Opening your meridians is a concept that comes from ancient China - part of Qigong - that will allow you to boost your alertness and focus levels while improving your blood circulation.
Chinese medicine, and its ancient history, has multitudes of beneficial meridian exercises that target the 12 primary meridians (liver meridian, stomach meridian, large intestine meridian, kidney meridian, triple burner) that are associated with issues related to those areas---think blocked pathways, shoulder stiffness, stomach pain (digestion), urinary bladder issues, large intestine problems related to stress---the list goes on!
There are many methods and variations (some free, others not) for meridian exercise that help promote blood flow, tension release, opens up the channels for proper energy flow throughout the body that can be done through yoga poses or procedures like acupuncture.
Let’s learn more about this quick technique used to check blood circulation.
HOW TO DO IT
All you need to do is to slap the different parts of your body lightly.
Just strong enough to cause a bit of pain and make your skin slightly red - because it means that blood is circulating and you’ll see it reflected in the way you feel: more alert, more focused, and fully awake.
Do it for 5 minutes slapping the different parts of your body, especially the ones that feel dormant - for example your calves and your shoulders.
This pose works the kidney meridian. On hands and knees, tucking your head down while pulling your navel to your spine (to arch like a cat) this position works to decompress the lower back. Practising this pose will increase the mobility, and flexibility, of the spine.
- Improved flexibility and mobility of the spine
- Regulates internal organs
- Helps the digestive system function properly
- Releases tension from the lumbar spine
- Improves circulation of spinal fluid
It’s common in yoga classes to move from cat poses to cow pose, and back and forth for an added flow of movement and stretch. Almost the opposite in position as cat pose, cow pose you tilt your head back to the ceiling while arching your back. This position stretches the stomach meridian.
- Improves functions of the pancreas
- Improves function of adrenal glands
- Improved flexibility and mobility of the spine and neck
- Improves blood circulation (can help with insomnia)
- Improvement in posture
Seated Wide Leg Pose
A stretch for the kidney meridian, the Seated Wide Leg Pose is a simple position to obtain great benefits. In a seated position, widen your legs, placing your hands on the ground behind you. Lift up through your torso, keeping shoulders away from your ears. You can get a further stretch from this pose by folding your torso forward as far as you can go. Remember to breathe deeply.
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases flexibility and strength of the spine
- Improves posture
A popular yoga pose and great hip-opener, Pigeon Pose focuses on the kidney and liver meridians. To get into position, in plank position bring one knee towards your wrist (left to left, right to the right side). Slide your back leg behind you while keeping your hips square. Settling down onto the mat, exhale as you bend your torso forward over your bent leg in front of you.
- Stretches and strengthens muscles and joints in the legs
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves function of the digestive system
- Reduces blood pressure
- Increases flexibility and mobility
- Reduces stiffness in hips, back, and shoulders
- Activates the nervous system
- Increase oxygen intake
The Butterfly Pose targets the gall bladder meridian. To obtain this pose, start sitting on the floor. Exhaling, bend your knees while bringing the heels close to the pelvic region. Driving knees to the floor, touch the soles of your feet together. Clasp your feet (or ankles, shines, toes) and breathe.
- Stretches lower back
- Improves groin health (by placing good stress on the connective tissues)
- Eliminates headaches (releases tension in the neck)
- Improves Menstrual cycle
The Sleeping Tiger pose (also known as Corpse pose) goes up to the Governor meridian then flows down to the Conception meridian. To obtain this position lay on your back on your mat, lifting both legs to hold at a 90 degree angle. Next, raise your arms, facing your palms to the ceiling, elbows bent slightly.
- Relaxes the sciatic nerves
- Improves flexibility and mobility
- Stimulates blood circulation
Large Intestine Exercise
Your index finger is the starting point for the large intestine meridian, following along the back of the arm. To stretch the large intestine meridian, lay on your belly and reach one arm across your chest. Keep your palm up to face the ceiling, elbow straight. Focus on fully inhaling and exhaling to expand your ribcage and lungs.
- Better lung function
- Decreased stress levels
- Improves breathing and digestion
Opening your meridians will bring you clear and powerful benefits:
✔ You will feel more alert and focused
✔ Your blood circulation will increase
✔ Your energy levels will rise
Three powerful reasons that will complement the rest of your morning habits. And the list doesn't stop there, there are bountiful positive benefits connected to meridian exercises and Chinese medicine.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE BENEFITS
It’s time to speak facts - and here you have the scientific evidence that supports this new habit:
Evidence. This habit increases blood circulation in a healthy way - hence it’s even helpful for treating hypertension.
Evidence. It decreases anxiety and improves mental health and performance.
Evidence. Since it increases blood circulation - it translates into more energy and more oxygen, which improves both physical and mental performance.
Now you have a full set of strong reasons to integrate this new habit into your life. Start off small if you need to--try out yoga poses related to meridian exercises and feel the benefits within the body to relax and practice balance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
A key concept of traditional Chinese medicine, the meridian system combines the understanding of the energetic body (prana, life force, chi (qi)) and the promotion of circulation of these energies. These methods are used to improve balance and prevent, as well as cure, disease among the vast other benefits. Healing can be done through exercises, acupuncture points (acupressure), and Chinese medicine (nutrition and food).
There are 12 major meridians of the body associated with issues in energy channels and promote health benefits:
- Regulates respiration and intake of energy
- Large intestine
- The extraction and processes of water to waste before expulsion from the body
- For digestion and to obtain energy from food.
- Regulates blood flow while distributing nutrients
- Circulates blood to all of our organs
- Small intestine
- Aids in the distribution of nutrients
- Removes liquid waste from the body (preventing infection)
- Produces blood and bone marrow
- Protects, lubricates and removes excess energy from the heart
- Triple warmer
- Controls metabolism, as well as temperature
- Stores and expels bile
- Circulates energy
There is what is called a meridian clock where each meridian has a two-hour period of the day where energy peaks. With all 12 combined, this adds up to a 24-hour time period (a day).
In traditional Chinese medicine, Qi is known as the vital force for every living being that fluctuates with growth and health. There are methods such as acupuncture/pressure and nutritional remedies to counterbalance energy deficiencies and illnesses. Yoga is another popular method used to address imbalances. Amazingly enough, these methods are still used to this day!
The Underlying Principles
Meridians each have different physical ailments connected to them. These ailments are normally due to excess or deficient energy flow through the meridians. Improving the flow of energy through poses or methods such as acupuncture can drastically improve these heavy ailments.