Mind Body Exercise for Relaxation, Health & Strengthening Your Immune System By Ramel Rones
During this time when we are all isolating ourselves physically and at the same time dealing with both mental and physical stress, in the interest of not falling apart both physically and mentally and to strengthen our immune system, I thought that practicing some mind body exercises would be a great opportunity for both fun and health.
Prisoner of Soft Tissues
When you sit around for hours and days your soft tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and skin) start to shrink on top of your skeleton (your bones). I like to describe this as our skeleton being a prisoner of our soft tissues which starts a negative chain reaction. When you stop exercising your joints become restricted and your muscles get short and stiff. If you do not use it you lose it.
Physical tension usually turns into mental tension. Mentally you think you are “relaxing” on the sofa but actually, physically, you are collapsing. Over time you find yourself sore and stiff and not relaxed at all. Tight muscles pull on the bones which restrict the movement of your skeleton and over time cause physical discomfort and pain.
If you do not do anything about it before you know it you start to develop lower back problems, headaches from tight shoulders, pain in the knees and other joints: a negative chain reaction. Eastern philosophies do not distinguish between physical well being and the mental well being which may explain why after “relaxing” around the house for a while you start to feel agitated. You may become annoyed by everything around you as well as being annoying to others.
The way out of this negative chain reaction of mental and physical decline is a regular mind body routine which includes gentle stretching with deep breathing and a meditative mind, boosting your energetic system and evoking the spirit.
Stretches for Stress
I put together a few stretches to help with the most common problems we face under stress. Or try one of my videos, available from YMAA.com
Meanwhile, try these stretches and see if they make a difference during physical isolation. Notice if you feel any difference in your mental outlook and how you feel physically. When you first start stretching you might feel more physically tight than before. This is normal. It can take time for the stretching to have an effect on you. Give it a couple of days and rest afterwards to reap the results. Hold the stretches for at least one minute (longer for seasoned practitioners), breathe and make sure you use the rule of 80 percent effort!
A MIND-BODY WORKOUT FOR SHELTERING IN PLACE
1. Start with Iron on the Wall for 3 minutes.
IRON ON THE WALL
Stretch your arms on the wall and lean your forehead, gently, on the wall.
Relax your shoulders and neck muscles. Spine, bones and arms move up while the soft tissue moves down.
Breath deep through the nose and empty your mind from any thoughts.
Empty your mind by focusing on the breath or on the lower energy visualization.
2. Second, practice the Flamingo Stretch or Hip Extension for 2 to 3 minutes with deep breathing and an empty mind.
Close your eyes and visualize that you are a Flamingo: this way you are evoking the spirit for a complete mind body approach.
3. Next, release the neck muscles. You can practice this sitting on a chair or standing. Hold the stretch for 1 minute on each side. Repeat 2 - 3 times. Also helps relieve headaches.
Release Neck Tension
Inhale when turning the head to the sides and exhale as the head turns to the center.
Do both sides.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Do not resist them.
That only causes sorrow. -Lao Tzu
Happy stretching, deep breathing, empty your mind, strengthen your energetic system and evoke your spirit!
The above is from a March 23, 2020 blog by Ramel Rones where more exercises and videos can be found for “Elbows Over Your Head,” “Chair Twist,” “Turn and Twist” “Candle Watching” and more. http://ramelrones.com/blog