Sports, Movement & Martial Arts
“At the end of the 2005 season, I was looking for a way to improve flexibility and prevent injury by incorporating yoga into the winter training plan of the men’s rowing team. Darryl introduced me to the Meridian Touch philosophy and techniques. After our initial session, I knew I had found a style of yoga that would perfectly complement a demanding practice on the ergs and in the weight room.
The program that Darryl developed for my crew focused on improving flexibility and breathing, replenishing energy for quicker recovery, fostering mental and emotional relaxation, and treating muscle and tendon issues with a variety of alternative therapies.
The team has been participating in Meridian Touch sessions for over three years and the positive results on the water speak for themselves.
Darryl’s attention to the specific movements and body issues related to rowing make him a unique presence in the sports yoga movement.”
Northwestern University 2004-2008 Men’s Varsity Rowing Coach
“Offensive lineman are asked to put on as much mass as possible while still being able to move athletically and generate a lot of force. This extra mass and the constant pounding of physical play on our bodies really causes a lot of trauma – especially to our backs. The more I grew and the more I played also brought about an increase in physical maladies including: back pain, sore calf muscles, tight hamstrings, and loss of flexibility.
Working with Darryl helped all of these problems. I have continued practicing Meridian Touch and acupressure work for the last three years. My body has responded well and I feel healthier because of it.
Now, I make a point to carry with me tennis balls to use for pressure point relief. I truly feel that learning and practicing these methods has improved my athletic abilities as well as my overall physical health.”
Northwestern University Football team
“During the third game of the season my sophomore year, a helmet to my knee broke my leg, and tore my MCL and meniscus. And unfortunately,these injuries would be the first of many more to come throughout mycareer as a college football player.
After surgery and a couple months on crutches, the x-ray and MRI machines reported no more broken bones and healed ligaments.
However, no piece of equipment could show me the muscle imbalances caused from months of compensating for a weaker leg. As a result, the two seasons following my surgery were plagued with pulled muscles, tendonitis, and a torn hamstring.
Not until I started practicing Meridian Touch with Darryl did I start restoring balance in my body. My constant fear of pulling a hamstring during sprints abated, and my degree of soreness after workouts lessened immensely. Meridian Touch does more than increase flexibility and balance though; it also improves body awareness and reduces stress. A workout with Darryl is comfortable and relaxing, which makes it a nice compliment to the intense physical training associated with football.
The pressure point techniques he teaches are also a great way to open up your body during class, at work, or at home in front of the TV. I owe a lot to Darryl for introducing me to Meridian Touch. He has helped my body recover from imbalances and injuries, and now I have the best chance to perform at my fullest potential this season.”
Northwestern University Football team Alum ‘07 Middle Linebacker
“On July 9, 2006, I completed my first ever triathlon and it was a blast! What made it even more fun was that I was able to use my practice of Meridian Touch Sports Yoga to great advantage for both myself and a fellow triathlete. During the swim, a woman called out for assistance as she had a cramp in her calf.
I swam over and offered to give her some Meridian Touch on her foot to relieve the cramp. Though she was rather skeptical she agreed and, after a moment, brightened up saying her cramp was better and swam away!
For myself, in addition to using “regular” Meridian Touch, I used tennis balls on pressure points (as taught in the class for athletics) before and after the race as well as taking time to briefly use them in key places during transitions. This allowed energy to flow freely through my body keeping it strong and supple without cramping or fatiguing. At one point while biking, I could feel my knee starting to bother me so I just applied pressure in the right place while I continued pedaling and it soon felt great.
Meridian Touch has been helping me in many ways for over a year now but it’s exciting to be able to apply what I have learned in such a practical “on the spot” way when it comes to sports. Thanks!”
MSW, CCHT, RMT, RT, HBCE
“Since the players have been doing Meridian Touch™, we’ve found the kids have become a lot more flexible and hence a lot less likely for injury. They have told me that they get a better workout and feel more stretched out. It helps stretch and elongate their leg and back muscles. We’re very excited about having Darryl and Meridian Touch on our side!”
Former Head Coach of Oregon State University Men’s Basketball Team
Former Head Coach of Brown University Men’s Basketball Team
Former Assistant head Coach of Northwestern University Men’s Basketball Team
Big Brother of First Lady Michelle Obama
After ten professional “off seasons” spent working out in the weight room and in the batting cages, I was looking for something to not only add variety, but also to increase my cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility, and confidence in self defense. Although I continued with my normal “off season” regimen this year, I also added Darryl and his Meridian Touch Holistic Fitness team’s training to my routine. Since this addition, I have felt more energy, flexibility, endurance, and overall increased levels of self confidence.
