MBX12 Foxboro Workshop: Fall 2015 Week 4

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 4.

Mindful Circulation for Health

Good circulation is essential for healthy body and clarity of the mind. Poor circulation reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the extremities and the brain. In time it damages the tissues and causes pain. To prevent that, moving the body regularly is the best medicine.

MBX12 Workshop Foxboro Dr. Sang H. Kim

Dr. Sang H. Kim demonstrating MBX-4: Finger Wheel movement for improving circulation. Photo by Elaine Repoff.

The inside of our body consists of mostly empty spaces. In many ways, our body resembles the universe which is packed with billions of stars yet full of empty hollowness. Our body is also packed with about 100 billion neurons yet 99% is empty. What it means is that there are lots of corners in our body that blood and air flow may not reach sufficiently for optimal well-being.

Poor circulation is associated with various diseases including cancers, diabetes, strokes and heart diseases. Good circulation may prevent such diseases, alleviate pain, and help to restore a healthy body and clear mind.

Bottomline: Move your body. Breathe deeply and slowly.

How to Practice Circulation with MBX12

There are two key components that promote circulation in MBX12 practice: posturing and breathing. Here are brief summaries of what we practiced during the session at Week 4:

  1. For a good posture, stand tall with two feet shoulder-width apart, grounded firmly. Keep your chin slightly down so that your neck stays perpendicular to the ground. Relax your shoulders.
  2. Move gently. Imagine that you are moving your hands and arms and legs in the water. Guide your hands and arms as they float in the air.
  3. For changing postures or placing the limbs, place your feet to the width and angle commensurate to the particular movement. For example, place two feet parallel for neutral standing, toes out for deep down positions, and heel out for strong standing postures.
  4. Breathe in when you lift your arms; breathe out when lowering your arms.
  5. Breathe in when you open your arms; breathe out when closing your arms.
  6. Breathe in while rotating your arms inward; breathe out when rotating your arms outward.

Circulation in Mindful Way

Changing postures following the sequence of MBX12 movements is a moving meditation. You are consciously controlling the inner muscles of your body in the way you are intending while freeing your senses in the moment by moment.

Through this experience of integrating your movement with your mind, the boundaries between the body and mind and surroundings disappear, allowing you to BE, connected.

You become a sole presence standing in the midst of the vast space. You become the earth. You become the sky. You become the universe. It’s a big circulation, outside, a small yet powerful one, inside. Focus and freedom reside in you at the same time.

And that is one of the goals we are going to strive to experience for the next two weeks of this 6-week workshop.

MBX 10: Planting Posture

MBX 10: Planting Posture helps you improve strength and inner power.

MBX 10: Planting Posture helps you improve strength and inner power.

How to Do:

  1. From natural stance, turn your toes outward and lower your posture. Bring your palms together and place them in front of your chest (variation: stretch your arms in front of you). Inhale deeply.
  2. Exhaling, slowly bend your torso forward, insert your arms between your legs and reach far backward (like someone is pulling your arms).
  3. Inhaling, twist your arms and hands inward, so the backs of your hands are facing each other.
  4. Exhaling, slowly lower your body as best as you can. Look at the floor. Keep your head and hands horizontal. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
    Inhaling, slowly raise your body to natural stance.

On Triple Warmer: Virtual Organ

The Triple Warmer, a virtual energy space in the torso, is believed to integrate and control the flow of oxygen, blood, nutrients, and excretion. Regarded as one of the six organs in meridian theory, it is the central hub of inner energy in the body.

The Upper Warmer, including the heart and lungs, transports oxygen and nutrition. The Middle Warmer, consisting of the spleen, stomach, and liver, is involved in digestion, absorption, and blood production. The Lower Warmer, comprised of the kidney, large intestine, small intestine, and bladder, filters metabolic by-products.

The Triple Warmer has three regions: upper (neck to diaphragm), middle (between diaphragm and navel), and lower (below navel) warmers. The Upper Warmer, consisting of the heart and lungs, is responsible for regulating the circulation of blood and oxygen. The Middle Warmer, consisting of the spleen, stomach, and liver, controls digestion. The Lower Warmer, consisting of the kidneys, small intestine, large intestine, and bladder, regulates excretion. The three sections are divided by the diaphragm between the upper and middle areas and by the navel between the middle and lower regions.

