Four Winds Exercises – Meditation Techniques

Posted by in Meditations

Four Winds ExercisesThe Four Winds exercises are something I learned thirty years ago from my first Tai Chi Instructor.  With this aging body, I’ve returned to them with very wonderful results.

The movements are simple and gentle spinal bends in each direction done from a standing position.  Forward, backward, and to each side.

I enjoy doing these early in the morning.  They can bring energy and openness to the spine. They can help start your day just right.


As with all meditations, this activity is designed to bring your awareness into the present moment.  Before performing the motions, settle yourself into your posture (See starting posture step in each exercise). Take inventory of each part of your body from the ground up. Feel the connection with the ground.  Find a bend in the knees and a tilt to the sacrum that supports the spinal column balance.

From the balance of the vertebrae, find ease in the small muscles of the lower back, kidneys, heart, and shoulders. Where you find tension in the body, bring the breath to it. As the Chinese say, where the mind goes the Qi follows. Qi, or your awareness, has a reparative effect on the body and is one of the wonderful benefits of these meditation techniques. With each breath, bring awareness and openness to the stressed and stiff parts of the body.

Bring  your awareness to the neck and skull. Find a tilt of the chin that brings ease to the upper spine. Release tension in the forehead, eyes, cheeks, jaw and tongue with each breath.

Finally, allow your awareness to gently permeate your entire body, allowing any particular focus to diffuse to a openness to whatever is going on with your body.

Four Winds Exercises

full bend sequence

Side Bend full sequence

Full Back Bend Seq

All the diagrams of the Four Winds Exercises were created with the free program Stykz for Mac and Skitch

Andrew Furst
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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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