Upon completion of my training with Darryl and his Meridian Touch team, I am confident that I am ready for both spring training and the entire season.
New York Mets, Center Fielder
3× All-Star (2009, 2011–2012)
Silver Slugger Award (2011)
AL RBI leader (2011)
“If I could use one word to describe Meridian Touch, I would say “amazing.” Before being introduced to Meridian Touch I suffered from chronic patella tendinitis.
My tendinitis at one point had become so acute that I was unable to participate in running workouts during Winter Workouts. My knees had become so tender that it even hurt walking up a flight of stairs.
This really worried me because as a Cornerback, being able to plant and break is of great importance. As a CB, it is tough to play on the edge if unable to get out of break. Even though I was still affected, I would eventually return to action.
My knees still badly ached, and my play suffered as a result. Being introduced to Darryl and Meridian Touch was the best things ever for my recovery. Darryl showed me how to use tsubo balls to access my meridian points. By using tsubo balls to access these various points, it took a significant amount of pressure off of my knees. Darryl not only showed me a variety of beneficial stretches, but also introduced me to Moxa rolls and a variety of liniments, which in conjunction with the stretches did wonders to my knees as I was able to re-gain full strength.
With my knees strengthened from Meridian Touch therapy, I was able to make a significant impact on this year Alamo Bowl squad, as I had my best season. I really thank Darryl for his commitment in teaching me the ways of Meridian Touch. I am such a believer of Meridian Touch, that if I were a coach I would make it mandatory for all players.
If I could give one bit of advice to any serious athlete I would tell them to work with Darryl and master Meridian Touch, because it will take you a long way.”
Northwestern University Men’s Football
“As an athlete, I think having an awareness of how your body works is a key to success. Understanding your strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies can help unlock challenges that might be in your way of achieving optimal movement and peak performance. Meridian Touch is one way to develop that awareness because it requires that you, not only stretch with attention, but asks that you seek out the right spots to trigger relaxation and recovery on a deeper level. It takes motivation and patience to get into the right positions and to take the time to let your body relax and to reap the benefits. Because it is often easy to overlook the benefits of taking the time to relax and stretch, the techniques learned in Meridian Touch can offer you the tools to take a new approach to recovery and relaxation so that recover better, prevent injuries and reduce stress.”
2010 US Biathlon Olympic Team
“Meridian Touch is a great compliment to my martial arts and yoga practice. Perception of ki and meridians is a difficult skill to cultivate, but these exercises really make it accessible.
I will never forget the first time I distinctly felt the energy moving along a line in my body. I got up and looked at a meridian chart, and sure enough, the sensation I was feeling matched up exactly with the meridian that the exercise was intended to activate!
Deep relaxation is the other great skill that Meridian Touch teaches. This is something we rarely get enough of these days in our fast-paced, “time is money” society. What people so often fail to realize is that taking a little time to ourselves to relax, re-energize and revitalize can make us much more efficient with the rest of our time.
The body is a storehouse of information about our lives, and unlike the mind, the body never lies. Meridian Touch is all about learning to access that information and make use of it to better ourselves and our lives.”
2nd Degree Black Belt Aikido
Instructor Kikumatsu Dojo
One Point Dojo, Chicago, IL
“Darryl employed his Meridian Touch philosophy and techniques to help me diagnose a running injury to a muscle in the hip region, which he then helped me to deal with using his easy-to-apply techniques. Darryl was also extremely responsive to other pressure points in the body that provided a context for my injury and enabled me to look at the body in a systemic and holistic way. Darryl’s knowledge of, and experience in, a number of physical therapy modalities made it possible for him (and me) to be flexible and open to the new information about my musculature and stress points that emerged during our sessions. I would recommend Darryl to anyone – athletic or not – looking to understand how their body works, and seeking to alleviate muscular pain throughout the body.”
Author, Marathon Runner
“Conventional athletic wisdom stalwartly reminds us, “No pain, no gain!” Yet for anyone weary of this arduous old-school mantra, Darryl’s Meridian Touch yoga program offers a refreshingly effortless alternative that nevertheless yields definite results towards enhanced physical performance.
Darryl’s unique style of yoga involves the stimulation and channeling of the various energy pathways—or meridians—that permeate the body, interconnecting every muscle, organ and nerve. The program utilizes a variety of stretches, poses and movements, complemented by a focus on deep breathing.
Throughout the flow of dynamic positions, which draw on a synthesis of traditional Eastern medicine and modern Western physiology, emphasis is placed on painlessly following the spontaneous wishes of one’s own body; exertion and stress—the common tenets of most sports—are categorically discouraged as inhibitive to the program’s goals.