Practice Tips:

Planting posture is an act of planting a seed of energy in the torso by wringing out the force from the legs and arms, and collecting it in the center of the body. The most beneficial part of the movement is the Low Squat (photo 4), in which you twist the arms with the palms facing outward, lowering your body as close to the ground as possible. This requires strength. You may reduce the intensity of the movement as needed to fit your physical condition.

Focal Point:

MBX 10_Tripple Warmer Focal Point

Move slowly and mindfully, without hurrying. Be open to fresh feelings rising from every inch of your movement, from the toes and thighs to the chest and head.

  1. Done right, Planting posture increases circulation and body heat. Move slowly, in the way you feel comfortable.
  2. Although this posture appears to be hard to practice, if you do it mindfully, without hurrying, it is no different from looking under the bed for your cat. Along the way, you will find yourself becoming stronger.
  3. Be open to fresh feelings rising from every inch of your movement.
  4. Going one step further, listen to what every fiber in each moving muscle tells you. When you are open to it, you will be able to sense it, and regulate it for your optimal experience.

Caution: If you experience cramping or dizziness slowly lower yourself to your knees or lie back and rest.

MBX 11: Cradling Posture

mbx11 Cradling Posture

How to Do:

  1. From natural stance, place your arms around your body with your hands on the opposite tips of the shoulders. Inhale.
  2. Exhaling, slowly turn your head to the left, and then turn your torso. Push your right leg toward your left leg for an additional twist. Hold that position for 3-5 seconds.
  3. Inhaling, turn your body to the front.
  4. Exhaling, slowly turn your head to the right, and then your torso. Push your left leg toward your right leg for an additional twist. Hold that position for 3-5 seconds.
  5. Inhaling, turn your body to the front. Exhaling, return to natural stance.

Focal Points:

MBX11 Focal Point

  1. Cradling is a soothing exercise.
  2. Slow and progressive mindful turning of the body awakens the vital points along the Gallbladder Meridian.
  3. Be aware of the internal changes that occur as you twist.
  4. Maintain a steady shoulder height during turning, and exhale slowly.
  5. When you turn your head, scan your eyes along the same horizon to actively engage your attention with visible objects.
  6. Synchronize your breath and movement. Be one with movement and breath by fulfilling the natural need for out-breath during stretching and in-breath during return to the start position.

Gallbladder Meridian:

Cradling Posture activates the Gallbladder Meridian which starts from the side of the eye, circles around the skull, descends on the lateral sides of the torso and legs, and ends at the fourth toenail.

MBX11 Gallbladder meridian

MBX 12: Unity Posture

MBX-12: Unity Posture promotes inner strength, balance, and a sense of oneness.

MBX-12: Unity Posture promotes inner strength, balance, and a sense of oneness.

How to do:

  1. From natural stance, raise your arms sideways and inhale.
  2. Place your left upper ankle above your right knee and gently bend the standing leg. Keep your arms open. Exhale.
  3. Inhaling, bring your hands to the front of your chest. Exhaling, gently bend your standing knee. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Place your left foot on the ground, raising your arms. Inhale.
  5. Place your right upper ankle above your left knee and gently bend the standing leg. Keep your arms open. Exhale.
  6. Inhaling, bring your hands to the front of your chest. Exhaling, gently bend your standing knee. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  7. Place your right foot on the ground while raising your arms. Inhale.
  8. Return to natural stance. Exhale.

The 12th Meridian:

Unity Posture stimulates the Liver Meridian, which begins from the big toe, ascends through the inner thigh and the lateral torso, and arrives in the liver.

mbx12-Liver Meridian Chart

Focal Points:

MBX 12 Focal Point

  1. Unity posture connects 4 points in the vertical plane: the foot, the lower, middle and upper energy centers.
  2. Centering is the key. Stand low and hold your praying hands in the middle of the chest for balance.
  3. Keep your torso upright and push your hip slightly backward until you feel a stretching sensation in the piriformis muscles that run across the hips.

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.

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