FIRE ELEMENT – Part 2 • The Small Intestine
Discover each of the five elements through this series of Blog posts, learn more about the human body, mind, about yourself, and how yoga and food affect each of your organs and your energy. To simplify your learning experience, I have separated the four organs that compose the Fire element. This article introduces the Fire element but is solely explaining one organ: the Heart.
The SI (=Small Intestine) is a very long organ, like an amplifier: it cooks, squeezes and releases the inherited energy in it, creating fire and heat this way. That’s one of the main ways the body creates energy.
The SI gives us heat, warmth, digestive function, intellect and excitement. You can become all of these things for a minute if you drink alcohol, coffee or eat sugar.
The SI represents the middle brain, just like the organ’s location in our digestive system. And the meridian runs on all our biggest muscles (gluts, triceps, latissimus dorsi, etc.).
Eka Pada Galavasana or flying pigeon involves our SI from the little fingers to the gluts.
Picture the blood on the outside of the intestine as blue, cold and empty. The heat inside the Small Intestine cooks the food and attracts the blue blood, which then gets charged up, becoming red (Yang) and rising up like a flame to nourish the Heart. This leads to more blue blood being attracted outside of the Small Intestine.
The Small Intestine is like a pressure cooker in the sense that a healthy SI will consume and burn anything you put in there without any difficulty, and turn it into energy. However, if your SI becomes weak, you can become very easily bloated and irritable from eating a small amount of the wrong food. See this as a weak/damp fire you made whilst camping. You had to be really careful with that fire and what you fed it (what type of branches and if they were dry enough or small enough, etc.). But if your SI is “Jitsu” (overactive), you can picture it as a Geyser: by feeding it excessively the type of food that stimulates it (bitter foods such as coffee, bread, sugar, etc), the steam/energy is bound to explode upwards like a geyser and affect the upper body, the brain, the mind, and the heart.
Agni in Sanskrit means Fire, and it is also the name for the Vedic fire god of Hinduism. Interestingly, the fire in the Belly is called Agni, AND medo agni (the agni for the head) governs the intellect. We realise there than the ancient traditions and medicines knew that the fire of our intellect and the fire of our digestion were directly connected. Agni is described as the fire that warms, ages, burns and digests food.
Agni was viewed as the life force in a healthy body, the power to digest foods, and innate in food. In Ayurveda it is said that “the amount of Agni determines the state of health” (Fleischman).
To affect the brain, we focus on changing the belly: change the bacteria in the intestines and you change how people think!
The SI can then regulate the whole body through the blood vessels and converts food taken in and digested through the stomach and spleen into blood, absorbing the food as nutrition. Picture that what you eat is not part of your body until it has passed through the intestinal walls. Your whole digestive system from mouth to anus is NOT the inside of your body in a way, which is why certain people can eat the healthiest most nutritious diet and still feel tired and deficient: their intestines are too weak to absorb the nutrients.
The Small Intestine and peristalsis:
The food we ingest enters one end of our SI and gets twisted, pushed, turned, squeezed and cooked. It goes backwards and forwards, creating pressure in the Small Intestine. It breaks down as it goes from one layer to another. By the time it gets to the other hand of our SI, it is molecular, which means small enough to be sucked into the blood through the intestinal walls.
Picture a weak SI as cold/blue/stiff… like this water slide!
Kyo (under-active) SI:
Insufficient blood flow (caused by constriction of blood vessels), irregularities in the menstrual cycle, feeling cold (poor circulation in the legs).
When SI kyo patient receive shiatsu they will comment that warmth comes to their legs.
Hernia of the intervertebral disk (slipped disk) misalignment of L1-2 (which can also be caused by Bladder or Lung kyo)
No thinking, no connecting thoughts together, sore shoulders
The SI function creates pressure.
If you lack the functioning of the SI you are lacking the functioning of the brain: nothing connects. If it’s over functioning you have too much pressure in the belly and in the brain.
The pressure in the SI creates the pressure in the Heart: red blood that rises up to the Heart, and once it reaches the Heart it makes it contract and when the blue blood hit the HT it makes it expand.
So we think that the belly makes the heart beat more than the heart beating makes the blood circulate.
The worst food for our small intestine is bread! The yeast tends to kill the bacteria at the end of the intestine. If you do have bread, make sure that it is of good quality.
Drinking all the time or drinking cold water is also one of the reasons for SI problems.
Tip: When bruised somewhere on the body (e.g. arm or leg), applying pressure on the SI meridian opposite the bruise will help make it disappear (immediately after being bruised is best).