• Alex Fortina

WOOD ELEMENT

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

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.

 

Wood is the first season of the year that represents youth. As a daytime analogy, spring is the morning. It is a new beginning and the time of the year to rise early at dawn when the air is at its purest (even in cities), everything is fresh, alive, active and abundant. The forces of nature are at work. The trees and flowers are blossoming; everything explodes with life since spring has this ascending and active nature. Plants break through the ground, animals are born, and it’s a time of dramatic shift and change.

The sight of green colour from young plants nourishes our soul through the eyes, which results in a decrease in appetite and the body naturally cleansing itself.

For us individuals, it’s a powerful moment for healing, except if you’re not ready for it. Like a tree that has weak roots (=poor structural integrity) and would see its branches break from not being able to support the new weight of blossoming flowers and leaves. It’s the time to cleanse ourselves from excessive desire, dissatisfaction, impatience and anger. Our vision becomes clearer and we see things with a new angle. Our wishes, ideas, dreams of having this potential in us can bubble up into reality. If you have a positive thought of what direction you want your life to go, you have the potential at this time of the year where to make it happen. Just like getting up early and doing exercise/yoga/meditation/cold shower can set us up for the rest of the day, what we do in springtime can set us up for the rest of the year!

Wood is about twisting, flexibility (it governs joints and tendons of the body). If you are flexible you can stay steady. To stay steady you have to keep adapting to the problem.

 

The Gallbladder (GB) represents the rules, the minister, the defence mechanism, the army, the police, the orders, balance, angles, stress, violence, etc. Running along the entire side body (from temples, to ribs, to hips, to side of the legs, side of the neck, side of the skull, and temples), the Gallbladder meridian is the longest meridian. If your GB is what we call “overactive” (too much energy), you will get lines/wrinkles on the sides of the head.

Gallbladder has to do with irritability and in the extreme case it can turn quickly into rage. Irritable means being rigid (structurally AND mentally), installing rules and dictating how things should be.

When a person gets cranky, it usually just comes and goes. Even though the Gallbladder organ is small, it’s the longest meridian of the body.

The Liver is like the king in our body. It sets a standard for the entire functioning of the body and mind (sight, perception and direction). The Liver is about planning ahead: it’s the King who is planning what to do next. Whereas the Gallbladder makes it happen (like the minister doing what the king orders, or the police applying the law).

Addiction comes from the Liver!

 

SPRING FOODS

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR LIVER?

Stay away from rich & fatty foods

Most civilisations fasted during springtime. It’s the right time of the year to cleanse the body of the excess accumulated during autumn and winter (fats and heavier foods intake).

Foods recommended: leafy greens, young plants, sprouts, and brown rice (eat those for a few days only in order to cleanse the liver). Foods to avoid: buckwheat, salty foods, strong miso, heavy protein foods, deep fried foods, animal products.

Stay away from rich & fatty foods

Most civilisations fasted during springtime. It’s the right time of the year to cleanse the body of the excess accumulated during autumn and winter (fats and heavier foods intake).

Foods recommended: leafy greens, young plants, sprouts, and brown rice (eat those for a few days only in order to cleanse the liver). Foods to avoid: buckwheat, salty foods, strong miso, heavy protein foods, deep fried foods, animal products.

Cooking method for spring: shorter time & higher temperature. If oil is used, quick high-temperature sauté method is appropriate. If cooked in water, light steaming or quick simmering is best.

 

SIDES & INNER LEG

Revolved side angle stretch (just above) is one of the best poses for our Gallbladder, opening the entire pathway, but also for the Liver (twisting the body/spine).

Strengthening the sides is as important as stretching them: side plank is great for that!

We can use yoga therapy to access these more difficult asanas. Anything that opens your sides will help release the GB energy and facilitate all twisting poses.

Lotus is mainly to do with the Liver and GB (the outer part of the hip). Use therapy exercises that open the hips, work the inner leg and stretches the outer hip to access full lotus pose.

“Two men went to jail, one committed suicide, the other one came out enlightened”. Master Oki

 

WOOD ATTRIBUTES

The wood element gives us direction and purpose in life (the eyes, where we always look, are governed by the liver), and it is about setting new standards.

GB has to do with irritability: being rigid (mentally and physically), installing rules and dictating how things should be. Rules can be good as they help us for guidance, but too many rules restrain us.

Painful joints: All joints throughout the body are governed by the Liver and GB. Lines on the sides of forehead (where GB meridian runs) and/or one line between eyebrows (“anger line”).

Power, drive, vision, achievement are attributes of a strong liver. Very white and clear eyes are a sign of very good liver & gallbladder.

 

LIVER ASANAS

  1. Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

  2. Revolved Half moon & half moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

  3. Half Lord of the fishes (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)

  4. Revolved side angle (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)

  5. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana I)

 

GALLBLADDER ASANAS

  1. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)

  2. Fish hook

  3. Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

  4. Cow face pose (Gomukhasana)

  5. Horse face pose (Vatayanasana)

  6. Visvamitrasana

ACUPRESSURE POSES

  1. Side crow (legs press on GB 31- 33)

  2. Forward fold wide stance (hold LIV 3 with thumbs – betweeb 1st & 2nd toes)

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