Spring is here! Can you feel little sparks of creativity urging you to get on with the projects you have thought about and nourished for the past months? Or is your nose already congested from nature’s first bursts of pollen? Both are perfectly natural and a sign that we are in tune with nature around us, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM postulates that our Qi, or life force, fluctuates within us through the seasons, just as it does in nature around us.
This is called the Five Element Theory, and Wood (spring), Fire (summer), Earth (late summer), Metal (fall), and Water (winter) are the basic elements of the material world. Yin yoga works with the seasons, and therefore it is valuable to have an understanding of the Five Element Theory.
Spring in yin yoga means an additional focus on the Liver (yin) and Gallbladder (yang) meridians. These meridians and organ energies belong to the spring season. They have to do with feelings of frustration and anger, according to traditional Chinese medicine. So if we practice yin yoga in order to balance these, we will be able to see the world more objectively.
All organs have particular tasks in our body, not limited to their physical and biological functions. According to TCM, the Liver is the great architect of our future. It is responsible for planning, and oversees our path in life. When the Liver generates anger, it does so to keep things moving and flowing. An internal spring cleaning, you may say. When anger dissolves, this energy transforms into faith, optimism, and wisdom.
Liver’s companion, the Gallbladder, gives us the opportunity to make decisions and judge wisely. Making a decision is not a matter of choosing between similar options. Through these organ energies, we can see both new opportunities and the wisdom of the past, thus seeing the clear and appropriate course to take. Without the Wood element’s vision and planning, its decision and direction, no movement is possible – it all ends in frustration.
Why balance the Wood element?
The Wood element controls vision (both plans as well as eyesight), psychological impressions, the sense of anger and it also contains the sound of shouting. If our vision is stifled, we feel anger: we have made a plan, we have decided to go for it, we have set a goal, and suddenly our plans are thwarted. If someone says, “No, you can’t!” then everything in us that said “Go for it!” is now blocked. In times like these we often feel anger and frustration and want to shout and yell – but afterwards, make sure to balance those feelings. Because if the Wood element in us is healthy, we can adjust and start over.
How to live in harmony with the spring season
Start the day early with a brisk walk. Rise with the sun, admire buds that burst, birds that build nests, feel the power of life rise inside you.
Begin new things – at home, at work and for yourself. Notice the people and situations around you with fresh eyes. Be creative, make something – start now!
Check out Gunn Helene’s new book Yoga and Diet: The Mindful Connection. It is available both as a paperback and eBook at Amazon.
She also writes health and food related articles for Norwegian magazines, and has a holistic wellness coaching practice. Connect with her via the social media links below!
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