A lot of Fire yoga involves quite hard, sweaty work aimed at strengthening the big muscles along which run the Small Intestine and Triple Heater meridians. Not this MAKKO HO zen stretch for the Heart Protector and Triple Heater, Fire meridians #3 & #4
The emphasis in the Makko Ho is not so much on the physical stretch but on opening up, tonifying the meridian pair and moving the KI. So – in following the instructions below – focus on the breathing (avoiding any forcing) and be aware of the changes – physical, mental &/or emotional – going on within you during each stretch.
Sit with the legs crossed (or, if possible, in lotus or ½ half-lotus). Cross the arms so that the opposite hand to the leg is on top (i.e. If the right leg is to the top, the left hand is to the top) and hold on to either the upper arm (as shown) or just above the knees with the fingers reaching around just to the outside of the thigh. On a long exhalation, keeping your back straight & your neck long, bend forward from the pelvis. Hold your position as you inhale then relax a little further forward as you exhale (x3). Then inhale slowly back to upright.
Consider how you felt about the exercise as you were doing it and then repeat over for three breaths. If you felt good in the exercise, take more time as you repeat and really relax into it. If you felt not so good, work more quickly – still without straining – through the repetition and allow the stuck KI to release and flow.

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