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:

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No Health. No Wealth. Getting Our Priorities Straight October 21, 2010

Filed under: Health,Lifestyle — Kazi @ 6:00 am
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A sharp mind and a healthy body are fundamental to success in life and career. If your are in a business that demands critical decision making, stamina and a positive attitude, being healthy is particularly important.

How many of us these days suffer the stresses of long hours, multitasking and back to back deadlines. In addition to business and career pressures, we have family and community responsibilities pulling from every direction.

The stress that such a lifestyle can produce is enough to challenge the strength of your body and mind.

When you are unable to attend a critical business meeting due to a health issue, your colleagues will surely understand, but make no doubt about it, there will also be a certain level of disappointment and dissatisfaction in the atmosphere. If this becomes a pattern for you, their tolerance will swiftly fade.

A common cold, headache or twisted ankle can reduce you performance and jeopardize an important project. Imagine what a major illness could have on your plans.

So in addition to the hard and soft skills needed for success in your career, your health should be considered as a major asset to success in whatever field or venture you pursue.

Start viewing your health as part of your resume or as a key resource in you business plan.

Take proactive steps to make sure you prepare yourself physically, psycho-emotionally and socially to handle the challenges of your busy life.

Preventive health practices that foster and support vitality, clear thinking, restful sleep and and good digestion, should be included in your arsenal of strategies for business success.

Here are some key practices to help you obtain and maintain a healthy, happy body and mind.

  • Be sure to get enough sleep each night. Condition your sleep cycle by getting in bed at the same time every night.
  • Pay attention to your diet. Don’t treat your diet as casually as you do a trip to the toilet. Eat fresh, whole foods that sustain, energize and heal you naturally. Be sure to supplement your diet with super food snacks & herbs that fill in the nutritional gaps in your main meals.
  • Make exercise a daily routine. It doesn’t have to be a 60 minute sweat fest. I0-20 min. of vigorous exercise, 3-5 days a week, will keep you in shape once you’ve attained a healthy level of fitness for your age.
  • Your body is your personal temple. Keep it as clean as a house of worship erected as a dwelling space for divine. Inside and Out.  Add a seasonal detox and a regular trip to the sauna to your health maintenance schedule.
  • Don’t dwell on negative thoughts and emotions. Address any situation that has become a distraction directly. Then let it go and move on. Present your case in a calm but direct face to face or written messages that expresses your concerns.
  • Make time to share, consult, support and be nurtured by your social network. Whether family or friends. Make sure you are not isolated and have a circle of people to connect with who are not involved in your career.

The old attitude of putting your health on the back burner because your business comes first, is passe.

The compartmentalized model of life is slowly fading into the sunset as the integrated model that connects all aspects of our lives into one whole re-emerges on the opposite horizon.

Allow it to become your path to wealth, wisdom and good health.

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Sitting Bull April 20, 2010

Filed under: Health,Lifestyle — Kazi @ 9:22 pm
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A healthy lifestyle addresses all of the aspects of our lives that contribute to our ability to thrive physically,socially and psychologically. No stone should be left unturned. These three components of our lives are integrated.  They support each other, inform each other and work together as a unified whole that is the cornerstone of true health.

As you already know.  I am a stickler for efficiency when it comes to health and healing power tools (strategies, techniques). I am a believer in the acronym KISS: keep it small and simple.  So anytime I find a tool that is not only safe, effective and efficient, but addresses more than one of these crucial areas of our being at once. I incorporate it into my way of life. One essential power tool that I discovered over 30 years ago and have been committed to for over 20 years is the practice of meditation.

Meditation practice addresses the physical body through relieving stress and resetting the sub-conscious, life maintenance faculties of our being, in the way that you re-start your computer after a minor crash.

Meditation teaches us patience and to pause the constant ego chatter that prevents us from truly hearing and connecting beyond our own self interest, without becoming a slave to tribal, common senser standards of right and wrong.


Meditation also acquaints you with that part of your self that is quiet, non-judgmental and most important enduring.  The part that is always and forever in the here and now, which is all there is. Making this acquaintance is the key to mind health and to tapping the wealth of the psyche.

Here is another simple meditation practice you can begin today.

  1. Find a comfortable, quiet space.
  2. Sit erect, but not tense on the edge of your seat.
  3. Breathe deeply and slowly into your belly (your chest and shoulders should not rise and fall).
  4. Mentally scan your body from head to toe for areas of tension and release them.
  5. Now, begin counting backwards from 100. Counting one number for each inhalation and each exhalation.
  6. If at any point you lose count, return to 100. Do not become frustrated. Losing count is normal in the beginning. It too shall pass.
  7. When you arrive at 0, just sit quietly and listen. Just listen.
  8. After 5-10 minutes, very slowwwly open your eyes.
  9. When your focus fully returns to the outer world, slowly stand and end your practice.

