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6 STRETCHINGS BY MASUNAGA
These stretchings should be performed in a smooth continuing movement, but very slowly. They can be repeated up to three times, one after the other, without interruption.
The goal of these exercises is to allow the life force energy to flow through your twelve meridians, by stretching them.
Every movement harmonises the energy of two complementary meridians. If you do the stretchings in the morning, you will feel this is an energizing start of your day.
1 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
Stretching of the lung- and large intestine meridian
Stand up straight, breathe in slowly to your belly. Keep paying attention to your breathing. While breathing in , you stretch your arms, neck and head upward, towards the cosmos, as if you are a searcher of light. Keep this position for a while. As you breath out bend your body forward, as deeply as possible ans stretch your arms behind your back, and hook your thumbs together. Keep holding this position for a while, while stretching your head forward and keeping the legs straight. Look right in front of you. Come back in the first position. (slightly spread, peaceful breathing, arms along side the body)
This stretching activates the lungs . It also activates the large intestine. This one is needed for elimination and transformation of nutrition in the human body.
2 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
2 Stretching of the stomach- and spleenmeridian (earth)
Sit in seiza position. While breathing in, stretch your hands and arms above your head.
Breathing out, lower your body backward, without lifting your knees. Lean on your arms and hands. You can try to lean all the way over, till you touch the ground, but please: be careful, don't overdo it!!! Watch your breath. For those practitioners who are not so good at this: you can do this exercise by following these steps: Resting your hands on your feet, arms stretched, while sitting in seiza position and stretching your upper body and your head backward. Your thumbs on the kidney point (in the center of 3 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
the sole, 4 fingers down from the second toe) If you can stretch further, you may pull you hip and thighs and (forward and upward) so you end up in the camel position ... If you can stretch even further, lower your elbows and touch the ground. Your knees are on the ground at all times. A further step would be the complete stretching, laying on the ground, with arms stretched. Come back in seiza position, by doing each of the steps in backward order and sit on the floor to proceed to the next exercise. (come up leaning on your hands) For those of us who are as stiff as a poker: we can do this stretching laying on our side. Breating out, you lay on your left side and you stretch the whole of your left side. Breathing out, you take your right foot with your right hand and stretch your foot, by holding it to your hip, in the same plane. Head and neck are also stretched. Switch sides and do the same backward.
This stretching stimulates the functions of the stomach and the spleen-pancreas, this means the pre-digestion and the assimilation of food. It is meant to evolve from a stiff human being to a not so stiff ... practitioner of stretchings ... and to evolve into doing the full version as described above (this can take some time) You will become more and more flexible, so the exercises will no longer be strenuous.
4 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
3 Stretching of the heart meridian and the small intestine meridian (Fire)
While breathing in, sit with your soles together, pulling them as close to your body as possible. Hand grabbing your toes. Back and head straight.
Breathing out stretch your trunk forward and bring your head and elbows as close to the ground as you can. Your behind stays on the floor. You can strengthen this stretching by hooking the elbows behind the shin-bone. Hold. Return in sitting position.
Theheart receives, chooses, communicates.. The small intestine devides the pure from the impure.
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4 Stretching of the bladder meridian and the kidney meridian (water)
While inhaling, sit in a close, legs stretched position, the trunk, neck, head and arms stretched upward.
Exhaling, you bend forward and bring your hands to your feet and your head to your knees. Try to touch your feet (pull your toes). Hold and return to the sitting position.
The kidneys are containers of vitality. The urinary bladder purifies the body.
6 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
5 Stretching of the tripple warmer and the Pericardium (Fire)
Sit down and while inhaling, place your heels as close to your hip as possible (lotus position) Stretch your upper body upward and bend forward while your arms cross and your push palms against the inside of your knees, pushing them outward. Keep this stretching position and some back to the starting position. .
Exhale and bend your body forward cross your arms again, but now, you make sure the other arm is in front. While doing this exercise, try to lower your head as close to the floor as possible, without lifting your behind. Hold the stretching for a moment. Come back into sitting position.
This stretching protects the heart, enhances thecirculatie and regulates the body temperature.
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6 Stretching of the liver meridian and the gall bladder meridian (wood)
While inhaling you are sitting , legs widely stretched (as wide as you possibly can, without hurting yourself), upper body and arms are stretched above your head (stay in the same plane of the leg)
Exhale stretch the other side, the same way as you did before. Hold the stretching every time and get back into the start position to end.
The liver has to do with future plans, defense and works as a detoxifier. The gall bladder has to do with decisions and forming opinions
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7 Stretching of the spiral energy
After the sixth movement, you change from sitting position in squatting. Draw the heels all the way against your hip and lean on your hands
Lift your hip and do as you see on the picture above, arms and head vorward, as low against the floor as you possibly can, hand stretched as far as you can. Unroll your body, starting with your feet. these are flat on the floor put your encles right stretch your knees stretch your thighs unfold your body feeling every vertebra unfold , your head and arms stay down as long as possible. unfodl the neck, till the head is straight and stretch your arms and head to the cosmos. (look at the rainbowman in the top corner of the page, you can do the same) Hold for a while. This way, you can start off with a new set of stretchings, and you can start again with the first...
9 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
Tips: - do these exercises daily, when it suits you best, you will have the best effect in the morning, after coming out of bed. - while doing the exrcises you put your mind at rest and concentrate only on your breathing - always search for the best position - do these exercises without feeling pain - inhaling, there will be more tension - exhaling you will feel more relaxed - hold every stretching, don't move while doing so - be alert and concentrate on the place you feel the stretching - do these seven exercises in a fluent , slow movement - the best result will be obtained when you do them three times without interruption. Thanks go to Dirk Maertens. Source of the drawings: "Het SHIATSU Boek", Vitaliteit en gezondheid door de kunst van het aanraken. by Paul Lundberg, ISBN 90-6963-207-1
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6 STRETCHINGS OF MASUNAGA
1 lung and large intestine (metal)
2 stomach and spleen (earth)
3 heart and small intestine (fire)
4 bladder and kidney (water)
11 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
5 triple warmer and pericardiun (fire)
6 liver and gall bladder (wood)
7 spiral energy
12 The 6 stretchings of Masunaga
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