Have you ever noticed that people, and even pets and wild animals, stretch naturally? Most people, especially when they first get up in the morning, intuitively stretch their bodies to help themselves wake up and get moving. Athletes, too, stretch before they practice or compete to help their muscles warm up and prepare for exertion. So why do we need to attend classes or read a book to learn the meridian stretching exercises that are part of the Brain Education method? Couldn’t we just stretch on our own?
A Lost Intuitive Drive
Well, it does make some sense to follow your instincts; if you want to stretch some area of your body, then you certainly should follow that impulse. Perhaps if we were intuitively well-attuned to our own bodies, we would not need any instruction in how to stretch well, but that is usually not the case. These days, most of us are too much in our heads to sense the nuanced, energetic needs of the body, and thus this kind of physical self-care typically takes a back seat to the constant chatter of the mind and the pressing responsibilities of the day. To a great degree, we have lost intuitive connection to our bodies, so we don’t feel the same natural urge to stretch areas of the body that need it. We might stretch when we first arise in the morning, when the mind is quiet and relaxed, but then that’s it. If a person were to stand up to stretch on the bus or to take a few minutes in the coffee break room, they would probably seem out of place.
So, we must deliberately make time to stretch. When you practice specific meridian exercises, you are taking time out to quiet the mind, to focus on yourself, and to reconnect body, mind, and spirit. In the process, you are developing and balancing your body’s energy, which is the medium through which all parts of you can connect as one, by opening the energy channels that run all over your body.
Opening Up the Highways
Your energy system is a lot like a system of roadways in a major city. Cars and trucks, which are like particles of energy, travel up and down the roadways, heading wherever they need to go. Everything works very well, unless there is a blockage in the roadway system, like rush hour traffic or an accident blocking lanes. The cars and trucks will have a hard time getting to where they need to go until those blockages are cleared.
Meridian exercise is a way to open up the energy channels in your body so that life energy, known as ki (or chi), can get where it needs to go. When you are doing meridian stretching exercises, they are not just simple stretches designed to warm up the muscles. Rather, these stretches directly target specific meridians of the body, as well as specific points on these meridians. There are twelve of these meridians in your body, each one related to a particular organ.
These meridian exercises are very important since just about all of us have blockages of some kind in our energy systems. If you feel tension in a part of the body, or you have pain in a particular area, you have a blockage in your meridian system. Given the everyday stress we experience and the sedentary lifestyles we lead, it is no surprise that most people, even very young people, experience these blockages. Since these meridians all carry energy to major organs, it is critical to address these blockages, or serious illness might eventually develop.
A Part of Your Self-Care Routine
Practicing your meridian exercises is a lot like brushing your teeth or taking a shower every morning. Old, stagnant energy is like dirt and debris that needs to be cleared away for the sake of your health, and meridian exercises are a way of cleaning and clearing your energy. To test that idea, just notice how you feel before and after doing meridian exercises, especially on “low energy” days when you feel listless and heavy at first. With only a few minutes of meridian exercises, you will feel lighter and brighter, especially if you really focus on your body and stretch the meridian channels deeply. Just give it a try, and you’ll see that meridian exercise is more than ordinary stretching.
Editor’s Note: Find over 200 meridian exercises organized by common symptoms in Meridian Exercise for Self-Healing by Ilchi Lee.