This week’s qigong class focuses on the element wood and its corresponding organs, the liver (yin organ), and the gallbladder (yang organ). The corresponding sense organ is the eyes (sight). The healing sound is “Shhh” and the energy colour is the fresh, new green of spring. The season of wood and liver is spring, with its energy of renewal, growth and fresh, new life.
In the Daoist philosophy the liver is known as the “tree of life.” The tree symbolized the wood element with its roots reaching deep into the earth and its branches outstretched toward the sun. A tree’s stability and flexibility are also characteristics of the liver. A tree is rooted, but can bend in the wind. The liver meridians maintain the health of the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue, including the fascia, helping to keep us resilient and flexible.
Physically, just as trees emit cleansing oxygen, the liver is a major detoxifying organ, and controls the circulation and storage of blood. Energetically, the liver is in charge of how qi flows in the whole body. Spiritually, the liver is said to hold the blueprint of the soul’s purpose and is related to inner spiritual sight.
The acquired emotions or states of the liver may include anger, frustration, irritability, envy, and resentment. The balancing and natural virtues of the liver include generosity, kindness, creativity, adaptability, and compassion.
Blocks or imbalance in the wood element are often related to headaches, allergies, menstrual irregularities, digestive ailments, high blood pressure, arthritis, muscle weakness or stiffness, uneven emotions, fatigue, resistance, and vision problems.
Since wood (liver) feeds fire (heart), liver health is directly related to heart health. The liver’s function is to cool (soothe) the heart, but if there is not enough blood and energy for the liver to do its job, the heart suffers with excess heat resulting in hot emotion and anxiety.
Because the liver is like a filter, when a woman experiences hormonal shifts and over-activity of the limbic system (stress and emotion), this affects an overloaded liver and manifests as irritability, anger, or even rage. Anger can be a helpful emotion, but not if one is stuck in an excess of it.
Flowing and balanced liver Qi helps us to make sound decisions, put our plans into action without procrastination, and be flexible and able to adapt and change. We have a vision and are able to walk our unique path without blindly following what others think is our best course. We are able to connect with others and be compassionate, creative, and kind to ourselves and to others.
This week we will use the inner smile meditation and liver healing sound to practice the alchemy of transforming held or stuck anger or frustration, inviting our natural virtues to expand. Our Qi self-massage will focus on stimulating the liver and gallbladder meridians, and our stretching, breath work and qigong flows will move energy and flood the physical and energetic bodies with fresh Qi.
We will practice Dragon Awakens its Spine, Tree Stance, the Daoist Five tonifying movements for the Liver and Lungs, and more.
I’m looking forward to practicing with you.
© Sandra Tonn