Another vital part of the macrobiotic approach to bettering one’s health is doing exercises daily. For the body to be able to maintain proper digestion, good circulation, provide rich flow of oxygen to the blood (and so to the vital organs, such as brain), gentle, non strenuous, simple stretching exercises are suggested. Applying common sense rules to your daily exercise routine will prolong your body’s vitality and keep you flexible well into the old age.
Here is the list of the most commonly suggested exercises in the macrobiotics:
- Deep Breathing Exercises – breathing in deeply through the nose, while simultaneously expanding the abdomen, then breathing all the way out through the mouth, while simultaneously pulling in the abdomen.
(Deep breathing stimulates the flow of oxygen to the brain. It relaxes & focuses.)
- Do-In Exercise – is a form of self massage done by tapping the body with and open hand, or a gently formed fist. Do-In is suggested to be practiced on daily basis or whenever the energy is low. Do-In is based on the acupressure principles and it drastically improves circulation, opens up meridians and stimulates the organ function.
(Many books have been written about the Do-In and feature step by step ‘how-to’ exercises. For simplicity, we suggest following the exercise video ‘Energize Yourself” by Lino Stanchich. For purchasing details, please see resource section of the site. After memorizing the steps, it is sufficient to do a shorter version, 20-30 minutes outside, in the fresh air.)
- Tai-Chi – the gentle body movements in synchronization with deep breathing exercises reduce stress and offer many other health benefits. Great for focusing, clearing one’s mind and improving general physical and mental health.
(Classes can be taken at your local college or Tai-Chi center. Also DVD can be bought at your local health food store or online for practice at home.)
- Yoga – gentle and simple yoga with focus on light stretching. Many macrobiotic practitioners enjoy Kundalini Yoga which is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. Whichever type of Yoga you choose, be aware how your body responds to it and act accordingly. Also, please be extra cautions if doing Yoga during pregnancy since the certain positions can cause a miscarriage.
(Classes can be taken at your local college or a Yoga center. Also DVD can be bought at your local health food store or online for practice at home.)
- Zen-Shiatsu Massage (also known as ‘Zen Touch’) – with origins and basic principles derived from the Do-In exercises. Zen Shiatsu is a gentle acupressure massage done mostly with palms and fingers. No oil is used during the massage and so the client does not need to disrobe. In some occasions feet and elbows are used by the masseuse / masseur, but only if a client’s condition requires so. After the massage the client should feel refreshed, relaxed but never bruised or in pain.
(Regular Shiatsu massage differs from Zen-Shiatsu massage. Please check your local listings for a Zen Shiatsu practitioner near you.)
- Acupuncture – in some cases and depending on the condition of the client, acupuncture is suggested to release stagnation from specific part of the body, as well as stimulate the organ functions by the principles of meridians. Macrobiotic principles suggest traditional acupuncture, without the heat lamps or the use of electric needles or electricity in general.
(Please consult with your local acupuncturist and ask for the traditional session without the use of electricity.)
The general rule of thumb is – it is your body, observe and listen to it. Your mind and body should be equally in balance when making decisions; so your mind should listen to your body, much like the body, most of the time listens to the mind. Give your body a healthy and not overwhelming dose of exercise daily. Oh, and don’t forget to be gently with yourself.