“Stretching of the Meridians” by Lefay SPA
“Stretching of the Meridians” is a series of movements created by Master Shizuto Masunaga in the Fifties. It was called Makko-Ho which means “get to the truth”, because by practicing it we build a deep relationship with ourselves. It stretches muscle fibres, relaxes tendons, opens articulations and helps overcome psychological and energy blocks. According to Chinese Medicine, it makes energy flow (Qi) within acupuncture channels.
The sequence is composed of six movements that must be practiced on an empty stomach, in the early morning or in the evening. Each exercise produces a positive effect on the meridian and organ associated to the specific pose. Do them with a great attention on your breathing, figuring yourselves bringing the air within the working muscles and maintaining the position for at least three complete breathing cycles.
PREPARATION: Start from standing position and exhale flexing forward, bringing your chest towards thighs with hands behind them. Relax head and neck. Inhale and, while exhaling, come back to standing position. Next, put your hands on glutes and, while exhaling, bring your back backwards. Stay and come back to starting position.
EXERCISE 1: Lung (yin) and Lower Intestine (yang) Meridians
Element: Metal, Season: Autumn, Colour: White, the West. It regulates breathing and oxygenation, eliminates physical and psychological waste, helps against stress and hypertension. From upright position, inhale and put your hands behind the back, thumbs are folded, index fingers are open and other fingers closed. Exhale gently and bring the upper body forward lifting arms and thumbs upwards. Come back to upright position and do it again changing the thumbs folding.
EXERCISE 2: Spleen/Pancreas (yin) and Stomach (yang) Meridians
Element: Earth, Time: The passage from a season to another, Colour: Yellow, The Centre. It regulates digestion processes, helps controlling weight and fosters the elaboration of thoughts. Ideal for problems of socialization and lack of self-confidence.
On your knees, sit on the heels with lying foot. The back must be straight and the body relaxed. In your exhale, put your arms backwords with lower arms on the ground. Exhale and go back to starting position. Remember: if knees are joined, you are working on the spleen, if they are detached on the stomach meridian.
EXERCISE 3: Heart (yin) and Small Intestine (yang) Meridians
Element: Fire, Season: Summer, Colour: Red, the South. It rules emotions, nutritional absorption, the interpretation of traumas and events in general.
Sit down with joined feet and knees spread. When inhaling, hands grab the toes, when exhaling, knees lower down to the ground with the help of pushing elbows and the core goes forwards. While exhaling, go back to starting position.
EXERCISE 4: Kidney (yin) and Bladder (yang) Meridians
Element: Water, Season: Winter, Colour: Black, the North. It rules the urogenital system, helps purify and eliminate extra liquids, controls autonomous nervous system and hormones. Enables to improve your will power.
Sit with straight back and legs forward with feet forming right angle and arms tense towards the sky. Inhale to prepare yourself and, when exhaling, stretch the upper body forward, bending upper body and head towards thighs. Keep the position and, while exhaling, go back to up straight position (the head is the last to rise back).
EXERCISE 5: Heart Minister (yin) and Triple Heater (yang) Meridians
Element: Absolute Fire. It rules circulation and metabolism, protects the heart and improves immune and lymphatic systems.
Sit in lotus position (or cross-legged). Cross your arms so that your hands may lie on the opposite knee. Inhale and, when exhaling, lean forward towards the ground without lifting glutes. Come back to starting position and repeat the exercise switching arms and legs.
EXERCISE 6: Liver (yin) and Gall Bladder (yang) Meridians
Element: Wood, Season: Spring, Colour: Green, the East. It rules digestion and purifies blood. The gall bladder meridian is psychologically connected to decision making skills, while the liver ones to the making of projects. It is very useful to balance emotions and lower down irritability.
Sit on the floor with your legs apart in a striding position and put your arms in the shape of a wide circle around your head. When inhaling, turn your upper body and, while exhaling, lean on your side towards the ipsilateral leg, approaching your elbow towards the inner knee part. Back to the centre, repeat this to the opposite part. Go back again to the centre and finish your exercise leaning forward towards the centre.
Finish your series lied down with face upwards (legs are apart and hands’ palms are facing upwards) and breath in a relaxed and regular way. Try to think clean and clear your intentions, focusing them on inner processes and feeling how your energy is now flowing within your mind and body.