Asahi Nordic mind-body method offers solutions to both personal and global health issues
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION TO GLOBAL HEALTH ISSUES:
ASAHI NORDIC'S BACKGROUND, MISSION AND GOALS:
Asahi Nordic health exercise is the result of the collaboration of four Finnish health experts in 2004. Their goal was to develop a form of exercise that was slow-paced, safe, simple, effective and accessible to people of all ages and in all states of health. It was designed using the principles of flow, breath and awareness that can be found in Tai chi and Qi gong, but, unlike these Eastern practices, Asahi Nordic is very simple to learn, to do and to remember. It has no religious, political, cultural or martial arts traditions nor any ceremony involved, and everything about Asahi is based in modern medical science. It was also specifically designed to be an inexpensive way to exercise, with no need for special clothing or equipment. It is primarily done standing, but can easily be adapted to a sitting or horizontal position. Since 2004, more than a 1000 Finns have trained to become Asahi instructors and groups practice regularly all across Finland and in several other countries, as well, especially in the USA. Northern Michigan University is the first university in the world to offer Asahi on its curriculum.
ASAHI’S HEALTH BENEFITS:
Asahi Nordic is a health exercise specifically designed to meet the WHO recommendations for adult physical activity. Doing Asahi regularly strengthens the legs, improves balance and coordination, sharpens concentration and memory, increases body awareness and self-esteem, relieves stress, calms the mind, lowers blood pressure and boosts immunity to disease.
Practicing Asahi is perfectly safe to practice in groups, even under possible COVID restrictions, because it is always done at a distance of six feet from the next person, and can be done outdoors, or indoors with masks, if necessary. Practicing Asahi in groups provides important social contact and a feeling of inclusion. In the wake of the pandemic the need for social contact has increased dramatically. In the fall of 2022 the Finnish Lung Association (Hengitysliitto ry) chose Asahi as part of its Long Covid Rehabilitation program and has trained 16 Asahi teachers specifically for this.
FOR YOUTH, BUT FOR EVERYONE:
Young people spend more time indoors using computers, smartphones and videogames and get less and less physical exercise outdoors. This is having a negative impact on their digestion, their posture, their stamina, their body weight and is raising their risk to contract diabetes, asthma, as well as lowering their immunity to disease. Asahi doesn’t take long to practice every morning and would be a wonderful addition to any school curriculum. It also improves concentration, memory, and creates a social bonding effect.
That’s why the Asahi Nordic Institute has chosen Northern Michigan University as part of its pilot program - not only to teach college students Asahi before chronic health conditions develop, but to introduce Asahi to the grade school level by teaching it to future teachers in NMU’s education department.
Asahi is accessible for everyone, since it doesn’t cost anything to practice. And, because it doesn’t require any special equipment, it is easy to do outdoors in the fresh air and in contact with nature. Asahi instructors emphasize the importance of relaxing, getting well grounded, and of being aware of all the sounds, sights, sensations and scents in the immediate surroundings. Developing a strong connection with nature at an early age can prevent a lot of mental and physical ailments later in life. See another blog which suggests teaching Asahi in the schools and using it as a whole family activity.
FOR THE ELDERLY:
The internist and geriatric specialist on the Asahi development team, Dr. Yrjö Mähönen, made sure that Asahi would be an effective way to keep the elderly healthy enough to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
Falling is often the reason that puts an elderly person in the hospital for the rest of their lives. Every Asahi practice contains a special set of balance exercises. There are also exercises specifically to densify the bones and prevent osteoporosis as well as eye movements to keep the field of vision wide open to see any possible obstacles.
FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES WITH DEPRESSION OR OTHER MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: Physical exercise has been shown in many studies to be as effective or more effective than pharmaceuticals in the treatment of depression. Moving the body can often release stored trauma better than trying to reach it by counseling. An Asahi session provides the beneficial feeling of belonging to the group without having to actually converse or draw any attention to yourself.
Asahi’s grounding effect and breathing combined with the movement takes the attention away from repetitive thought patterns and gives the brain a chance to relax and to stop destructive thought patterns. Asahi is so simple that everyone gets a feeling of accomplishment even after the first session. This does wonders for self-esteem and keeps people motivated to continue.
