Meridian stretching exercises

Meridian stretching exercises

How is meridian stretching performed? What are the benefits and what is the origin of this simple and powerful stretching tool combined with breathing

Meridian stretching exercises

Breathing and stretching 

Stretching like cats is a physical and spiritual practice. You should never deny it to yourself. Not only for the immediate and by no means negligible effect of “feeling alive” , but for what exactly happens when we go to stretch a muscle.

In stretching, the toning action produced by the contraction is counterbalanced , creating a protective situation for muscle and connective tissue . The lengthening passes through “control” mechanisms which are the Golgi organs and the neuromuscular spindles, located directly in the nerve fibers of the striated muscles, the voluntary ones.

Stretching exercises should always be consciously combined with breathing acts : in principle, you inhale during the stretch phase and exhale when the muscle is under stretching. By combining breathing, the body relaxes, increases blood flow and eliminates lactic acid and other waste that any previous exercise has produced. 

Yoginis and yogis know this well, but also all sincere practitioners of many martial arts. It is for this reason that it is not surprising that the famous meridian stretching was developed by a great character of the oriental tradition, father of a very important Shiatsu style:  M ° Shizuto Masunaga .


Read also Why stretching is so good >>


Exercises and the law of the Five Elements in TCM  

Each exercise is linked to an element. To understand these primary forms we must think of them as real  psychic energies , they are  five movements  in continuous transformation that respond to the control laws established by Chinese Medicine. They are related to the seasons, to the viscera, to the organs.

Let’s see them one by one by comparing ourselves with the image of the article that is in static, but you will notice that the execution is not that difficult, what matters a lot is the intention. 


First exercise

The first exercise deals with the Metal Element which governs the Lung and Large Intestine Meridians . Particularly focus on this sequence exercise if:

  • you have noticed that in recent times the breath is blocked;
  • you feel too attached to material people or things;
  • your intention is to start learning to let go.

Technical details on the execution: the feet are parallel, the knees soft, it is on exhalation that the trunk falls forward softly. The back index fingers point towards the ceiling and the position is held as necessary. Do not force the back lodge of the legs, get there smoothly with the breath, stay in it with softness.


Second exercise

The second exercise is related to the Earth element and governs the Stomach and Spleen / Pancreas meridians . Great for:

  • weight problems;
  • blockages in the digestive system, often of an emotional nature; 
  • menstrual problems.

Technical details on the execution: first help yourself by bringing your hands behind your back, do not come down suddenly. The execution can be gradual, from day to day you will notice an increase in flexibility. 


Third exercise

The third exercise associated with the Fire element acts on the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians . Suitable for: 

  • better read what enters our heart and essence, the events that happen to us;
  • develop emotional intelligence, understanding.

Technical details on the execution: when the trunk goes forward the movement is pushed by the pelvis. The legs are forward and the soles of the feet against each other.



Fourth exercise

The fourth relates to the Water element and the Meridians of the Urinary Bladder and Kidney ). Great for:

  • transform fear;
  • grow and purify thoughts.

Technical details on the execution: on exhalation, push the trunk and arms forward and not downwards. With each exhalation, push the trunk forward as well.


Fifth exercise

The fifth to the supplementary Fire (Meridians of the Master of the Heart and of the Triple Heater). It is associated with the third exercise with the difference that the legs are crossed and also the hands in the descent. It is always a gathering forward and in addition, compared to the third, the cardio-circulatory and lymphatic systems are worked intensely. 


Sixth exercise

Finally, at the number if i, we find the element Wood  ( Biliary Vesicle and Liver Meridians ). Useful for:

  • develop planning quality;
  • managing anger and excess aggression.

Technical details on the execution: start from a starting position with legs apart and central torso. On the exhale, bring the trunk to one side and come down. Stay in the position for at least 5 breaths. Then repeat on the other side. 


Stretching of the meridians or Makko i 

The purpose of the method devised by Masunaga starts from the oriental perspective of the flow of energy that inhabits our body, the vital energy Qi This flow is constantly moving inside the body, each organ has its own quality related to it and there can be stagnations given by external factors and emotional situations that are experienced. 

Stretching the meridians (also called Makko ho exercises ) should definitely not be thought of as a demonstration of fluency. Indeed, we focus on the tensions and try to observe them, without forcing .

They should be done at least once every two days .


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