Wealthy Health-Wise

keeping it small & simple

10 Reasons Why You Should be Practicing Tai Chi September 22, 2011

Filed under: Medicine — Kazi @ 11:54 pm
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Their doing it in the park
their doing it after dark
Tai Chi, Oh yeah

OK, so I got a little creative with the songs’ original lyrics. But you must admit, Tai Chi fits nicely into the Rock Creek Park chorus.

Tai Chi is a Chinese internal martial art. One of the many exercise forms that fall under the greater umbrella of what the Chinese call Chi Kung (or Qi Gong). These exercises are not reserved for the martial arts community. Tai Chi is practiced by people from all walks of life. Young and old, strong and frail, athletes and scholars. Everyone can benefit by adding a regular Tai Chi practice to their self-healing regimen.

Here are 10+ Reasons Why You Should be practicing Tai Chi.

1. Tai Chi is Safe, efficient and effective (SEE) – i have yet to hear of anyone being injured by participating in Tai Chi practice. The movements are slow and grounded. There is no dangerous equipment involved.

2. Efficient practicing Tai Chi for 20 minutes a day can have a tremendous positive effect upon your health, strength and flexibility. You get a substantial return on your energy/time investment.

3. Effective- unlike many of the new fad exercises and equipment popping up every other day on our televisions and internet, Tai Chi has been around for over a thousand years. First, only being handed down within Chinese family lineages. Tai Chi’s effectiveness as a health tonic has led to its spread throughout the known world. Many progressive health centers like the Mayo Clinic recommend Tai Chi to their patients and in many cases have an instructor on staff.

4. Tai Chi fosters stress resilience. In addition to the myo-facial workout, Tai Chi’s mental focus and breathing techniques teach you how to recognize and reduce stress within the mind-body continuum.

5. You can practice alone or in a group. Are you the solitary type? Do you like to really focus during your exercise? Or does a group atmosphere motivate you and allow you to meet new, like-minded friends? Well, either way you can find Tai Chi instruction that fits your preferences.

6. No additional equipment necessary. All you need it your able body, desire and an instructor. There are more advanced forms of Tai Chi that uses a sword as a practice weapon. But it will be some time before you are ready to tackle this level, if you choose.

7. Gets you outdoors. Tai Chi can be practiced anywhere, but you get the most benefit practicing in the outdoors. preferably in a natural setting. The fresh air (deep breathing is a crucial part of Tai Chi), the sunlight  (many Americans are significantly Vitamin D deficient) and the sounds of nature, add unparalleled healing elements to your Tai Chi practice.

8. Cost effective. Tai Chi is a choreographed movement. And so the key to learning it is practice, practice, practice. You can progress just fine attending 1 sessions per week. The rest of your practice is done on your own or with other classmates, in between sessions with your instructor.

9. Tai Chi practice creates body awareness. Practicing Tai Chi teaches you how to listen to your body. You will begin to notice how your body reacts to your movement and develop a greater awareness of your energy level through the day. The little changes in body function that would have previously gone unnoticed, will become more apparent. This is extremely helpful for western men, who have been raised to ignore pain and use our bodies to the edge of abuse, before seeking out the assistance of a healing professional.

10. No special fitness apparel required. As long as your regular clothing is not tight and allows you to move freely (you need to take some big steps, raise you arms high, pivot and twist at the hip), you will have no problem practicing on your lunch break and returning to you desk without a shower and change of cloths.

A more significant motivator should be how Tai Chi practice can benefit your health. Researchers have found that intensive Tai Chi practice shows some favorable effects on:

  • the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness
  • has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia,.
  • Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.
  • reduced levels of LDL’s 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks.
  • compared to regular stretching showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • A pilot study has found preliminary evidence that tai chi and related qigong may reduce the severity of diabetes.
  • In a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.
  • A systematic review funded in part by the U.S. government, of the current (as of 2010) studies on the effects of practicing Tai Chi found that, 1 hour to 1 year of regular Tai Chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between Tai Chi practice and psychological health.”