FOR PEOPLE WITH MUSCULOSKELETAL ISSUES:
Arthritis and osteoarthritis patients need to keep moving, as well as those with hip or knee replacements, but most forms of exercise are out of the question because they can cause more damage than good. Asahi is gentle, slow and repetitive, so that there is time to softly warm up stiff and tender joints. Asahi’s gentle pumping motion stimulates and rehabilitates cartilage while boosting metabolism and blood circulation. Asahi also focuses on developing good body alignment, which can help to prevent joint injuries from happening in the first place.
FOR PEOPLE WITH CIRCULATORY ISSUES:
Many forms of exercise are off limits for heart patients, because their pulse may rise too high. In an Asahi practice the heart rate stays within a safe range, never exceeding 120 beats/min.
FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES WITH DIABETES AND/OR WEIGHT ISSUES:
Asahi Nordic is not specifically designed to be a weight-loss exercise, but it is a safe way for people with extra body weight to start exercising. Asahi invigorates the circulatory and lymphatic systems, which in turn helps eliminate excess fluid and waste from all parts of the body. Asahi’s slow, flowing movements create a sense of gracefulness that overweight people may not often experience. This positive experience boosts their self-image immensely.
FOR PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY ISSUES:
Asahi teaches relaxed deep breathing. Asthma sufferers have been able to increase their lung capacity quite dramatically by practicing Asahi. By relaxing tension, Asahi also helps to open up the air passageways and promote freer breathing.
FOR PREGNANT WOMEN:
Asahi is a safe way for expecting mothers to prepare for childbirth. It is also an effective way to rehabilitate the body after childbirth and give stay-at-home mothers social contact with other adults.
FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS:
Asahi is an “equal opportunity” exercise form. No one need stand on the sidelines. Each person can adapt Asahi to meet their personal needs and capabilities. All combinations of standing, sitting and horizontal postures can be employed. The simple, slow series of movements are easy to imitate by watching, so verbal or auditory comprehension is not necessary. On the other hand, people with visual impairment can follow along with verbal cues. Even people paralyzed from the neck down have found it relaxing and at the same time invigorating to participate in Asahi practices, as they breathe along with the rhythm of the group and just imagine doing the parts of the exercise that are out of their scope.
FOR PEOPLE WITH ADDICTIONS OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE:
Meditation is used in substance abuse rehabilitation, but tensed minds have difficulties calming down. Asahi is mindfulness in motion. Concentrating on the movements and breathing allows the mind to rest. The enthusiasm of the inhabitants at the Great Lakes Recovery Center in Marquette was amazing after the first session. Two said immediately that they found it so helpful that wanted to train to become Asahi teachers. The response was equally positive from the men and women. The men, some of whom were of Native American heritage, were especially grateful about being introduced to Asahi, because they could actually do something physical with their bodies to get centered, grounded, connected to the earth again, and to feel at peace with themselves. They commented that Asahi was an easier way to reach that state than the abstract meditation practices in a sitting position they were trying to use.
FOR PEOPLE IN RECOVERY FROM ILLNESS, INJURY OR SURGERY:
Asahi’s simple movements can be adapted to a prone position, so it is easy to start a gentle self-rehabilitation in bed the minute the fever goes down or the anesthetic wears off. This stimulates metabolism, promotes the growth of new cells and thus speeds healing. There is no need to lie still and wait for the physical therapist to come. As the healing progresses, the Asahi movements can be done sitting on the edge of the bed, and from there gradually standing for short periods until it is possible to do the whole series again standing up.
IN CLOSING: The goal of the Asahi Nordic Institute’s Asahi Nordic health method is to provide a simple, safe and effective way for people to take an active role in guarding and improving their own health with minimum risk of injury, minimum cost and maximum physical, mental, social and societal benefit. The plan is to train as many Asahi teachers as possible in the world, and to make Asahi classes available to people of all ages regardless of their age, race, geographical location, social status or health condition. Promoting Asahi to health and wellbeing organizations on a national level, working with universities to do graduate research on the effectiveness of Asahi and applying for grants to do even further research are also part of the strategy.
Asahi can improve the quality of life for everyone who practices it regularly. This can be life-changing, especially for those people who thought they had no suitable, safe, or no affordable, way to exercise. Using Asahi as a preventive health measure would help decrease health spending around the world.
Let's make Asahi Nordic the solution, not only to our personal health challenges, but to global health issues!
Categories: Asahi Nordic for All