Yoga & Beauty Tips
The Wood Element
Series 3 of 5 on The Five Elements
by Cathy Keenan
are moving into our 3rd article which brings us to the Wood element (as
it pertains in Chinese Medicine). I think this is a fitting time symbolically
because Wood is associated with vision, imagination and dreams. For many
people the beginning of a new year marks a time of reflection and a creation
of new intentions and resolutions for the year to come.
The Wood element is associated with the Liver (and Gallbladder) and connected
to the Spring season. In ancient China (and many other places on the planet)
people observed that the environment changed during the seasons and took
note of how animals, plants and the earth adapted themselves accordingly
to live more in balance with the cycles of nature. The human body was
seen as a miniature reflection of the cosmos. An entire universe working
inside of us. We too have seasons that cycle through. Sometimes we have
an exuberant amount of energy like the summer and sometimes we need to
rest and recharge like the winter.
Wood is associated with Spring because it is a time of growth, expansion
and buoyancy. Like the seed that has been lying dormant in the earth during
winter conserving its reserves, in springtime it bounds forward with new
intent to bring life to our planet. The wood element is about renewal,
awakening and rebirth. The spirit of the Liver helps us organize and coordinate
our ideas and visions into actions and change. The Liver is in charge
of the smooth flow of Qi (vital energy) (emotional/physical) and the emotion
associated is anger. When we allow our anger/frustration to go unexpressed
we stagnate and are unable to move forward. This inability to properly
express oneself can manifest as either being under assertive or overly
aggressive, headaches/migraines, menstrual and/or gynaecological issues,
PMS, inability to adapt to change, depression.
The virtue of Wood is forgiveness and benevolence which is the opposite
of anger unexpressed. Wood allows us to be well rooted in the past, to
stand tall in the present and have the vision and foresight to move ahead
in the future.
Tapping into the energy of spring (even if it's the middle of winter)
encourages us to stay in touch with our creativity. imagination and dreams.
We can look to the trees for a lesson in standing tall by staying rooted,
yielding to the winds of life by being flexible and agile and keeping
our gaze upward and forward so we don't lose sight of our life true purpose.
The winds of Life can change unexpectedly and our flexibility can be a
strength when needed.
In your (yin) yoga practice this month try approaching your practice with
a sense of curiosity and playfulness. Give yourself permission to experiment
with new and different postures or approaches to your practice. Try practicing
with music, or with your eyes closed, chant, light a candle, try a new
posture, do more twists (great for the liver) and incorporate more balance
postures as you reflect on the strength and grace of the Wood element.
Try spending more time outdoors (well dressed of course) and observe the
trees in your neighbourhood. Watch how they move and sway with the winds.
May the year fill you with creativity and vision. May you stay well grounded
as you grow and expand in all directions and may you practice being flexible
in your body, mind and spirit.
Cathy Keenan teaches Yin Yoga on Wednesday nights at the Danforth studio
at 7:10pm. She is co-teaching the 30 Hour Yin Yoga Teacher training with
Cynthia Funk in March 2011.
join Cathy and musician Darren Hall for 5 Yin Yoga workshops celebrating
the 5 elements over the next 5 months to live music and candlelight.
1. Wednesday November 17, 7-10pm – Metal element
2. Sunday December 12, 4:30-6:30pm – Water element
3. Sunday January 16, 4:30-6:30pm – Wood element
4. Sunday February 6, 5:00-7:00pm – Fire element
5. Sunday February 27, 4:30-6:30pm – Earth element
all Cathy's articles
The Metal Element ~ Article Series
1 of 5 on The Five Elements by Cathy Keenan
The Water Element ~ Article Series
2 of 5 on The Five Elements by Cathy Keenan
The Wood Element ~ Article Series
3 of 5 on The Five Elements by Cathy Keenan
The Fire Element ~ Article Series
4 of 5 on The Five Elements by Cathy Keenan
The Earth Element ~ Article Series
5 of 5 on The Five Elements by Cathy Keenan
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