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Ahhhh-choo!!

GRRRRR…

Owwww….

These are a few of the sounds you may be making as we move into Spring.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) this is the season of the Liver.  If you are experiencing any of the issues below, though they can occur at any time of year, they may be more pronounced as we move into this time frame.

Headaches/ body aches and pains:  In TCM language, we would call this STAGNATION SYMPTOMS – pain that feels like pressure, tightness or restriction.

Muscle Stiffness: The Liver and its associated system, the Gallbladder (the Yin and the Yang) bring nourishment to the body’s connective tissue including tendons, muscles and ligaments. If you are feeling more tension and tightness this is often believed to be arthritic symtoms when it could well be a sign of Liver imbalance. These feelings may feel exaggerated as we move into spring.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve- more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.

Irritation/Frustration: These two emotions are associated Gallbladder imbalances and go hand-in-hand with the physical stagnation that can take place causing a feeling of ‘stuck-ness.’ You may feel yourself clenching your jaws more than normal, stiffness in the shoulder muscles, etc.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve-  more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.  The Gallbladder kicks in with the feelings of frustration.

Digestive upsets: For our digestive system to run smoothly, the Liver needs to maintain a balanced flow and consistent movement throughout the body. Add to this the brain-gut connection and if you are more more stressed out than usual, the digestive function takes a hit as well.  KEY HERE:  Don’t eat when you are angry or upset – turn OFF the TV (especially if you are watching the news).

Vision/Eye imbalances:  The sense organ relating to the Liver is the eyes.  Any issue here is typically attributed at least in part to a Liver imbalance. This includes poor vision as well as eye pain and fatigue and dry eyes.

Acupressure can come to the rescue in many of these imbalances. There are two key points that can be used to address  many of the issues listed above. They are LV (Liver) 3 and LI (Large Intestine) 4 and are referred to as the ‘Four Gates’.

LV (LIVER) 3:  located on foot between first and second toes in front of bone convergence. This is the source point of the Liver meridian – like a ‘hub’ – where primordial qi (source of life) from particular organs gathers to be distributed throughout the rest of the body.  This is a ‘go-to’ point any time of year to release stagnation throughout the body and because of it’s connection with spring, even more so now. Press often and firmly.:)

LI (LARGE INTESTINE ) 4: located in the webbing between the thumb and index finger, with pressure slightly up underneath bone of index finger. (Do not use when pregnant – can induce labor.)This point is helpful for allergies, headaches, hay fever, and general pain in upper body.

daisy-ladybug

Some other tips for a healthy Liver:

* Consider a cleanse (check with your doctor) or at least add sipping lemon water to your schedule every morning and even throughout the day.  Lemon helps to not only cleanse our system and remove toxins, it also alkalizes the body, a key component of good health.

* Limit intake of unhealthy fats as this puts a lot of stress on both the liver and the gallbladder.

* Increase consumption of fresh leafy greens, fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) – and organic whenever possible.  Also fruits that are high in fiber such as apples and pears.

* Dandelion tea would also be a nice addition as it helps to detox the body and promote bile production.

* STRETCH & BREATHE!! Consider practicing yoga & meditation to release pent up anger and frustration. (Click here for class schedule or to learn more about sage butterfly yoga.) Also, get out in the fresh air and nature daily even for a few minutes to ground and refresh your spirit.

* Do your best to not SIT too much. This not only affects our digestive system, but also our lymph system.  If you are in a desk job and/or have a long commute or many hours in your car, schedule some time every hour to stand up and move around. This is absolutely essential for the health of our whole being – not just the liver.

****  And lastly, and perhaps most importantly (in any season), stop long enough several times a day to notice the miracles within and around you – everything from the blossoming of the trees (and your ability to see them), to the sound of the birds singing (and your ability to hear them) and your heart beating and connecting you to this amazing gift of Life.  Now. And now. And now…

Chakra Balancing Meditation to Release Feelings of Anger

We can hold anger in any of our energy fields for various reasons, for instance, in our throat chakra if we feel unheard or stuck as far as self-expression. Or in our heart chakra if we are having a difficult time either giving or receiving love. Each of the fields can become blocked due to these emotional states. This meditation will help to alleviate the stagnation and invite in a free flow of energy from root to crown.

Chakra Balancing to Release Anger

guru-allchakras

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When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that  the general population is experiencing a Spleen imbalance.  Do you agree?  Well, let me elaborate…

Among other tasks, the Spleen (Spleen/Pancreas) in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is the organ system that processes and transports the energy of the food we eat to create Qi (energy) and blood, thereby nourishing the whole body. It purifies  and  manufactures the blood and keeps it  inside the vessels. (If you bruise easily or have bleeding gums, blood in stool, etc this would indicate an imbalance in the Spleen arena.) and in a healthy state, prevents organ prolapse.

When out of balance from an emotional perspective there is WORRY. (Anyone out there relate to worry??) One of the primary functions of the Spleen (along with it’s paired organ, the Stomach) is digestion – not just of food, but also the endless stream of thoughts and outside interactions and distractions that we ‘digest’ every day. An imbalance leads to a sense of not having enough… be that of love, food, money or any other commodity, hence, the tendency to look outside of oneself  to alleviate this sense of lack. Just ONE more cookie… ONE more drink…. ONE more pair of shoes…

And where this is also becoming blatantly apparent is in our desire to fulfill relationship connections – by looking to the outside world through digital technology. Endless texting, emailing, Facebooking (is that a word?) is shown to be actually ‘rewiring’ our brain and in so doing, diminishing our capacity to focus.

When we realize that this kind of ‘satisfaction’ will never be quelled by outside sources and that a true sense of peace and inner fulfillment can only come from within, this is a huge first step to recovering balance.

