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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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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

A beautiful scene from the time when I was living in Germany came to me recently as I pondered the idea of trusting the process of life. I was sitting out on the balcony of the apartment we were renting on a marvelous spring day just watching the world go by.  Our place was at a 90 degree angle to the main part of the landlord’s house and thus in plain view of my spot in the sun.  What captured my attention was a mother bird and her four offspring perched on the edge of my landlord’s roof.  It appeared that it was ‘flight day’ – the time had come for these little winged creatures to learn to fly.  I watched in amazement as the mom jumped from the roof, flew in a circle and returned to her children, as if to say, “This is how you do it. Now YOU go.”  Time and again she repeated the short circular flight.  Each time the babies watched, looked as if they were going to follow, and would then retreat.  “This, Mom, is just a bit too scary”, they seemed to be saying.  “We are just fine here watching you.”  By this time I was totally intrigued.   

And then, one by one, something shifted within the little birds.  And one by one, they indeed took their leaps of faith.  I could almost hear them gleefully declaring their victory over their fears as they trusted their wings and flew, then returning to the safety of the rooftop once again. I felt quite privileged to have witnessed their maiden voyages.

The reason this was so meaningful to me just now is that in yoga class this week we were celebrating the gifts of our root chakra (Muladhara):  security, centeredness, and stability.  What occurred to me is that unless we are fully stable, we will not be able to fully push off into the next adventure of our lives.  If our feet are on shaky ground, there is no foundation from which to launch.  Or, in the other extreme, if we are so rooted to our current location that we find ourselves feeling stuck, there will be no progressing forward either.  

The perfect pairing for trusting in the process of life is a firm foundation and wings ready to soar.  

Here is a link a short meditation with this intention in mind should you feel inspired to launch into the next adventure of your journey.

AFFIRMATION:  Feet grounded, wings ready for flight, I soar now into the process of trusting life.

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