Change Your Movement, Change Your Life! is coming back Saturday, Jan 10 to Bedford, MA. For those of you who missed this day-long workshop last September, CYMCYL! is a day of reflex integration – through guided movement to world music, journaling, and discussion – co-taught by my good friend and colleague, Linda Ugelow, the principal dancer with Libana. It includes a delicious lunch during which we speak only gibberish. The goal is self-care and inspiration for anyone who works with children – or adults!
In about five hours, I’ll be on a plane winging toward eleven other family members for a Thanksgiving reunion. This post is not to be about my family, because you all have your own versions. But although I am very excited to see everyone, I know that the relationship I have with even one family member is enough to fill a book. You do the math!
Last month, I re-took a four day Educational Kinesiology course1. Taking an in-depth course carries its own burden of expectation and apprehension. So the instructor quite sensibly began the first day with a stress-reduction technique. I’d forgotten about “meridian massage” and it is so simple, fast, and effective that it is now back in my practice and in my life. It may help you through Thanksgiving and a lot of other things, as well!
Running the Meridians. Here are the cliff notes: You stroke your body down and up three times. You always stroke up the front of your body. When you stroke down, you alternate body planes: first down the front, then down the back, then down the sides.
The last step is to simultaneously stroke up the front and up the back (including down the face to the nose). Make sure that you don’t go up above the mouth with the front hand or below the mouth with the back hand. You do this last step three times.
Here’s the shorthand to remember: DOWN front, UP front, DOWN back, UP front, DOWN sides, UP front, BOTH front and back 3X.
Here’s the more expanded version, which includes important details of how to do the arms:
1. Hold your palms in front of your face. Stroke DOWN THE FRONT of your body, a few inches away, all the way to your feet (you can bend your knees; it makes no difference to the effectiveness).
2. Stroke UP TO YOUR ARMPITS.
3. Extend one arm out, palm up. Stroke from the armpit to the tips of the fingers.
4. Repeat with the other arm.
5. Cup your hands a few inches around your skull. Stroke DOWNTHE BACK of your body to your feet (you’ll have to break your hold and change midway down the back, just visualize an unbroken line).
6. Stroke UP the FRONT (repeat steps 2, 3, and 4).
7. Cup your hands a few inches from your ears. STROKE DOWN THE SIDES to your feet.
8. Stroke UP the FRONT (repeat steps 2, 3, and 4).
9. Let your arms drop, one in front of your body, one in back – they should dangle around the area where your legs branch out. STROKE UP FRONT and UP BACK SIMULTANEOUSLY. Your front hand will probably finish sooner, because there is less acreage to cover. STOP at the CHIN. Your back hand will go over your head and down your face. STOP at the NOSE.
You can also do this step one plane at a time, first front, then back, front, back, etc. That works equally well, it just takes a little longer – but sometimes it is easier to coordinate. It’s important to stop at chin and nose – the energy flows in particular directions, like the fur of a cat – and you don’t want to rub the cat the wrong direction!
You can do meridian massage in the shower, on the stairwell, in the kitchen. It takes less than a minute. It can be done, in a pinch, in a bout ten seconds.
You can also do meridian massage for a child, or for any other person. I am always amazed at, in a time of overwhelm, how fast this clears the mind and gets the positive energy flowing again - to access a sense of Thanks, and to have the juice to give it back.
1 I took my In-Depth course at The Kinesiology Connection in Lexington, MA with Colleen Gardner, a master teacher from Colorado. For information on other courses and instructors, Brain Gym International