Autumn Zen: Checking in on those Metal Meridians
Autumn, the season of Metal, has finally arrived. It’s time to introduce you to the Makko Ho Zen exercises for the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. As always, the emphasis in the Makko Ho is on opening and tonifying the meridian pair (as distinct from stretching & strengthening). Work with awareness and sensitivity to connect with your Autumn energy. This will strengthen and facilitate the flow of KI.
In following the instructions below – move gently on the breath, take your time and avoid any forcing. Be aware of the changes going on within you as you move through the exercise. These might be physical, mental &/or emotional shifts. Be careful to respect you own physical and health limitations: don’t over-stretch or hold a position for too long if it’s genuinely uncomfortable.
Step by Autumn Step
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart & outside edges parallel. Legs should be straight but with the knees relaxed and unlocked. Make sure that the whole soles of the feet are firmly planted.
- Establish relaxed, regulated breathing – soft and low in the abdomen.
- Link your thumbs together behind your back – pointing downwards with your index fingers.
- Inhale – lift and expand through the chest as you look up.
- As you exhale, raise your arms up behind you and allow the torso to bend forward – hinging at the hips. Keep the knees unlocked but not bent.
(Index fingers now point away from you.)
- Hold this position on inhalation, and then settle further into the stretch on exhalation. (Repeat for a total of three breath cycles.)
- Hold this position before slowly rising to the original position on an inhalation.
- Repeat the whole exercise three times (X3), and consider the experience you have just had – be aware of any shifts that may have taken place and of how it felt to be in the exercise.
- Ask yourself: was it easy & felt good or even great OR perhaps not so easy & felt constrained to some degree (maybe actually felt “not good” at all).
This will determine how you go about the second set of repetitions.
[NOTE: from one day to the next you will get a better idea of how your immediate experience sits on the sliding scale.]
- Repeat the exercise another three times.
- If it felt on the good side: take more time, breathe & move more slowly, as you repeat (X3) – really try to relax into it.
- If it felt on the not-so-good side: breathe and move more quickly (still without straining) through this set of repetitions. Allow the stuck KI to release & flow more freely.
Makko Ho All Year Around: Take a step up
With the addition of the Autumn exercises, you now have the all the Makko Ho at your fingertips and can take your practice of them to the next level. Try doing the full sequence (see below) but only the first set of repetitions to start with.
Instead of assessing your facility with a given meridian pair in isolation, you can now compare your experience across the Elements. This will provide insight into your (relative) energetic strengths and weaknesses.
For the second set of repetitions, the “correctives”, do only (1) the most and (2) the least comfortable exercises of the sequence. Do them slower and faster respectively.
With regularity over time, you can balance the energy flow across the full meridian / Element spectrum, improve your vital functions and ward off disease.
Autumn leads the Makko Ho Zen Energy Sequence
Autumn – Metal Element – Lung & Large Intestine
PLEASE NOTE: the images for this, and all other Makko Ho posts on this site, are by Pepe Infantozzi and have been borrowed (with thanks) from the website of Diego Sanchez.