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6 Japanese Rules for Those Who Want to Become Stronger and Healthier

Japanese engineer and Aikido teacher Katsuzo Nishi was a very weak boy, and doctors told his parents that he would die before he turned 20. To improve his health, parents sent him to a Buddhist monastery. He spent 3 years there learning different meditation and swordplay techniques.

Still searching for other ways to improve his health, Katsuzo read lots of contemporary books written by modern doctors as well as ancient treatises about Eastern and European medicine. The result was that he ended up writing his own work in which he set out his own system for strengthening the body. The book was published in 1927 when the author was 44 years old.

Today, we at Bright Side invite you to get acquainted with Katsuzo's system, which has gained lots of followers around the world since it was first explained 90 years ago.

Rule #6. A hard back

As we all know, spinal curvature can cause various problems for your internal organs. That's why it's very important to control your posture all day long, and even at night. Katsuzo claims that maintaining a straight spine allows you to be 2 cm (0.80 in) taller, and has a beneficial effect on both the work of the digestive organs and the circulatory system.

Rule #5. A solid roller instead of a pillow

Japanese people believe that neck scoliosis is one of the first indications that a person's life will be cut short. And while we can control the position of our head during the day, it's harder to do so at night. That's why Katsuzo recommends getting a solid pillow or a roller and placing the 3rd and 4th vertebrae of the neck on it.

At first, a roller will cause some discomfort, and that's why you can wrap it in a couple of layers of fabric and then remove them one by one.

Rule #4. The goldfish exercise

  • Lie straight on a hard surface.
  • Stretch your hands up.
  • Place your soles perpendicular to the floor.
  • Stretch your left sole forward and your left hand up without removing them from the floor. Repeat the same actions for the right sole and hand. Repeat the exercise for two minutes.
  • Place your clasped hands under your neck, crossing them against the 3rd and the 4th vertebrae. Bring your legs together and slightly spread your feet out to the sides. Move your feet left and right so that you body vibrates. Repeat the exercise for two minutes.

Rule #3. Improving capillary circulation

  • Lie on a hard and flat surface.
  • Put a solid roller under the 3rd and 4th vertebrae of your neck.
  • Raise your legs and arms, slightly bend your elbows and knees, and relax as much as possible.
  • Shake your arms and legs. Repeat this exercise for 1-3 minutes.

Rule #2. Joining your palms and soles

Starting position: lie on a hard and flat surface and place a solid roller under the 3rd and 4th vertebrae of your neck. Bend your knees without removing them from the floor, and join the soles of your feet together. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

  1. Join your palms together perpendicular to your body and press the fingertips of both hands together. Repeat the same actions, but this time press together all of your palms. Keeping palms pressed together, lift up your hands, and then place them back on your solar plexus.
  2. Place your palms (while they're still joined together) behind your head, without changing their position. Then place them back on your solar plexus.
  3. Place your palms (while they're still joined together) back on your solar plexus, and move them towards your legs. Move your hands forward and backward from the breast to the groin 10 times. Then raise your joined hands perpendicular to your solar plexus, move to the legs, and then place them behind your head.
  4. Place your hands back on your solar plexus, raise your palms, and start moving your legs forward and backward, keeping your soles joined together.
  5. Combine both hand and leg movements. If you feel any pain, reduce the amount of reps you do. Return to the starting position and have a rest with your eyes closed for 10 minutes.

Rule# 6. A spine and stomach exercise

Starting position: sit cross-legged and clasp your "upper" sole; lower your shoulder a bit. Repeat each exercise 10 times. After each exercise perform the following: stretch out your arms in front of you, perpendicular to the floor. Bend your head leftward and look towards your back. Do the same for your right side. Perform the same actions with your hands up.

  1. Move the shoulders up and down without changing the position of your arms.
  2. Move your hands back into the starting position and smoothly bend your head towards your left shoulder, then repeat the exercise for your right shoulder.
  3. Place your hands on your sole and raise your head, stretching your chin up. Then lower your head so that your chin touches your chest.
  4. Raise your arms to your sides, keeping them parallel to the floor, and bend your elbows. Bring your hands together in front of your face, round your back, and touch your chest with your chin. Then spread your hands out to your sides, bring your shoulder blades together, straighten your back, throw your head back, and hold this position for 7 seconds.
  5. Sit in the starting position and repeat the 1st exercise, moving your shoulders up when you inhale and down when you exhale.
  6. Staying in the starting position of the back and stomach exercise, bend left and right, straining and relaxing your stomach for 10 minutes.

Katsuzo Nishi was sure that all we need to be healthy is already present within each of us. We just need to stop being lazy and use the priceless resources that we have.

Will you try to apply these methods? Or do you already practice any different, interesting exercises yourself? Share them with us!

Illustrated by Natalia Kulakova for Bright Side
Bright Side/Tips & tricks/6 Japanese Rules for Those Who Want to Become Stronger and Healthier
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