5-elements-logo_05Meridians are pathways of energy flowing throughout the body. Each meridian passes through and affects our organs, our physiological systems, and our emotions. The Meridian System has 12 principal meridians that correspond to the yin and yang organs and the pericardium.

In Chinese Medicine, yin and yang organs are physiological functional units that incorporate a much broader meaning then common western thinking.) Meridians linked with yin organs are known as yin meridians; if they are linked to yang organs, they are known as yang meridians. In addition to the12 principal meridians, there are eight extra meridians and smaller network-like luo meridians. Among the eight extra meridians, the Governing Vessel and the Conception Vessel are considered the most important channels, because they contain acupuncture points which are independent of the twelve principal meridians.

Class #1 Recorded on September 4, 2013 (Stream | Download)

In Chinese anatomy, Earth is represented by the organs of Stomach, Spleen, Kidney and Lungs.

They build and maintain the entire body: Stomach is where food is prepared for absorption, and Spleen helps absorb nutrients, feeding muscle and blood.
The Liver is responsible for the free flow of energy through the body.
Kidneys are the foundation of all energy in the body and are the source and storehouse of Chi
Lungs transform the air we breathe into energy and circulates it through the body.

When Earth elements are imbalanced, we worry or have excessive mental agitation, lack of concentration or memory loss.

We feel needy for food or attention, seeking sympathy or distraction.
An imbalance in Earth can manifest in exhaustion, loss of appetite, poor digestion or loose stools and diarrhea, easy bruising, excess menstrual flow or other bleeding disorders.

When Earth is off balance, internal cycles may suffer – Earth energy can be over stimulated with hot spices and caffeine.

Earth thrives on routine rhythms, which settles the nervous system, stabilizes blood sugars and lowers blood pressure. Balancing work, socializing and self care is essential for healthy body, mind and spirit.

Class #2, Recorded September 11, 2013

(Stream Download)

We will be working with the Knee as a metaphor for moving forward with Earth Chi.

Keeping the Chi of Earth abundant and nourished is critical to taking care of the self. Much as the knee is the first body part to move forward in walking, we must be feel protected and safe to move forward in Life.

Todays class will focus on the Spleen and Stomach points in the Knee and how they help regulate and normalize the flow of energy.  The knee is where we assimilate knowledge on an energetic and spiritual level.

Louise Hay suggests that Knees represent Pride and the inability to bend. In spiritual practice it is said that one must go down before one can rise up, and we must kneel to receive prayer or become knighted.

Every time we move forward in Life or approach change, we are in the unknown, and Pride or Ego can keep us from surrendering to the Universe. We may feel vulnerable, unsure and stand still; stiff kneed resisting the winds of change. Stiff, sore knees are a symptom of Kidney deficiency, whose emotion is Fear.

Acupuncture points are seen as gates where energy can be opened, closed, or redirected. Some acupuncture points have local effects, while other points are said to have properties effecting the whole body.

Stomach 35, in the knee, is used only for knee joint problems, however, Stomach 36, about 3” below Stomach 35, is said to regulate the absorption of food in the intestines and thus effect the energy of the whole body.

Class #3, Recorded September 18, 2013

(Stream Download)

We will be working with the concept of moving from Earth to Metal, from Spleen-Stomach to Lung-Large intestine, from Late Summer to Autumn. This transition is known in Wu Xing (Five Element) Theory as Sheng, the “Generating” Cycle
Using metaphors from the natural world is a way to illustrate the Sheng Cycle:

  • water generates wood – as rain nourishes a tree
  • wood generates fire – as burning wood creates fire
  • fire generates earth – as ash (which becomes part of the soil) is formed from burned wood
  • earth generates metal – as metal ore is mined from the earth
  • metal generates water – as water condenses on a metal surface

This concept is used for therapeutic applications in acupuncture, Chinese herbal applications, massage and martial arts. This principle is  based in the bond of Mother to Child. We must nourish the child element, and it’s skillful to also nourish the element that is the mother of that child.

We will concentrate on the legs in action, and work on standing poses and exapadarajakapotasana variations. The concentration and focus will be on lateral rotation of the lower limbs and how to protect the knee.

Please make sure to have a yoga bolster, long yoga belt, 2 blocks and blankets as needed.