This 6-week Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop is organized and sponsored by the Foxboro Council on Aging and Human Services in Massachusetts. Below is a summary of what we practiced together on Day 3. Special thanks go to Vicki Lowe, Director of the Council, Elaine Repoff, the manager, and Chris Shewry and Peter Kent. Below is detailed instruction of the 3 sequences of MBX7-9.
MBX 7: Big Bow Posture
Big Bow posture stretches the entire back: the bottom of the foot, calf, thigh, lower back, and upper back.
Caution: For beginners, I recommend to practice this posture with the torso upright to minimize muscle tension in the lower back, as demonstrated in the class. The full descriptions here are for information purpose only. We will practice this posture in detail in the 4th week session.
How to Do:
- From natural stance, inhaling, stretch your arms as high as you can with one hand overlapping the other and the palms facing upward.
- Exhaling, slowly lower your stance.
- Inhaling, slowly bend your body forward and reach your hands out to the front until your hands reach the floor (3a-3b).
- Exhaling, lift your hip slightly and stretch your arms further forward (or place your hands on the floor). Feel the release in the lower back.
- Inhaling, very slowly arch your back and bring your body up to natural stance.
Target Meridian: The Bladder
The bladder meridian begins as two channels originating from the inner corner of the eyes, rises to the top of the skull, descends to the neck, and splits into four channels in the back, merging into two channels again in the rear thigh, then merging again into one channel in the upper calf, and ending at the lateral side of the tip of the little toe.
The Bladder Meridian connects the kidney and urinary bladder and the brain, monitoring and regulating water metabolism in the body. Big Bow posture stimulates these organs and induces positive effects such as improved circulation and relaxation as well as reduced blood pressure and anxiety.
You should practice this posture very slowly to prevent dizziness and loss of balance. The key movement is Tilting Stretch (3b) in which you stretch your arms forward and the buttocks backward as far as you can while exhaling. (You may place your hands on the floor for better anchoring.) Then lift your hip slightly to release the tension in the pelvic floor and the lower back while keeping your hands close to the floor (4).
MBX 8: Lotus Posture
How to Do:
- From natural stance, take a deep breath. Exhaling, bend your knees lowering your body, and raise your arms with the palms facing you. Place them next to your head (1). Make fists, place them beside your neck, and rest your head between them (1b-c).
- Inhaling, gently tilt your head back, raising your elbows like blossoming lotus petals opening. Lower your knees further to feel the stretch in the torso. After 5-10 seconds, exhaling, return to natural stance. Take a deep breath and repeat.
You may repeat this process 2-3 times consecutively.
The Kidney Meridian:
The kidney meridian starts from the bottom of the foot, innervating through the inner leg toward the groin and up the front of the pelvis, and ending at the upper central region of the chest. The Kidney Meridian is known as the most influential and mythical energy channel for stamina and reproductive function in humans.
The first point of the kidney meridian, on the bottom of the feet, is called the Bubbling Spring, and is known as a gate for the root energy of the mother Earth entering into the body, surging through the legs and lower belly, through the kidneys and throughout the body, revitalizing the life force.
Lotus posture consists of two simple movements: natural stance and Head Rest (3). Each repetition takes only 10 seconds. As you become more comfortable, stretch the duration to 15 seconds. After three months of practice, you may try 20 seconds, which means three times per minute.
Make sure to listen to your body. If you feel dizzy, gently kneel or sit and rest until you feel ready to resume practice. If you have discomfort in your neck or spine, reduce the angle of your neck by tilting your head back less.
MBX 9: Condensing Posture
MBX 9: Condensing Posture increases a sense of physical control and composure.
How to Do:
1. From natural stance, place your heels outward and lower your posture. Inhaling slowly and deeply, raise your hands beside your shoulders with your palms sideways. Keep your elbows bent and fingertips upward. You are collecting the energy in the lower belly.
2-3. Exhaling, slowly push your palms out to the sides. Push the belly slowly in and release the diaphragm upward. You are pulling up the energy to the middle energy center. Hold this posture (3) for 2-3 seconds.
3-4. Exhaling further, lower your hands to the front of the belly (4), and press your palms together to release the remaining air from the lower belly. Inhaling, return to natural stance.
When practicing lateral pushing posture (2), imagine that you are slowly pushing away a wall on each side of you. To do so, you pull the energy from the lower belly to the chest and then to your hands. Remember that your thought directs where your energy goes, affecting the quality of your performance.
- Condensing posture increases tension toward the lower belly region.
- During condensing posture (3), exhaling, focus your attention on regulating the contraction of the lower abdomen muscles and relaxation of the rising diaphragm for steady exhalation.
- When you push outward (‘Resistance’ in the photo above), your inner energy in the lower belly is being pushed upward to the chest, and finally being released through the hands.
- The upward diaphragm movement facilitates the surging energy flow like a piston.
- During the compression posture (4), exhaling further, contract the belly muscles to push the diaphragm up to the max. Do it gently for safety. Press your palms firmly to argument the compression.
- Strive to develop a sense of control of every inch of your movement, mindfully.
This article is adapted from the book, Mindful Movement: Mastering Your Hidden Energy
For more MBX-12 Exercise Articles, go to About MBX-12 page.