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5 Meridian Exercises for Deeper Breathing and Healthy Lungs

5 Meridian Exercises for Deeper Breathing and Healthy Lungs
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Without the oxygen brought into the body by your lungs, your cells wouldn’t be able to make the energy they need to survive. The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you can inhale and the more toxic carbon dioxide you can exhale.

Stretching loosens up your chest, shoulders, and neck so that your ribs and diaphragm can move freely and bring in more oxygen. Meridian Exercise combines targeted stretching with mindfulness and coordinated breathing to not only loosen your muscles, fascia, and joints, but open your meridian channels as well.

What Are Meridians?

lung meridian Meridian channels are highways of energy distributed over your body. They’re part of your energy system, which also includes energy points and energy centers. Energy enters your body through the energy points, flows through the meridian channels, and gathers and redistributes itself in the energy centers. According to the principles of Asian medicine, the state of our energy system determines the state of our health. A healthy energy system has pure, bright, warm energy flowing freely through all of the meridian channels of the body.

Most meridian channels are associated with particular organs. The Lung Meridian, specifically, runs through each arm. Energy needs to flow well through this meridian channel in order for your lungs and related areas to be healthy.

The following five meridian exercises from the book, Meridian Exercise for Self-Healing by Ilchi Lee, open and balance the Lung Meridian and relieve tension in the areas around your lungs.

1. CHEST EXPANSION

chest expansion meridian exercise

Benefits: Strengthens the heart and lungs while releasing excess heavy or hot energy in your chest and head. It also decreases excessive blushing or hot flashes.

  1. 1) Sit on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels and your toes pointed forward.
  2. 2) Extend your arms in front of your chest with your palms touching.
  3. 3) Inhale as you stretch your arms out to each side with your palms facing forward.
  4. 4) Exhale as you bring your palms back together.
  5. 5) Then turn your hands so that the backs are touching and your palms are facing outward.
  6. 6) Inhale as you stretch your arms out to each side with your palms facing backward.
  7. 7) Exhale and bring your hands together again.
  8. 8) Shift your hands so that the palms are up and the pinky fingers are touching each other.
  9. 9) Inhale as you stretch your arms open once again.
  10. 10) Exhale as you bring them back together.
  11. 11) Turn your palms down with your thumbs touching each other.
  12. 12) Inhale and stretch your arms out to the sides with your palms down.
  13. 13) Exhale as you bring your hands back together.
  14. 14) You have now completed one set. Repeat this step 4 times.



2. CLASPED HANDS STRETCH AND BEND

clasped hands stretch and bend meridian exercise

Benefits: Allows the spine, rib cage, and organs to align properly and enhance respiratory system functioning.

  1. 1) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Interlock your fingers in front of our lower abdomen.
  2. 2) Inhale and stretch your arms above your head with your palms facing the sky. As you do this, imagine your whole body gently reaching for the sky while you focus on your lower abdomen and toes. As you stretch toward the sky, stuck energy is freed from the shoulder and under the arms, relieving stomach distress.
  3. 3) Unlock your fingers. Bend your upper body and head backward as much as possible, slowly and gently.
  4. 4) Exhale slowly while bringing your extended arms around and down toward your waist.
  5. 5) Interlock your fingers at your lower abdomen again. Inhale and bend your upper body forward from your hips until you touch the floor with your palms (or as close as you can). As you stretch toward the floor, your neck, spine, and waist loosen up.
  6. 6) Exhale and slowly raise your upper body to the starting posture.
  7. 7) Repeat the sequence 3 times.



3. WRIST SHAKING

wrist shaking meridian exercise

Benefits: Shaking your wrists releases stuck energy from the Lung Meridian, strengthening the lungs and other organs.

  1. 1) Stand or sit with your chest open.
  2. 2) Hold your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height with your elbows bent at 90-degree angles and your hands loosely held above your shoulders.
  3. 3) Shake your wrists lightly and loosely for 30 seconds to several minutes.



4. LUNG ENERGIZER

lung energizer meridian exercise

Benefits: Strengthens the spinal cord and lungs and builds energy in your core in your lower abdomen.

  1. 1) Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width.
  2. 2) Bring both of your arms above your head with your palms facing the sky and fingers pointing toward each other. Leave a few inches between the fingertips of each hand.
  3. 3) Bend your knees slightly as you open your chest and lengthen your spine.
  4. 4) Breathe normally as you hold this posture initially for 5 minutes. With practice, you can extend the period you hold this posture up to 30 minutes.



5. SHOULDER STRETCH

shoulder stretch meridian exercise

Benefits: Loosens your shoulders, chest, and spine. Opens energy points at the base of your neck that are important for colds and the flu.

  1. 1) Kneel on the floor with your knees and hips at 90-degree angles and your palms on the floor below your shoulders. Bend your ankles so that your toes are pointed forward.
  2. 2) Bend your knees and bring your hips back over your ankles, lowering your chest as clost to the floor as possible.
  3. 3) Bounce your hips back 8 times.
  4. 4) Inhale. Maintain this posture for several moments to stimulate your GV 14 acupressure point at the bottom of the back of your neck, as well as your second thoracic vertebrae.
  5. 5) Exhale. Keeping your toes on the floor, straighten your legs on the floor, moving your upper body forward. Arch your back and look toward the sky.
  6. 6) Hold this posture for 20-30 seconds and release.
  7. 7) Repeat the entire sequence.


Make each of these exercises more effective by paying attention to how your body feels as you do them. Performing them mindfully in this way helps to relax the body and open the meridian channels.

You can do all of the exercises together or pick your favorite(s) to focus on. Following the meridian exercises, take some time to breathe quietly and naturally while feeling your breath.

Making a regular practice of meridian exercises for your lungs can keep them strong and healthy while letting you breathe deeply and peacefully.

For more meridian exercises for targeted symptoms, check out Meridian Exercises for Self Healing: Classified by Common Symptoms by Ilchi Lee, available in our Shop.

Written by Michela Mangiaracina
Michela is passionate about empowering people with positive information so that they can make the best decisions for their lives. For this, she brings together a background as a Brain Education and Body & Brain Yoga practitioner and instructor and study in neurobiology and health communication. Her favorite information to share is the principles and practices promoted by CYE founder Ilchi Lee.
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