Yoga and Chinese Medicine
More than two decades ago, I was involved in tragic pedestrian car accident. Hit by a car traveling 70 mph, I was physically and psychologically unearthed, felt spiritually dead, and emotionally empty. For a year and a half I visited doctors, and though I learned from all of them, I was not healed. But stretching did work - 'kinda.' My near death experience was now going to direct me to the answers. I discovered that muscles involuntarily contract when being elongated. If I consciously resisted the movement or position of the stretch, I found that my flexibility increased dramatically.
I identified that muscles need to contract when being stretched.
The greater the contraction, the greater the stretch.
The results were immediate, cumulative, and permanent.
I had discovered how muscles really stretch.
The world was going to change the way it would stretch forever.
This absolutely works! One day while I was stretching the muscles on the back of my thighs (my hamstrings), my bladder contracted so hard I had to come out of the stretch. WHY? I had no way of understanding the reasons for my bladder, much less any other organ, "showing up" while I worked on stretching a specific muscle group. That's when a friend told me that the bladder energy meridian of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) runs along the hamstrings.
That seemed really weird, but I decided to find out if other stretches I had created caused an effect in other organs. I tried many other stretches, discovering over and over again that when I stretched different muscle groups, specific organ awarenesses and their functions improved. Who would ever guess that you can make your organs more "fit," just like you make your muscular system more fit. For example, when I stretched the muscles that run along the back of my shoulders, down my arm into my index finger, my bowel movements would improve. In TCM these muscles are also intimately associated with the functioning of one's large intestine. There was nothing I could do but give in and accept the idea of a muscle-organ meridian association.
My organs were being affected by stretching specific muscles.
At first glance, the connections seemed implausible and strange.
But they were hardly new!
These specific muscles corresponded to meridian pathways in TCM.
The muscles, meridians and organs matched up exactly.
Organ health or "fitness" improves with stretching.
After discovering this 'inside secret' to stretching, it was obvious that I needed stretches for my whole body. I proceeded to create 16 different types of stretches, eight for my lower body and eight for my upper body. Having had little to no exposure to yoga, I was informed by a close friend that once I finished resisting and moving my body into different ranges of motion that the end positions were in fact identical to classical hatha yoga poses. The difference being of course was that I was deriving the stretch by contracting those muscles while moving into these final positions, and once I got there, I was isometrically resisting or continuously contracting those muscles that I had elongated.
I did not go looking for these discoveries that associated what I had experienced with classical hatha yoga or traditional Chinese medicine. I did not, as many people have since suspected, study yoga or energy medicine before making these discoveries. I knew practically nothing before hand. The connection between these ancient bodies of knowledge was experienced by me accidentally. I learned this information through sensing and feeling my body. I was simply trying to fix my body. A former math professor raised in a conservative home, I was far from being open to "alternative" therapies. I never even considered going to, nor did I know of, an alternative therapist. And there I was, smack dab in the middle of ancient healing sciences! More had already happened to me than I could have ever imagined!
Sixteen different types of stretches, eight for the upper and eight for the lower body that also surprisingly produced distinctive and predictable physiological and psychological upgrades while the opposite low traits disintegrated. These exact concomitances between muscle groups, different kinds of stretches, energy meridians, physiological functions, and personality traits became known as The Meridian Flexibility System.
The Meridian Flexibility System is a program of 16 powerful stretching exercises for each level of practice — beginner, intermediate, assisted, and advanced. Sixteen different types of stretches, each one uniquely defined by bone rotational interrelationships and specific muscle groups. Each type of stretch provides the best leverage to stretch individual or synergistic groups of muscles. Each type of stretch also creates concomitant and predictable physiological and psychological improvements in a person. This system embodies a balanced approach to physical and mental fitness. It is a predictable, noninvasive, preventative health program with resulting gains in physical strength and functioning, psychological fitness, and spiritual and emotional development.