The benefits of Meridian Touch include increased flexibility and circulation as well as generally enhanced calmness and body awareness. As a rower whose back and joints endure rigorous daily abuse, I have personally experienced relieved spinal tension and increased range of torso and hip movement, not to mention the intrinsic virtue of relaxation during the classes.
Our team highly recommends giving Meridian Touch yoga a shot – you won’t regret it!”
Northwestern University Varsity Oarsmen
“As a veteran triathlete and marathoner I recognized that the rigors of traditional “western” training for my events and the grueling nature of the races often left me injured and/or suffering from sub optimal performance on race day. I wanted to balance my training with a yoga practice but unfortunately the typical “eastern” modalities were not designed for endurance athletes such as myself and the benefits were thus minimal.
My work with Darryl and the Meridian Touch Sports Yoga practice has proven to be far more rewarding then any other I have tried. The healing aspects of the Chinese 5 Element philosophy combined with Darryl’s wisdom and martial arts background have created a very unique alternative and one that I would encourage all athletes, of any age/experience to adopt. The flexibility and openness of the approach was important to me and it made the practice effortless.”
Mitchel Kraskin, 53
Age Group Trialthlete and Marathoner, NYC
“After doing Meridian Touch with Darryl, I couldn’t believe how great my back felt.
After being plagued with problems from competing in strength athletics for years, I never thought that I would be able to train the way I used to again.
It only took a few sessions to see that this is a remarkable technique that can restore you back to pre-injury condition without having to partake in surgeries or take all different types of medications that are supposed to heal you. I believe in it so much, I trust Darryl with my athletes’ well-being and it only takes one session for them to become big believers as well.
Thanks so much Darryl!”
Director of Strength & Conditioning, University of Illinois at Chicago
Former Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning, Northwestern University, Evanston
“Meridian Touch has been unlike any other yoga class I’ve ever taken – rather than put you in uncomfortable positions that feel like you’re tearing every muscle in your body, Darryl’s class puts you in a true state of relaxation, which in turn leads to greater flexibility. But don’t think you’ll be sleeping all of class – Meridian Touch challenges you mentally to relax and to release tension in your body so that you can stretch and revitalize your body.
Perhaps more importantly, Meridian Touch teaches you the art of mental relaxation and correct breathing, which only benefits you as a person and as an athlete.
Having a teacher like Darryl who takes such a personal interest in your success really makes you excited about yoga – Darryl consistently does everything he can to make your experience a good one. He’s helped me find liniments and other treatments for sore backs and muscle pains that would have kept me out of the boat otherwise. I can honestly say that Meridian Touch has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made and it is consistently the highlight of my week.”
Varsity Crew Team Oarsman
“I noticed significant results in the very first class I took with Darryl. I walked in to class unable to touch my toes, in fact, I was so inflexible that I could only get my hands to my shins. By the end of class, I was not only able to touch my toes, but I could put the back of my hand on the ground with very little effort! This class is like a massage for the entire mind, body, and spirit and would highly recommend these teachings to anyone who needs to let go and relax a little!”
Fitness Consultant & Trainer
Dancers, Doctors & Everyday People
On my own, I had hit a training wall — I was working out harder and harder and getting less and less out of it. But once I started training with Darryl, Meridian Touch Holistic Fitness Training changed everything: that wall crumbled and I began seeing progress almost immediately. Darryl knows exactly how far to push you for maximum benefit, taking you right up to the line of “I can’t do anymore” and then backing off just enough to keep you motivated and energized.
New York Times Bestselling Author
Bill and Sheila Brown
“We think Meridian Touch Yoga is great! I hadn’t much experience with other forms of Yoga, but I was intrigued by the description of the Meridian Touch class because it seemed like an easy, unstructured method to relieve stress and increase energy.
I had started riding lessons and I thought that I might improve by learning to release tension and unblock the flow of energy through the body and develop stronger mind-body coordination. The breathing technique has been very helpful with this.
I thought I’d just try a couple of classes but, I felt so good afterward, I kept coming back. The atmosphere in class, with music and incense, is so pleasant and comfortable that when it’s over, everyone just wants to stay. Practicing the movements with a partner from class is a nice way to connect with another person. It has also been very interesting to learn about the concepts of Chinese medicine and the Five Elements.
Now that Bill and I are going to class together, it has been great to see how much he has benefited from Meridian Touch in terms of becoming more aware of his body and feeling healthier and more relaxed. Practicing Meridian Touch is a really positive way to spend time with your partner and take care of each other. We both really look forward to going to the classes as a peaceful break in a busy week. Thanks to our great teachers!”
Bill and Sheila Brown
I was first introduced to Darryl through the jump rope intervals class he teaches at my neighborhood gym. The rhythm of his class and the unique combination of exercises he exposed us to made me an immediate fan.
