Aaaah – finally the days are getting longer, there is more light and sunshine, trees and flowers are blooming and we notice not only nature but also ourselves coming back to life. It’s Spring!
In Chinese Medicine, the season of Spring stands for creation and new beginnings. Nature clearly shows us how a new cycle begins after the long break of hibernation in winter time. We can see this creation especially in plants, so it makes sense that Spring is the season of the wood element, the first element in the five element cycle. So just like a tree, it represents growth and development on a personal, mental and spiritual level. Do you notice more motivation and inspiration during this time of the year? A clear sign that your Self wants to grow and develop.
Every element in Chinese medicine is connected to its respective meridian lines and emotions. For the wood element, it’s the meridians of Liver and Gallbladder and the emotion of anger. When you’re feeling irritated or angry (maybe even for no apparent reason), this could be a sign that your Liver needs some love.
Although the warmer temperatures might invite you to go out and do all the things you might have felt too sleepy to do in winter, it’s recommended to take things slow. The Liver doesn’t like stress or anything excessive (meaning also too much food, too much alcohol, too much work…), so you can support it by choosing gentle exercises to calm down and relax, such as taking walks in nature, gentle yoga, calming breathwork and meditation. And of course yin yoga!
So here is a yin yoga sequence perfect for Spring, targeting your Liver and Gallbladder meridians, that run along the inside of your legs (Liver) and your side body (Gallbladder).
- blanket / towel
Butterfly (5 min)
Bring the soles of the feet together, knees dropping out. Lean forward and relax your shoulders and arms. You want to feel a soft tugging in the inside of your legs to stimulate your liver meridian, but should this be too intense for you, feel free to place some blocks underneath the outside of your knees for support.
Dragonfly (4 min)
For this pose, I recommend sitting up on a blanket or towel to make this pose more accessible. Bring your legs as far apart as needed to feel a soft tugging in the inside of your legs. You can lean forward into a forward fold if you like. After about four minutes, bring legs back together and rest for a minute and feel into the sensations in the inside of your legs.
Shoelace Pose (4 min/side)
There are several options to choose from for this pose. Cross your left leg over your right so your heel comes to the outside of your right hip. Cross your left leg over the right, stacking your knees. Don’t worry if your knees don’t stack completely, just make sure your knees are not complaining in this pose. If they do, feel free to stretch out the lower leg. In this pose, we’re targeting the gallbladder meridian, so we’re looking for a sensation in our outer hips. If you don’t feel anything, try leaning forward and see if that works better for you. Take a minute in a neutral position before switching to the second side.
Bananasana (5 min/side)
Lie down on your back and stretch your arms overhead. Bring your legs to the right without lifting your left hip. Move your torso and arms to the right as well until you look like a ripe banana and you feel the stretch on your left side body, targeting the gallbladder meridian. Should you feel any tingling in your arms or hands, bring your arms beside your body but try to stay in this rounded shape. Repeat on the other side, then rest for a minute on your back.
Reclined Twist (5 min/side)
Draw your knees into your chest and extend your arms out to the sides. Let your knees drop over to one side, letting the opposite shoulder sink down towards the floor. You can place a block or blanket between your knees for more support. Make sure you feel a nice twist along your spine but are able to fully relax. Stay for 5 min. before switching the legs over to the other side.
Happy Baby (3 min)
Bringing your knees back to center, open them apart, reaching for your feet with your hands (with your arms on the inside of your legs), making sure the soles of your feet face the ceiling. Let your knees sink down towards the floor and relax your upper back and head into the mat. You can also take a hold of the back of your knees instead of your feet if that feels better in your body. This pose works your liver meridian on the inside of your legs.
Savasana (10 min)
Your liver loves reclined positions, so in this sequence, enjoy an extra long Shavasana for 10 min. (or more if you like!). Relax, feel into your body and let the energy flow through you.
Enjoy and happy spring!