At this time of year the most vulnerable paired organs of the body are the liver and gall-bladder, according to the Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The following stretch is designed to stimulate qi circulation and rebalance the meridian systems. To increase its benefits, begin with a simple, relaxing body scan, lying down, or in a seated position. Starting at head or feet, briefly tense each part of your body in turn; hold, then breathe out and release, allowing all the tension to flow out of you. When you feel completely relaxed, sit up and do the following stretch.
Spread your legs apart to each side as wide as you comfortably can with the knees still straight. Stretch arms up above your head, clasping the hands with palms turned upward. Take a slow inhale and exhale.
Gently and slowly bend over to the left side on an exhale, facing forward as you bend. Take a deep inhale and exhale three times. Don’t be concerned about how far you may or may not be able to bend. Focus on stretching the outside and inside of the legs and the side of the torso. You are stimulating qi along your liver and gall-bladder meridians. Slowly return to the starting position and rest for 30 seconds before repeating the movement to the right side.
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