Run this experiment for 28 days (four weeks) and keep a journal of your experience during the practice and of new things you notice in your physical, social and psychological life since beginning the practice.  Come back and share with us your findings.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating!
bro. jamal

muchpeace,
Kazi

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kazi@mybdoytemple.net

 

Knead To Know April 18, 2010

Filed under: Bodywork,Fitness,Health — Kazi @ 2:07 pm
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I guess it was somewhere in my thirties that I began to become intimately cognizant of my mortality. My bodies ability to mask and repair damage quickly and in the background, began to falter. I started noticing little kinks and aches that lasted beyond the initial incident and linger with me like that kid in grade school who just didn’t get the hint- “I don’t really want to be your friend dude.” Don’t judge me, it was grade school.

Since then, the incidents of aches, pain and accidents incurred while executing movements that I previously pulled of with my eyes closed, have increased exponentially. Truth be told, this is one of the reasons I became a fitness trainer.  I’ve always been an information junkie. I needed to know what the heck was going on and what could I do to prevent it.

My research revealed that I needed to change the way I was treating my body. I needed develop a program to strengthen my areas of skeleto-muscular weakness and relax their corresponding excesses.  Through self experimentation I discovered that many of my aches were do to hypertonicity.

Hypertonicity is an increased tension of the muscles, meaning the muscle tone is abnormally rigid, hampering proper movement. This condition is the opposite of hypotonicity. Hypotonicity is a decreased tension in muscle tone. A lack of muscle tone inhibits proper movement as the muscle is not developed or is too soft to support the body.

So, information junkie that I am, the next stop for me was massage school.  There I learned simple time tested techniques for relieving hypertonic muscles.  But there was still a problem.  Occasionally I would have pain on my own body that I either could not reach or could not apply the proper pressure in order to relieve the pain.  Back to the drawing board.

The solutions I found were in the use of a few simple inexpensive tools that everyone (at least everyone over the age of 35) should have in there homes.  First up, the Thera Cane. This is a deep pressure massage device that can be used to gently (or not so gently) massage muscles on any part of the body.  What I like most about the Thera Cane, is that it greatly reduces the amount of strength you need to get deep into the muscle. I use it mainly for trigger point work. Relieving a trigger point requires that you apply continuous pressure to a pin point area for up to a minute. Sounds simple until those minutes start adding up.  You can get a Thera Cane online for about $30.

The Dolphin Massager gets the most use in my arsenal. Slaving over a hot computer to bring you folk these illuminating and popular post (i have total of 10 followers as of today, woohooooo!) can lead to aching upper back, shoulder and neck muscles.  The dolphin relieves that pain for me in a matter of minutes. It’s also good for relieving lower back ache.  A client was purchasing these to give as Christmas gifts a few years back.  Sharper image was going out of business and selling them for about $20 bucks each.  I asked her to get me one also. (are yo u starting to see a pattern here. some say i’m cheap, i prefer frugal.) The Budgetnista would be proud of me). This is a purchase that has paid for itself a thousandfold.

Research over the last ten years has directed the attention of bodyworkers and fitness professionals to put more time into releasing myofacial tissue.  Muscles are covered with a sheath of connective tissue (fascia) that helps them glide over surrounding tissues.  This tissue can loose its pliability and stick to adjacent muscles, bones or ligaments. I use foam rolls and my own body weight, to reduce pain and tension resulting from restricted fascia. Foam rollers run anywhere from $15 to $40 depending upon the length, type of foam and manufacturer.

Ball of varying sizes can also be used for myofacial release work. There are balls made specifically for this technique, but tennis balls, soft medicine balls and other firm balls of various sizes have worked just fine for me.

So if you suffer from acute aches and pains and looking for some tools and techniques to help you spell relief. Give these a try. If you need some extra direction, hit me up.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp (six sessions) begins this coming Tuesday.
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kazi@mybdoytemple.net

 

Work In, When You Can’t Workout April 16, 2010

Although I’ve been enjoying the outdoors lately, working out in the open air, getting inspiration from the other folks exercising in my local park. There are those days when it rains and I just have to settle for a home gym training session. So is life. Flexibility is my middle name (well, at least for the sake of this post).  When the heavens hand me a lemon. I proceed to make lemon aide.

Simple indoor workout to keep me 50andFit:

20 min. on Schwinn Airdyne Stationary Bike. If you’re not familiar with this piece of equipment, the movable arms allow you to get an upper body (arms), lower body and cardio workout all at once. (I’m really big on efficiency. Just not an hours in the gym kind of guy.)You can even place your feet on the pegs and power the bike using your arms alone. This is a great stationary bike for athletes, beginners and even someone using it for rehab purposes.

I purchased mine used, from someone on Craigs List about 5 years ago (evolution model) for about $150.  It was practically brand new,although the owner had the machine for over 3years. This is often the case with exercise equipment. Folks commonly make the purchase, use the device for a month or two, then it becomes a clothing hanger. One day I’ll tell you how I got a bow flex machine for $0.00.