Now that you know what you’re missing:

Join The Medicine Movement – Fall Tai Chi Schedule

Fall Hiking Schedule

 

7 Seasonal Adjustments to Balance Your Health-Fitness Routine October 8, 2010

Filed under: Health — Kazi @ 9:43 pm
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I was sitting on my back porch today. Soaking up the last rays of warmth before the sun dips further south. Most of the trees here are still pretty green. There are some scattered red and orange beauties, making their transition. And the few golden-yellow giants in the distance confirm that the first chill is not far away.

Autumn, more commonly known as fall is a season in which “things fall apart.” The leaves fall from the trees and fruit from the vine. Signaling the time for harvest, in-gathering and grounding.

The wise woman & man recognize the change of season as a shift in the energy governing the earth’s life, health and strength. To take advantage of the spirit of the season, it’s necessary to adjust our schedules, activities and diets to our environment.


Here are 7 suggestions to help get the most out of the cool-drying nature of Autumn.

1.Earlier to bed, later to rise.

Like the Sun, we can benefit by shortening our day. Add an extra ½ hour to your down time. You can add thirty minutes at each end of your rise and retire cycle or use the time for internal work like reading scripture/spiritual literature, contemplating nature or the stars, writing in your day/dream journal.


2.Nutrients in, garbage out.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the lungs and colon energy correspond to the fall season. Extra attention should be given to balancing any deficiencies in their function. Clean your nostrils each morning with the aid of a Netty pot, using slight sea salted water. Reduce your intake of mucus forming foods. Use expectorant herbs as a cordial tea to keep the lungs clear. The skin is a direct extension of the colon. Brushing the skin with a loofah or other wet brush will exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate circulation. Eat locally grown, fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables to help clean the colon. In some instances, a colonic may be in order.


3.Fall back.

Reduce the intensity, length or frequency of your fitness regime. Harvest and begin storing life force in your energy channels to sustain you in the cold season when the sun will be scarce. Try one of these suggestions- if your working out 6 days a week, give yourself an extra day of rest. Train for 40 min. instead of an hour. Don’t increase your max weight or cardio/duration until the spring.


4.Work your inside game.

Increase you meditative and energy exercise time. Move from the outside in. The internal martial arts are excellent for balancing and fortifying your inner bodies. Practice standing and moving meditation forms to ground your mind-body. Release excess toxins into the earth, so that they can be transformed into life-sustaining energy. Yoga and Chi Kung are among the most popular forms practiced in the U.S. today. Find a teacher now and use the fall/winter seasons to build the foundation of your practice.


5.Enjoy the harvest.

Eat foods that are locally in season. Apple picking opportunities are available on farms throughout the east coast of the U.S. right about now. Take the family, get all the apples you can eat and have a blast doing it. Eat as much fall harvest food as you can: artichoke, arugula, broccoli, endive, beets, broccoli raabe, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, chicories, cranberries,eggplant, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, scallion, green onion, leeks, okra, pears, peppers, grapes, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkin, radish, spinach, sweet potato, turnips, squash and zucchini.


6.Baton down the hatches.

Start fortifying your residence against the coming wind and cold. Seal the windows and doors. Stock up wood for the fireplace. Stock up on rock salt for melting ice. Have your furnace serviced. Flush the radiators. Flush all gas powered garden equipment. Prepare to bring in the potted plants. Put away your garden hoses. Cover the swimming pool. Rearrange furniture to take advantage of the warmth of light from southern windows. Change your wardrobe. Put away the spring/summer clothing in exchange for the cold weather gear. Winterize your car.


7.Give thanks.

When we harvest the benefits of our hard work, we have to keep in mind that very little is accomplished alone. There are forces helping us both seen and unseen. Be grateful for all of the people who support, encourage, guide and challenge us. Give thanks to whatever force you hold to be “greater than yourself”, for allowing you an opportunity to live another day and make your unique contribution to the world. There is someone in the world right now, that would give anything to be in your shoes . . . . . . literally.


Those who do not lose their base endure
Those who die but do not perish have longevity
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

Above quote by permission of Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006.


 

A step in Time April 21, 2010

Filed under: Fitness,Health,Lifestyle — Kazi @ 10:53 am
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Running and Jogging is not something I do often. I kinda like my Knees and shins just the way they are. And at age 50, can’t see any real benefit in pounding the pavement everyday.  But, occasionally I get an urge to run.  So I go to my local park and put in a couple of miles.

