March 15, 2010

Spring Fling ~ Healthy Green Livering

Spring in Chinese Seasons
Element – Wood
Colour – Green
Nature – Yang
Organs – Liver/Gall Bladder
Emotion – Anger/Determination
Taste – Sour
Condition – Windy
Direction – East

In Chinese Medicine, there are Five Elements which represent different phases and forces in the universe, nature, and our bodies. These are five forms of energy, constantly moving and changing from one into another throughout the natural world. These elements help us understand the meaning of  our physical, psychological and emotional balance.

Each season in Nature relates to an element and with the changing of seasons into Spring this week, it is interesting to look at the relationship. Metal is Autumn, Water is Winter, Wood is Spring, and Fire and Earth is Summer. Wood-Spring is the first season and is about growth and beginnings and new activity.

Wood supports Fire, is supported by Water, when over active controls Earth and is in turn is controlled by Metal.

Since Spring is Wood; it is represented as a tree, sybolising growth and activity. In Chinese Astrology, Wood is divided into Yin & Yang where Yang Wood (jiǎ) is solid and sturdy like a mature tree , and Yin Wood (yǐ) is light and supple like the new shoots of a plant.

Yoga poses can invigorate Spring Liver Chi!

Wood Chi

The essence of  Wood is beginnings, birth and Spring. It is a bursting forth of new ideas, new vitality and new beginnings. Wood Chi is reflected in spontaneity, flexibility and activity.  Wood is strong and flexible like bamboo, and associated with warmth, generosity and co-operation.  Wood can be wide and outgoing, always seeking to grow and expand.

If you rise early and are at your most creative early in the day, Wood is healthy.  Humour, flexibility, adaptability, creativity or spontaneity is healthy, happy Wood energy. If you have difficulty waking up or getting motivated in the morning, Wood is stressed and needs support. Irritability, impatience, anger, rigidity and over sensitivity to noise, touch and smell could mean Wood needs a boost.

Liver & Gall Bladder
The Liver is the most important organ after the heart, because it affects metabolism, detoxification, and blood clotting. The Liver filters, regulates, and stores blood. The Liver is our biggest internal organ (3 lbs/1.4 kg), and sits beneath the diaphragm on the right side of the body.

This amazing organ is the only one that can re-generate itself and function with 85% of its cells destroyed. In Chinese medicine, the Liver is regarded as General of the body, creating order and harmony throughout the system.

It governs muscles and tendons, which brings grace and flexibility, so muscle, knee and elbow issues can indicate weak Liver Chi.

The Gall Bladder emulsifies fats and oils with bile, and assists in digestion and absorption of minerals.

In Chinese medicine, humour, patience and ability to be in the moment are signs of healthy Gall Bladder Chi. Impatience, irritability and rushing ahead of yourself show weakness.  A balanced diet and chewing slowly help build Gall Bladder Chi

Read more on Yoga poses for Spring Liver Chi!

Tips for Boosting Wood Liver Chi

Green is the colour of Wood.  As spring erupts, it is a symphony of green everywhere you look. As this colour abounds in Nature to remind us of growth and borth, add more greens and sprouts to your diet.

Leafy green veggies are extremely good for balancing Liver and Wood Chi. Eat lots of greens: collard, kale, spinach, mustard, dandelion and other leafy greens. The more greens the better!

Our blood, Chi and essence are ever changing and shifting, and almost half of our blood plasma rebuilds itself every 10 days to maintain good health. Here are some tips to strengthen Wood Chi this Spring!

Walk in nature, breathe the fresh air and connect with Wood Chi by seeing the trees outside

Do Yoga, Chi Gung, Tai Chi and more outdoor activities

Add leafy greens and sprouted food into your diet to help detoxify

Chew slowly and very well

Sour tastes balance Liver energy, so add lemon to your water. Use lemon and olive oil on salad.
In the morning, eat when hungry. Eat light, easy to digest foods like cereal, plain toast or fruit.

Don’t eat when you are distracted: watching TV, standing, walking, talking or reading

Avoid alcohol or eating 2 hours before sleep

When it is warm enough, spend 5 – 10 minutes walking barefoot. Liver Chi enters through the feet and reconnection with Earth is vital

To release stress, anger or impatience from Liver or Gall Bladder, turn up the music, sing, dance and have FUN! Socialise with friends and get a full belly laugh!

Get Acupuncture to move Chi and restore balance. Acupuncture can treat stress, anger and migraines.

Seasonal acupuncture helps strengthen the system and maintain body harmony, before problems occur.

Yoga Poses for Wood Liver

Each Element in Chinese Medicine is linked to organs they support. Wood Chi supports function of the Liver and Gall Bladder. The Liver controls muscles and tendons. In Chinese Medicine, Liver stores blood during rest and releases it to tendons in activity. If you have tight or recurring joint problems this could be signs of an over-stressed liver.

Pavritti TriangMukhaPadasana

In the Yoga “bible”, Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar, poses to tonify Liver and Gall Bladder include a balanced approach of inversions, back bends, twists and forward bends.

These poses express a full range of motion in the abdominal area which will stretch, strengthen, enervate, and bring circulation into the entire torso. You will also massage both sides of body, energising Liver and Gall Bladder Chi.

My favourite Yoga poses for Liver and Gall Bladder health are  Sarvangasana, Paschimottanasana, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, Dhanurasana, Salabhasana and Bhujangasana.

Read more on Yoga poses for Spring Liver Chi!


Cora Wen is a self admitted Yoga Crone. A traditionalist who has studied and practiced yoga for two decades and remains curious and uplifted by the endless teachings of Yoga. Cora is certified at the highest levels of ERYT500 and CYT. She specialises in alignment based Yoga, and works with students suffering from chronic injuries and long term illnesses. She travels across the globe sharing an infectious love of Yoga, and would love to to share  Energy and Yoga with You! Connect on www.corawen.com or follow Cora on Twitter and Facebook

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