By Marta Masiero
THE PRACTICE OF YIN YOGA COMBINED TO TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
We thought it was never going to end, all those cold and dark days seemed almost unbearable..
And even though the gloom of this coronavirus pandemic contagion is hanging over us like the Sword of Damocles, we cannot help but feeling a sense of hope and lightness waking up to lighter days and blossoming trees.
I personally try to escape the winter blues every year by chasing the sunshine across the world on the quest of feeling recharged and energised, and I was lucky enough to travel to Thailand this February, nourishing mind, soul, heart and belly in the unique way only travelling solo sometimes can offer.
Spring has arrived and it doesn’t really matter if we can’t quite see the full expression of it yet, or if we are on lockdown at home, we know it is only going to get better, warmer, lighter and more colourful. We will soon be able to enjoy time outdoors, spent on picnics, walks and socialising until the early hours, appreciating human connections far more than we ever did!
Spring is an expression of life blossoming and energy recharge at its most powerful time.
During this season we might notice that a new found sense of vitality begins to awaken after the dormant winter months.
We might have been moving more slowly during the cold season, eating heavier foods, looking for comfort and cosiness, but just as nature enters a cycle of renewal, growth and expansion, so does the energy within us.
Spring is the beginning of the seasonal cycle, a time of birth and new beginnings.
In Chinese Traditional Medicine, Spring is also the energy of the element WOOD.
Symbolising a time to find more clarity in our direction and vision, we can now invite more creativity into our lives and maybe release stuck emotional patterns.
Every Element in TCM (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) is attached to two organs, a yin organ and a yang organ.
The WOOD element represents Liver (yin) and the Gallbladder (yang).
Looking at these organs’ function in our digestive system, the gallbladder holds bile produced in the liver until it is needed for digesting foods.
Similarly, energetically speaking, the gallbladder holds the ideas and the energy (Qi) produced in the liver until it is needed for transformation and change to occur.
This is therefore the right season to plant seeds for a future harvest, to look ahead and make plans, to transform ideas into decisions, to take those necessary steps into action.
So, what is the link between seasons, elements, organs and yin yoga?
Welcome to the most subtle and magical layer of your practice, one that, if you are like me, won’t be able to ignore once you tap into its infinite healing properties.
We all know how yin yoga is incredibly beneficial on a physical level: it facilitates deep fascial release, preventing our deep layer of connective tissues to become dehydrated, stiff, and less elastic.
Though the magic really happens when we hold our postures for a longer period of time, between 3-5min, relaxing and breathing into them, until we begin to feel an energetic effect on the body, increasing the flow of Qi in our energy channels, or meridians.
Whenever Qi is stuck and stagnant in our liver and gallbladder we could experience emotions of frustration, anger and depression.
Especially at this very unique and unprecedented time, while we battle against fear, change and unknown future, it could be easy to slip into this energetic and emotional imbalance.
We might experience a stagnant sense of life purpose, a weakness in planning and finding direction, struggling with having a vision and beating ourselves up for something which is completely out of our control.
Paying attention to our emotions and listening deeply to our bodies is the first step towards inner listening, self healing and growth.
The Gall Bladder meridian runs along the outside of the leg and the outer hip.
The Liver meridian runs along the inside of the ankle, along the inside of the leg, and through the groin before going inside the body toward the liver.
Yin yoga be a beautiful way to end a day working from home sitting at your desk (kitchen table or sofa), or a useful practice to go to whenever you feel emotions of frustration or lack of motivation arising.
Enjoy the practice and let me know your thoughts!
Love and (virtual hugs)