There are a few things that we can do to proactively initiate this process. Acupressure, sound (toning) and meditation are highly recommended for ushering in equilibrium. I will share some ideas that you may wish to include in your daily ‘repertoire’ of activities.

ACUPRESSURE:

This is such a simple, powerful practice that opens pools of energy located just under the surface of the skin, inviting a more elegant flow of Qi (energy) through the channels of our body.

Here is a point that can bring balance to the Spleen: SP 4 “Grandparent/Grandchild”
Located on the arch of the foot in the dip below the first metatarsal bone, about one thumb’s width from the ball of the foot.

This is a key point in alleviating worry as well as indigestion (another ‘symptom’ of worry) and foot cramps. Using the acronym “BPI” (breath, pressure, intention) press gently and then with increasing pressure as you breathe deeply with full awareness on the point. Hold for between 1 and 3 minutes. (This point can also be accessed by rubbing the ball of the opposite foot or your heel on the area – massaging back and forth.)

spleen4

SOUND:

We are vibratory Beings. The healing capabilities of sound are simple, non-invasive and powerful. As Jonathon Goldman, wonderful author, musician and sound healer states, “Frequency plus Intention equals Healing”.

The sound of ‘HU’ (sounds like ‘who’) is the Taoist Healing Sound for the Spleen. To practice this I suggest holding the hands gently under the ribs on the left side of the body (where the spleen is housed), breathing in and exhaling to the sound of ‘HU’ several times. Your intention can be around balance and the knowledge that we find our true feelings of fulfillment and peace of mind inside ourselves. Perhaps affirm, “Everything I need comes from within. I am safe.”

MEDITATION:

I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of slowing down and taking the time to go within. I believe many people who would LIKE to meditate don’t because they think they need to spend at least 30 minutes or more a day in lotus position, eyes closed and quarantined from the outside world.

While I do agree that being alone in a quiet place and having the ability to close your eyes is highly recommended, even a five minute ‘retreat’ to this inner world can do wonders for us, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The other ‘excuse’ I hear most often, is “I don’t know how to meditate” Or “I can’t turn off my mind.” Well, the National Science Foundation reports that our brains produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day or more (the majority of these thoughts being the SAME ONES), so naturally it is a learned process to still the mind. Stilling the mind, however, doesn’t mean there will not be thoughts. It’s what we do with them. When a stray idea enters the realm of your meditation, rather than become frustrated, acknowledge it and come back to center.

One of the easiest meditations I have found is HAMSA (Sanskrit mantra that relates to the sound of the breath: ‘Ham” on the inhale – sounds like ‘hum’, and “Sa” on the exhale.) Allowing your belly to expand on the in breath to the sound of Ham… and contract on the out breath to the sound of Sa… feel the flow of the breath entering and leaving your body, smooth, deep and complete. Even just a couple of minutes of this can tell your adrenals that ‘all is well’ and make your spleen happy, too. (And by the way, leave your phone in the off position – at least for this short duration. It gets easier.)

So next time you are feeling ’emotional hunger pangs’ whether for actual food or some other type of gratification, bring awareness to the amazing organ of the Spleen that works tirelessly to instill balance and nurturing in our lives. You are worth the effort.

Wishing you health, contentment and an overall sense of Well-Being.
Namasté.
Maureen

To see the World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…
– William Blake

A recent yoga class I shared with my beautiful students centered on the root chakra (Muladhara) and all the gifts it offers when we bring this field into balance.  This chakra represents stability, security and a knowing that all of our needs are met.  It invites us to fully realize our connection to Mother Earth and in so doing, the many beautiful  ways she shares her abundance with us on a daily basis. When we take the time to pause and realize the enormity of these gifts, we allow ourselves to become one with them… Imagine the endless waves rolling in on a beach, the  the countless stars in a night sky, the amazing vegetation that feeds and heals us… All around us this ‘message of abundance’ – and key here is that we are ONE WITH THAT.  When we truly appreciate and feel that unity, abundance  will support us in our own lives in beautiful ways.

Here is a short meditation to usher you into that unity with the gifts from our dear Mother Earth.

Picture yourself in a beautiful lush green valley under the most magnificent tree… It’s autumn and  the fall sun is shining softly, warming you.  As you lie here, feel the connection between your body and Mother Earth.  With every breath you become one WITH this living, breathing planet… Feel it in every cell of your being – connecting not only to the earth itself but to the abundance she offers. Allow every sense to be awakened now as you feel the sturdy foundation beneath you, as you inhale the crispness in the fall air, as you hear the sound of the birds above you in the trees, as you watch amazing cloud formations drift across deep blue skies…  Allow her to cradle you, support you and lavish her gifts upon you.  Continue to breathe now, gently and fully, and feel yourself become one with this loving support with every inhale and exhale.  United.

AFFIRMATION:  With each and every breath, the abundance of Mother Earth grounds and supports me.

frontyardtrees2

When we are feeling secure and grounded we are able to come in to movement, access the flow of our lives and move forward with purpose. When we are fearful, we have a tendency to resist what is which leads only to stagnation and more fear.

In the video below I would like to introduce you to a yoga flow that encourages
STABILITY… MOVEMENT… AND BALANCE.

Then we we will come into a short meditation around a Sanskrit mantra from Deepak Chopra’s ‘Seven Spiritual Laws for Success’: OM DAKSHAM NAMAH. This mantra inspires maximal reward for minimal effort meaning, when we are truly in the flow of our soul purpose, life seems to carry us along in its current. Again, when we are resisting, we push the river and the struggle ensues.

When we are living from our heart – sharing the unique gifts we have each come here to share, it will be an experience of flow and ease.

Affirmation: Stable and in the flow, I embrace my soul purpose.

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