To make it interesting, I incorporate a few strength exercises along the way.  I have found this to really add to the workout. I guess it helps ME because, in addition to the above. Jogging can get to be a bit boring.  Especially running around a track.  Which is something I haven’t done in years.

By adding some body weight exercises to your jogging routine you create a great interval workout and reduce boredom at the same time (read efficient).  Did I mention no equipment required.

Here is the workout I have planned for today:

  • Start off at a slow pace
  • after 5 minutes pick up speed (still jogging, not running)
  • at 3 min. stop – 20 power squats
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min sprint equivalent of about 20 yards
  • resume jog
  • at 3 min. stop – 20 push ups
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min. sprint
  • resume jog
  • at 3 min. stop – 10 reverse lunges (stepping back)
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min. sprint
  • resume jog
  • after 3min stop – 20 crunches
  • follow with Walking Stretch Routine

This should take all of 30 min. to complete. You can use this as is or replace with your own exercises and intervals.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp continues Thursday. 5 sessions remaining.
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kazi@mybdoytemple.net

 

Springboard April 7, 2010

I pray that everyone is enjoying the transition of the seasons.  I can’t remember my first conscious experience of spring blossoming. What I do remember is being fascinated by how one day the landscape is grey, brown and black.  Soon the rains move in and bring their luggage. They cast  a darkness over the land (da duuuum).  Suddenly, the sun reappears,  high in the sky. This is when the magic happens.  Everywhere is growth, color and fragrance.  The very air is filled with the sound of activity.  Heads that were covered and faces towards the ground (and away from the wind) are revealed. Community returns above ground. I can’t help it.  Every single time, it blows me away. It all happens minus computers, management, paper work, etc.  It’s so elegant and efficient.

When spring reveals itself, I actually feel the same way I do upon awakening in the morning.  Not sure where I’ve been, but I’m very familiar with what’s ahead of me. We use morning water to cleanse and purify the  images, thoughts, memories and judgements we may encounter in the uncensored night.  Morning is when we release and consume water,  salt and fresh.  The water is refreshing, cleansing and connecting. Spring brings the rains.  She splashes water on our heads, gently coaxing the thirsty soul back into this world .

Springs energy is also explosive.  It takes over a previously dormant space and fills it with life, activity, community and beauty. It transforms the landscape so drastically, in such a short time, that it can SHOCK the consciousness into bearing witness to it’s presence.  Spring doesn’t creep up on you.  She explodes into your awareness like plant spirit medicine shamans.  She whirls on one leg sending the wind spinning from the hem of her skirt. The sweat from her head showers sweet water when it shakes like calabash and shekere.  If you allow her to teach you her whirling dance, you can ride the hem of her skirt to the success of your aims.

Our annual wake up call visits us this season. Let’s ride in the direction of the wind. Let’s spend a few days weeding and seeding our psycho-social gardens. Lets’ reach out, touch, expand our family/networks.  Let’s get working on our new projects or new phases of old projects. Let’s Spring Ahead.

Let’s be Rainmakers, Garden Keepers and Truth Sayers again.

muchpeace,
Kazi

Rise and Shine Your Light Divine

http://mybodytemple.net
http://mybodyfitbootcamp.com
http://twitter.com/50andFIT

 

stay tuned for some “ain’t necessarily so” pearls of wisdom March 6, 2010

At 50 years of age I am seeking, experimenting with and embracing ways to use emerging wisdom to balance waning strength.  Juggling with ideas sacred, profane, fun and sometimes frightening. Playing the role of child, brother, father, friend, neighbor, coach, educator, activist, researcher, therapist, wilderness guide, entrepreneur and wanna-be blogger. This blog will serve as a place for me to share thoughts, experiences, experiments, results, questions, stories, encounters, insights, conflicts, confusion, obstacles, progress, plans, images of  the unknown.  About Life, Wisdom, Health and Wealth.  Enjoy the ride.

The blog is a work in progress.  Learning by doing.  Suggestions are welcome.  Comments are encouraged.  Criticism is accepted , though painful. Don’t hesitate to spread the word.