rotate their neck more to one side than the other? That is a very common issue too.

Rotating the Neck with the Wall and a Block is a great way to regain your lost mobility in the neck, as well as increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, and reduce muscle stress.

The neck doesn’t require stretching for a long period of time. Instead, do one version of this stretch five times a day, but for only 1 minute to each side.

Fourth Stretch: Neck and Upper Back “Emergency Posture”

This technique, the upper neck stretch on a table (also called the Emergency Upper Back posture) is great for when you are in your office and your neck and upper back are really bothering you. However, it is also a classic posture for releasing tension from your head, neck, upper back, and shoulders.

Sit in this posture twice a day for 3 minutes each time.

Final Technique: Face Meditation

Finally, you want to conclude our mind-body prescription each day with a nice meditation. In this case, you should probably be doing the Face Meditation, which focuses the mind on relaxing every layer of the face until you have the sensation of being just a skull with no soft tissues pulling on it.

Many people who suffer from chronic tension, pain, or stress in or around the face and head don’t realize how much tension they hold in their face.

You can sit in this meditation for as long as you like, but I suggest doing it for 10-15 minutes at first, and then sit longer in it as you get better at relaxing and focusing the mind on each part of the face.

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

Mind-Body Workout #10: Strengthening Your Roots

Welcome back mind-body students! We have had a lot of posts about research and special events on the blog lately! These are all great, and I am so happy to share the amazing work we are doing with all of you. However, I also like to have action on my blog too!

So let's dive into a great mind-body workout this week, and get back into the groove of our mind-body routine!


Mind-Body Workout #10: Strengthening Your Roots

Let's begin with some stretching of the key muscles that support stability and balance. Stretching these muscles is not only important for flexibility and avoiding falls, but it is also a key part to releasing our skeleton from being a prisoner of the soft tissue. This improves blood flow, which allows oxygen to reach all of our cells more effectively, and energizes our whole mind-body system!

The first stretch will be the Flamingo Stretch for our hips. Our hips are the core of our body, and they are responsible for directing the strength that we generate from our legs. Having strong roots is not much help if you cannot use your hips correctly! Do the stretch to each side (each leg) for 2-3 minutes, using whatever support you need.

Next we will stretch our lower back out in each of its major directions using the Five Musketeers Stretch. Just like with the hips, the lower back is responsible for directing a lot of the strength of our root system (our legs). If your lower back is tight, you will not be able to properly strengthen your legs! Do this stretch like I show in the video, for about 1-2 minutes at each angle. Use blocks or books and pillows to properly support yourself so that you are doing 80% effort.

For our last stretch, we will be working on the tightest muscles in our body: our hamstrings! This technique is an old favorite I call "Vitamin H." While we do this stretch, we will also be focusing on performing "water breath." This will begin to really engage our mind and breath into the workout. This stretch you can hold for 3-4 minutes, but make sure you are doing 80% effort, just like before!

For our first of three strengthening exercises, we will be moving Up and Down Like the Moon and the Sun. Remember to do the two sets, legs apart and legs together. Up to 15 (in each set!) is beginner level, 15-30 repetitions is intermediate, and 30-50 repetitions is the advanced level of leg strength. Do the amount that you are able to with 80% effort. 

From working our quadriceps and other thigh muscles, we are moving down to the calves! This exercise has you go up onto your toes, and then roll back onto your heals. It works your calf muscles as well as massages the bottom of your feet. The feet are so important for generating the strength and force from the ground that everyone needs. Whether you are a martial artists who wants to throw a powerful kick, or just a person who needs to run up and down a flight of stairs, strong and flexible feet are so important. Do this 20-30 times, and be sure to pay attention to your breathing like I mention in the video.

Finally, we are going to practice moving up and down from the floor safely. This may seem like it contradicts what our workout is about. Why would we practice this if the goal is to have strong roots and not to fall over? The answer is pretty simple! Everyone falls over sometime. When you practice this movement, not only are you getting a good workout in for your whole body (especially your legs), but you will also be teaching your body how to react when it loses balance: bend the knees, move down low in a straight down way so your body can "collapse" instead of "fall". Do this 10 times to each side, practicing getting down and up from one side and then the other.

And that's all for this week! I hope you enjoy the workout!

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

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!