We’ve spent the last few weeks exploring the acupuncture meridians through Hot Yin Yoga here at Yogafurie. We’ve looked at a different pair of meridians each time, and then at the extraordinary vessels. This blog gives detail about the meridians, and a simple yin yoga sequence you can practice to target them all.
Come along to one of our Hot Yin Tonic classes to learn about the safe application of each posture – or of course speak to a qualified Yin Yoga teacher. That way you can get the best out of this practice without risk of injury.
The meridians are grouped as Yin/Yang pairs within the five elements of the traditional Chinese medicine system. Different elements are active in our bodies and minds at different times of the day.
|Water||3pm – 7pm||Kidney||Power house of the body – resupplies any organ running low on Qi. Ears/hearing, bones, the salt taste, fear – and drive/ vitality.||Little toe, inner foot, heel, inner leg, spine, pubis, collarbone, branches to liver, lung, throat and tongue.|
|3pm – 7pm||Bladder||Nervous function – switching in and out of parasympathetic at the right times… or not.||Inner eye, eyebrow, forehead, skull, branching to spine, sacrum, back of thigh and knee, another branch to scapula, buttock, meet at knee, then one channel down calf to outer ankle and little toe.|
|Fire||11am – 3pm||Small intestine||Absorption of food, information and experience. Separating pure from impure. Anxiety and stress lies in the failure of this.||Little finger, wrist, forearm, funny bone, shoulder, collar bone, branches to heart, stomach and small intestine. Another branch to neck, cheek, ear, branching again to the two corners of the eye.|
|11am – 3pm||Heart||Controls blood, mind, spirit, consciousness. Not a driver – the cause of the drive. Processes of circulation, thought, speech brought about from here. Hence vitality, quick thinking, clear speech when working well.||Heart, diaphragm, small intestine. Another branch to throat, eye and tongue. A third branch to the lung, armpit, inner arm, little finger.|
|7pm – 11pm||Triple heater||Three “heaters” or processing areas: heart and lungs disseminate air through blood and maintain life moment-by-moment. Stomach and spleen initiate digestive churn, enabling life day-to-day. The rest of the organs refine this and separate good from bad, ensuring ongoing health. How well these relate to each other and coordinate with each other is triple heater. EG constipation:||Fourth finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, collar bone, pericardium, middle and lower abdomen. Rises again to neck and ear, branching to forehead and cheek and another branch to ear and outer eyebrow.|
|7pm – 11pm||Pericardium||Heart protector. Anatomically, tissue that envelopes, lubricates and cushions heart from shock. Energetically, the automatic engagement with the right people, the automatic closure towards the wrong people – or not.||Chest, branching down through abdomen. Another branch to armpit, arm, wrist, branching again to middle and fourth fingers.|
|Earth||7am – 11am||Spleen||Earth element – the cycle of seasons – late summer and harvest as the culmination of all earth process. The transport process in the body… cold hands, muscular weakness in dysfunction.||Big toe, inner ankle, thigh, lower abdomen, spleen and stomach, diaphragm and tongue. An inner branch runs to the heart.|
|7am – 11am||Stomach||Like a bakery – the right ingredients and blending deliver delicious nourishment.||Nose, forehead, gums, ear, forehead, collarbone branching to stomach and spleen. Another branch down the abdomen to the pubis where they rejoin, front thigh, kneecap where it branches again: one branch down the shin to second toes, the other to middle toe.|
|Metal||3am – 7am||Large intestine||Metal gives the sense of boundary. Boundary and routine allow the healthy and appropriate expression of sadness and grief. Without boundary, these stagnate and the individual cannot flow with their life.||Index finger, wrist, outer arm, elbow, shoulder, back, branching first to lung and large intestine and another branch from shoulder to neck, cheek, gums, lip and nostril.|
|3am – 7am||Lung||The boundary between the inner and outer world and air is exchanged. Qi is the energy of breath: this can be well or poorly supplied. The first line of defence against threatening agents – be they bacteria or bad emotional influences.||Solar plexus, large intestine, stomach, diaphragm dividing to lungs, rejoining to windpipe and dividing again to shoulder, front arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, thumbs.|
|Wood||11pm- 3am||Liver||Wood as useful, durable, and renewable. Liver represents the function of regulation, harmonizing the energies of the other organs and creating balance – or not. Balance: empty mind, hgappy emotions. Disruptive mental states, emotional extremes, spasm, movement difficulties.||Big toes, top of foot, inner ankle, inner leg, pubis, lower abdomen, liver and gall bladder, ribs, throat, eye, crown of head. A branch circles the mouth. From within the liver, another internal branch reaches the lungs.|
|11pm- 3am||Gall bladder||Yellow/ green, eyes, ears, nails. Physically secretes bile which enables digestion of fat. Responsible for judgment decisions. Can turn drive and vitality from the Kidneys into decisive action. “A lot of gall” – bravery. Fights at night.||Outer eye, forehead, ear, corner of skull, back to forehead, base of the skull, neck, shoulder, ribs, bladder, sacrum, outer leg, front of ankle, fourth toe. Internal branches run to the jaw, liver and gall bladder.|
Yin Yoga Practice Sequence
This yin yoga practice takes approximately 75 minutes.
Breath – microcosmic orbit: http://www.yuliqigong.com/MicroOrbit.html
Practice for 5-10 minutes.
Seated, practice easy gomukhasana arms
(use a belt or hold top elbow with opposite hand), and pressing palms together gently.
Hold each position on each side for 2-3 minutes.
Thread the needle/ rolling panda.
Hold each position for 3-5 minutes. Only move to rolling panda if you have space around you and there’s no sense of strain in shoulders, knees
Hold this position for 3-5 minutes.
Twisted roots pose.
Hold each side for 3-5 minutes. Use blocks to support your legs if they don’t easily rest on the floor.
Twisted dragon pose.
Again, 3-5 minutes on each side.
2+ minutes on each side. Watch for any knee pain – let the front leg be bent as shown if your knee is ok.
Reclining butterfly pose.
Can be performed with or without props and equipment, although with is always more comfortable!
Breath – three-part breathing: https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-practice-three-part-breath-in-yoga
That’s it! Have fun practicing yin yoga.