Meridians – alternative medicine
Meridians run between the south to the north pole, and then there are meridians in Chinese medicine that run along certain lines in our body. It is said that they influence vital energy. Vital energy is pronounced Chi in Chinese Medicine and Ki in the Japanese language. You may have heard of Chi Kung or Reiki?
Meridians exist in corresponding pairs, and each meridian has multiple acupuncture points along the pathway. When doing yoga shapes, we change pressure and stimulate certain parts of our body by pressing with other parts of the body into a part, stimulating those acupuncture points or meridian lines.
Acupuncture meridians and pressure point overlap with the ayurvedic system of nadis and marma points (you can read about marmas here). Nadis can be anything, such as blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, acupuncture meridians and connective tissue. Our body is said to have more than 72,000 energy channels (nadis), but commonly the most important ones mentioned are three along the spine.
Marma points are locations in your body where a concentration of life energy exists. The Sanskrit origin word 'mri' meaning 'death', and Marma hidden or secret. A Marma point is a "junction on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints." When a marma activates, it forms a chakra.
Unless our muscles are fully stretched out, we must be careful not to overstretch and overbend our bodies. When we tense muscles, we also tend to tense acupuncture meridians and nadis (energy lines) or press acupuncture points or marmas (energy points). If you pull on a nerve that can produce a sensation (nerves tell us where we are in space if we are cold, warm or experience pain), this sensation could be possibly painful if you pull too much. Imagine, it is like you have a thread and a rope. You cannot pull on a thread equally than on a rope. A thread might break, whereas the rope is much more resilient.
We can use special mudras (energy control gestures) to tension (stretch) nerves and acupuncture meridians. For example, in Niralamba Ardha Chandrasana, with the right hand, palm up to the shoulder, we tension the ulnar nerve (and the heart acupuncture meridian), with the left arm, stretched out and flexed wrist, we tension the median nerve (the pericardium meridian). Come to my next Zoom online class, and we will practice this. I often do this pose in a class as it requires balance, concentration strengthens and prepares the body for seated poses.
There are three main nerves, which go all the way to the hand (radial, median and ulnar nerve of the brachial plexus). Along the nerves, we also find the following meridians: large intestine acupuncture meridian, lung acupuncture meridian, pericardium and heart meridian, small intestine acupuncture meridian).
There are obviously other meridians influenced by shapes we do in yoga. So do we affect the stomach acupuncture meridian when we tension or stretch the femoral nerve of our lumbar plexus or in cobra possibly influence the vagus nerve and the conception vessel acupuncture meridian.
My yoga teacher explains esoteric anatomy if you want to learn more about meridians, nadis, chakras, and marmas.