ELIMINATE & INVIGORATE with FULL METAL YOGA: Part 1

Eliminate-Invigorate with Dynamic Meridian Yoga

Eliminate to invigorate – a three word slogan that is totally appropriate to the Metal Yoga theme. Now is the period of (really quite volatile) transition from Autumn into Winter, from Metal to Water. Now is a good time to get rid of those last vestiges of old stuff and actively store up new energy before hunkering down for the really cold season.

1st Step on the Eliminate – Invigorate Path

An easy way to get going with elimination is with simple but well targeted tapping coupled with strong structured breathing. This is a great way to break down congestion and stimulate the meridians (and the relevant organs) so that responsiveness and energy flow are maximized.

You can do this by simply tapping with either your fingertips or your fists (thumbs tucked under index fingers). Most importantly keep your hands and your wrists very loose. You will be surprised at how vigorous you can be if you follow that rule. Use your breathing to eliminate and invigorate to the maximum:

  • Draw in a large, deep breath before starting
  • Hold the air (and KI) in as you tap … and keep tapping until you cannot hold the breath any longer
  • Stop tapping, relax and release your body/mind as you exhale … then exhale again just to be sure that you have got rid of all the air – this is about learning to eliminate
    However, if you can, visualize yourself retaining the KI!
  • When you need to breathe in again, do so, then repeat over with the tapping
  • NOTE – keep the breathing strong and rhythmical to build warmth and energy

Where to tap?

For the Large Intestine, begin with the crown of the head … and enjoy how good it feels to tap around there. Follow up with a good pounding (by which I mean fairly firm tapping with the fists) across the back of the hips. Working out from the very lower lumbar is a good approach. Finally, you can go down the buttocks. The line you are looking for is well towards the sides – just a little bit in from the side stripes on your favourite Adidas trackies.

For the Lung, the upper chest is your first target. Start on one side, in the hollow beneath the shoulder. Be sure to really get into your Lung Points #1 & #2. Then move across, covering the area between the collar bones and the breast, to arrive on the far side. Again, pay attention to those Points.
Having dealt thoroughly with this zone, move on to the lower rib cage. Either start on one side and move across or do both sides at once. Be sure to cover right down to the lower rib tips towards the sides as well as giving attention to the diaphragm. A responsive, flexible diaphragm is essential for complete breathing.

Getting into the Swing of It

Here we come to something rather more dynamic and demanding. Be wary of working too hard &/or too fast. Feel free to build your way into these exercises: start slowly, hold positions and don’t do too many repetitions. On the other hand, if you are feeling strong here, by all means get into the leg swinging.

You may notice that I ask you to focus on (1) the thumbs & index fingers and (2) flexing through the balls of the feet. This is because the Lung & Large Intestine Zen meridians run there.

Release the Large Intestine to Eliminate

You need to activate your lower belly (core) strength** to do this exercise properly. With each breath cycle:
> Inhale
> Contract up through the pelvic floor at peak inhalation,
> Hold that contraction and compress front to back as you exhale and expel all the air. Train your system to eliminate strongly and effectively.

Start lying on your back, with the legs straight, feet strongly flexed (pulling back with the toes as well) and together.
Lengthen your neck and draw your chin in.
Stretch the arms out directly from shoulders with fingers spread and palms pressed firmly to the floor – particularly the thumb / index triangle.

  1. Exhale > raise R leg to vertical
    Keep legs straight with feet & toes flexed throughout
  2. Inhale > hold
    Be aware of the back of your hips (where you were tapping previously) against the mat > try and hold those hips in place throughout
  3. Exhale > swing your R foot/leg across the body towards the L hand + turn & look at the other hand
  4. Inhale > bring the R leg back to vertical
  5. Exhale > swing R leg/foot out towards R hand + turn to look at L hand
    Keep L buttock & leg grounded
  6. Inhale > bring the R leg back to vertical
  7. Repeat over (x5 to start)
  8. Repeat steps 1 – 7, swinging the L leg
  9. Remember to use your core strength** & to exhale fully
  10. Recover with your knees drawn up towards your chest > rotate them in circles to release the lower back.

Open the Lung to Invigorate

Adopt a modified Child’s Pose, as pictured BUT with the toes tucked under so that the balls of the feet are pushing out. Have the buttocks reaching up and the arms extended forward along the floor so that the chest opens and descends toward the mat. The exercise is in two parts.

Part 1:

  1. Inhale
  2. Exhale fully > straighten the arms and flex the wrists
    Be careful to pull back with all the digits – particularly the thumb and index – so that you can feel the stretch
    This is the “Active” position*
  3. Inhale > release the arms / hands
  4. Repeat over (x5 to start).
  5. Be aware of the stretch and opening of the Lung meridian up the arms (from the thumbs) and across the upper chest (where you were tapping) as well as the compression in the upper thoracic vertebrae.
  6. Recover in Child’s Pose

Part 2:

  1. Start in the “Active” position* and maintain it throughout.
  2. Inhale
  3. Exhale fully > push through with R heel to swing R leg back & up.
    Push out through the ball of the R foot. The foot remains flexed (with toes pulling back).
    Keep the chest stretching open to the mat, with arms/hands flexed).
  4. Inhale > lower the leg
  5. Repeat over (x5 to start)
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 5 swinging the L leg.
  7. Remember to exhale completely with each leg swing. It’s important to make as much space in your lungs as possible – eliminate that old air from your system!
  8. Recover in Child’s Pose

Are you interested in directly experiencing how this body-work impacts on your Large Intestine and Lung energy?

If yes, I suggest that – both before and after doing this dynamic yoga – you run yourself through Masunaga’s Zen Energy Exercise for Metal. I’m sure there will be a marked difference in how you feel.

Next up: While we continue to eliminate, there will be more focus on the “Invigorate” side of things as we look to really build strength in those Metal meridians.

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