If you’re at all familiar with this blog, I bet you think I’m going to say meditation. Guess what? Ha ha, I’m not!
It’s way simpler than that:
Whenever you’re doing something that does not require use of your hands, turn them so that they’re palm-side up (see the picture above). You also can do it while standing or walking, leaving your arms down at your sides and turning your palms so that they face outward in the direction you’re facing.
This palms-up position may be familiar to committed meditators and yogis who practice shavasana, but it’s foreign to those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer, behind the wheel of a car, holding babies, making lattes, or doing pretty much anything else that requires constant hand use. Even when we’re not using our hands, it’s just habit to sit, walk or stand with our hands facing down or behind us.
Wait for it — there’s a meridian connection:
In acupuncture, the meridians that run along the inside of the arm, from the chest/underarm to the palm, are Heart, Pericardium and Lung….
Here is just a smattering of the functions each meridian is involved in (there are many more):
- Heart: breathing, cardiac function, sleep, emotional balance and heat regulation.
- Pericardium: breathing, blood circulation and upper digestive function.
- Lung: breathing, immune function, perspiration, body temperature and urination.
…our lifestyles force our hands and arms into an almost constant downward/backward position, creating a tendency to slouch forward. This causes us to cave our upper bodies inward, crunching the Heart, Pericardium and Lung meridians.
Allowing these meridians to flow more freely optimizes their ability to perform their respective functions.
These three meridians are all yin meridians, flowing from the torso to the fingertips.
This is a mudra (energetic gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism). The palms-up mudra, you might have guessed, has to do with receiving energy from spirit or the universe, with allowing. It has to do with being open and surrendering yourself to the Mystery.
Try it when you think about it. Let one or both palms rest facing up, or outward if you’re on your feet. Notice the subtle but significant changes in posture.
Then make it a habit.
Thanks to Sara Calabro for this article.
Are you familiar with the mudra used in Rinzai Zen? Unlike Soto practitioners, who favor the “cosmic mudra,” Rinzai practitioners grasp the left thumb in the right hand, then lower the hands to just below the navel, while turning the palms upward. The effect is to straighten the shoulders, open the chest, and promote deeper breathing. You can see a demonstration at:
I neglected to mention that you can find the demonstration about four minutes into the video.