Added bonus in using the Airdyne: the resistance is provided by a fan which replaces the front wheel. Once you get this baby going, the fan provides a welcomed breeze while you ride.

An alternative for those who already own a bike, is to get a stationary bike stand or trainer which allows you to turn your road bike into a stationary bike.

Add a little music (I like to listen to audio books) and you get your workout indoors.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp (six sessions) begins this coming Tuesday.
www.mybodytemple.net
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Magnolias, Lilac and Sage – Oh my! April 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kazi @ 9:30 pm
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Here I go again. Running my mouth about the spectacle of spring. I can’t help it. Ever since I was a child, spring always had a way of capturing my attention and giving and connecting me to the earth. It’s as if the world just becomes a much Kinder and Gentler (my favorite Bushism) planet, with unending opportunities for discovery.

So, I bump into my neighbor Joann today. She insist I come and experience the aromatic cacophony unfolding in her backyard. Her two big magnolia trees blossomed last week and are dropping the petals all over the place. Now if you have ever seen magnolias in bloom, I don’t have to tell you, it’s a beautiful sight. They are hot pink,white and large. The flip side is when the petals fall they decompose very quickly and turn brown. Not pretty. But the fragrance is fabulous. It takes over the air.

Next, we walk over to the lilac tree. You have to get very close to smell the fragrance, but when you get a whiff, man it’s heaven. Not to mention, the lilac flowers are some of natures eye candy.

In the back of the yard are three tall pine trees. Because the one in the middle is the tallest and they are so close together, the actually look like one huge pine from afar. When we walked up to the pines, the scent of pine needles made a bee line for my olfactory nerve. I got a rush that any drug addict worth there salt would die for. Ok, my secret is out. I am a certified tree huger. I’m not ashamed to claim it. I’m secure in my masculinity 🙂

Last on the list was the herb garden. The leaves of sage and thyme were just making their appearance, but their odor was already strong. I found the thyme to have a spicy odor. The sage reminded me of an astringent type of sour. Fresh herbs added to your food (at the right moment) in addition to the nutrients and flavor the contribute, bring fragrances that supplement the saying of grace They alert the taste bud and the digestive system to prep the house for the family reunion that is about to occur. We are what we eat.

So Kazi, that all sounds real nice and natury (I made that word up), but what does it all have to do with health and fitness. Well, whole health goes beyond working out and eating a balanced diet. A healthy lifestyle attunes you to the gifts, wonder and downright awesomeness of the everyday world around us. The ability to appreciate the simple things, the natural things, is a sign of a healthy body and psyche.

We spend so much time looking for happiness in things that have to be acquired or achieved. As if happiness has to be earned. I know this is the common sensors view of the world. And I agree that happiness can be found in our achievements and acquisitions. But the foundation of our happiness is in our ability to Be. Be-hold the miracle that is the earth. Be-hold the miracle of the creatures of the earth. Be-hold the miracle that is you and I. Be-hold the happiness shared by a flower dying. Grateful to have lived for just a few days. Just to remind us that we all have our time to shine and open the way for the next performance of natures show.

Let’s show our gratefulness for our common home. When nature smile on us, smile back.

muchpeaceluv,

Kazi

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On the 7th day he rested April 11, 2010

An integral factor in improving and maintaining health, wellness and fitness is often overlooked by the strong and the young. This factor is rest and rejuvenation. As members of a society that promotes the aggressive pursuit of goals, wealth and power, we have all been subliminally seduced into accepting the idea that work and play are both superior to rest.

We put the energetic, go getters on a pedestal of some inferred psycho-physical superiority that the rest of us should some how strive to match or at least concede our inferiority as mere mortals. Rest is viewed as a reward for our labor, not a major contributor to our health and happiness.

Fortunately, our lives are not completely in the hands of our belief systems and social pressures. Rest is something we cannot LIVE without. Sleep is an unavoidable, consequence of our daily energy expenditure and need for psychological and biological repair.

That part of our psyche that does not depend on outer, social, man made judgments to keep us alive, has no problem reducing our work output and shutting us down if necessary, when we don’t get proper rest. So let’s take heed to the guidance of our inner physician and make rest, recovery an integral part of our wellness regime.

Here are a few ways to ensure your getting the down time you need:

  • try to get to bed at approximately the same hour each night.
  • If you work from home, rise early and schedule a 15-20 minute siesta/cat nap into your day.
  • Take 3 minutes when transitioning from a completed task to begin a new one to just sit and release.
  • Schedule a vacation, staycation) or spiritual retreat into your annual calendar.
  • Hit the spa or schedule an appointment with a bodywork therapist at least once a month.
  • Get out of the city at least one weekend seasonally.
  • Include an healing art such as Yoga or Tai Chi as part of your exercise program.
  • Develop body awareness. Your body will let you know when it needs a break. This could help you avoid unnecessary down time.

muchpeaceluv,
Kazi

PS. Check out my upcoming Seated Massage Workshop

www.mybodytemple.net
www.mybodyfitbootcamp.com
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