Six months after starting the class and meeting Darryl, I found myself with an acute injury to my left anterior deltoid. I was doing a push-up and voila — sudden shooting pain down my left arm. I consulted Darryl about this (like I said, I was an immediate fan), and he recommended I get in touch with a well-respected acupuncturist to figure out which part of my arm was injured and also what could be done to correct it. Once we narrowed it down to the deltoid, I started some acupuncture therapy and had to avoid using my left arm for a couple months so it could heal mostly on its own. After that time period, I began to train with Darryl once a week, performing Meridian Touch stretches and light strengthening exercises.
By combining our weekly session with some Meridian Touch movements Darryl recommend I do on my own, my arm started to heal. Within a few more months, I was able to start fully strengthening my left arm again. I had a lot of fear about re-injury, in particular about doing more push-ups, but Darryl has helped me to overcome those fears. My ultimate goal is to push my strength training to a higher level than ever before and I believe that by working with Darryl this is possible.
In addition to my arm injury, Darryl is also helping me to overcome some deep-rooted body image issues I’ve had since a teenager. That goes above and beyond the services normally provided by a trainer.
Darryl truly has come up with his own definition of “personal trainer” with Meridian Touch Holistic Fitness. I highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for an all-encompassing experience.
Graphic Design & Creative Services
Dr. Ken Blanchard
“When Darryl first demonstrated Meridian Touch exercises, I didn’t believe they could be effective in relaxing and stretching a stiff body like mine – WRONG! Since then, I’ve found Meridian Touch to accomplish all of which it claims, and more. Meridian Touch™ helps relax my body in ways I’ve never known.
It makes me more flexible, the exercises are comfortable, and mentally, Meridian Touch keeps me centered, focused and primed to meet the day with a better outlook. I love the idea of allowing my body to “melt” into a position instead of resisting and fighting a stretch. It is with great enthusiasm that I recommend Meridian Touch™ exercises to everyone.”
Dr. Ken Blanchard, Ph.D, MD.
Co-author of The One Minute Manager
“Meridian Touch has helped me across many different areas of my life as a San Francisco-based B2B marketing professional and China e-commerce entrepreneur. I feel more relaxed and open to social interaction as well as less stressed about work after a good session. These exercises make it so much easier to just live naturally and be true to the expression of one’s own spirit.
“I have been able to go deeper in my Zen and martial arts practice as a result of Meridian Touch’s benefits to my mental and physical well-being. Darryl’s work is really amazing. It gives people the sanity, balance, and awareness to find fulfillment in their lives and change for the better.”
San Francisco, CA
Market Development Specialist
“After my double mastectomy I had limited range of motion in my upper body. I lay on the mat in my first Meridian Touch class and could not extend my arms over my head.
Midway through this first class my arms were able to raise much higher and the soreness and tightness I felt initially were gone. My weekly class is a treat – it relaxes like a massage and I can now EASILY stretch my arms over my head anytime!
Thank you Darryl for providing an oasis in a too often chaotic workweek.”
From Chiba, Japan. Nao began Ballet training at the age of 10 with Ms. Takane Koizumi. She moved to NYC in 2000 and attended the Alvin Ailey school. As an international performer, Nao has performed in U.S.A, Japan, Scotland, Brazil and worked with numerous television, film, and magazine productions. She is currently working with a variety of dance companies including Michael Mao Dance(Modern), Kotchegna Dance(West african), Grupo Ribeiro(Brazilian), JC caribbean entertainment(Caribbean) and Fusha dance(Congolese).
Certified Zumba Basic2 and Zumba Gold instructor and she had 200 hours yoga instructor training 2009. Nao’s Blog
“Darryl Aiken’s worked through an extremely painful emotional hurt with the Meridian Touch System. In my initial intuitive insight, the pain was so acute that it represented as a “tear in the soul.”
In a couple of short weeks, that “tear” had healed considerably and his energy was more balanced and at peace.
Working with the Meridian Touch system will allow the opportunity for growth on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual plane. And who doesn’t have that need? This is a simple system which allows for soul expansion and development.”
“I had the good fortune to study Meridian Touch with Darryl Aiken-Afam in NYC. The information Darryl imparted and the feeling of well-being I experienced from the sessions was unforgettable.
As a dancer and choreographer, heading a company about to celebrate its 30th anniversary, I have taken many workshops & done quite a lot of different types of body work.
I found Darryl’s approach so valuable because it incorporates the practice of offering and receiving from the other participants as part of the learning process. His patience and ability to share his knowledge with clarity is impressive. He has put together a unique combination of exercise and philosophy.”
Founder of the Wendy Osserman Dance Company, New York City