The energy of the Wood Element is opening and expanding. In spring, flowers bloom and new growth is seen all around us in nature. After Winter, this burst of energy often urges us to clean and clear the house – ‘Spring Cleaning!”. Our yoga reflects a spring clean, with lighter, softer movements and loads of twists.
Get more energy by giving your body a bit of a clean and tidy up too.
Liver/Gallbladder According to Five Element Theory
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Liver is the Yin organ responsible for the smooth flow of emotions as well as Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions. The Liver’s partner Yang organ is the Gallbladder.
When the Wood Element is imbalanced you may experience symptoms like
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Headache, migraine, or high blood pressure
- Brittle nails
The tendons are the tissue associated with the Liver. TCM says that strength comes from the tendons, not muscles. Be like the cat that is strong, agile, and flexible, not the cow, which has huge muscles but little real strength.
In Remedial Yoga Therapy the yoga for Spring is focused on flexibility and twists to keep our body and our mind flexible and ready for change.
The taste that corresponds to and supports the Liver, is sour. If you crave sour foods, this may be your Liver communicating that it needs an extra boost. Be sure to include high-quality vinegar and sweet and sour recipes in your diet.
Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver. If you are often irritable, get angry easily, have trouble unwinding from the day’s activities, have trouble reasoning or letting things go, you are experiencing a Liver function problem. Experiencing these emotions chronically or excessively can seriously unbalance the function of your Liver.
You can use these basic guidelines to begin to understand what organs may be asking for support.
Simple Tips for Everyday Liver Health.
Stay calm, especially during the spring. Don’t get caught up in spring’s intense new energies!
Take things easy and go slow; take a nice long walk in the park or do other gentle exercises to relax your mind, body, and spirit. Let go of any stressful situations that you can, and if that’s not possible, use some of the stress-relieving tips below.
Using a hairbrush with rounded bristles, pound up and down the insides of your thighs and calves, starting at the ankles, for about five minutes. This gently stimulates your Liver meridian, allowing your qi to flow more freely and relaxing your Liver.
Avoid alcohol! Because the Liver is responsible for metabolising alcohol, drinking in moderation can go a long way towards preserving your Liver’s energy and giving it a break.
Engage in gentle exercises, such as swimming or walking, instead of hard and fast exercises which overwork or overstretch the tendons, causing them to eventually lose their flexibility, impacting the Liver function of being “flexible.”
Acupressure for Liver Health
Rub the acupressure point called “Taichong” (Liver 3) which stimulates a key point on the Liver channel. It may be sore, but this means you’re hitting the right spot! You are unblocking your Liver Qi.
Try to rub this area every day. It’s located on top of your foot where the big toe bone meets the second toe bone (about an inch back from the skin between these toes). Using your thumb, press and massage this spot on both feet (the meridians are on both sides of your body). You can also rub with your thumb moving forward along the inside of the big toe.