As we discussed last month, Spring not only brings with it the ability to plan and organize, as the time of year of Liver/Gallbladder Energy. But now is the time to lighten the load on these organs by consuming more of the fresh green (and sour) foods that are in season. One of the best things about these foods being in season, is that they can also be foraged and free. As long as you have access to an organic wild meadow, you can find dandelion greens, chickweed and violets everywhere you look!
The taste associated with the springtime is sour, but beware as too much of this flavor can be injurious to the liver and can “harden” your soft tissue - think skin, muscles and tendons. Because lemons are a whole food, they are safe and it is much more difficult to "overdose" on whole foods. Allow your tongue to tell you how much is too much. Keep an eye out for Sorrel too, either in your organic meadows or at the farmer’s market. This sour plant is delicious in salads. Mix all of these greens together and make a simple salad dressing of 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 clove garlic & 1 tbsp olive oil.
Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is another sour plant that is best consumed as a tea. Lemon Balm is not only sour, but it calms the nervous system and so can address the dominant emotion of the season, Anger. Anger, when not released appropriately, can often come out in other ways - through grief, whining or at its worst, violence - ahimsa. Anger is a potent emotion. (Read my latest blog post on one of my first yoga experiences releasing anger). Read below for more information on other ways wood energy may be impacting you this spring and more practices to support you.
Liver Energy Governs the Muscles & Tendons: Anger constricts Liver Energy (Qi or Prana) which can show up as tension in the throat, solar plexus, back of the neck, the jaw and the hips. (Anyone have tension in any of these areas?) Wood Energy which gives us the energy to move, appropriately, governs the muscles and the tendons.
Healthy muscles permit movement; regular movement keeps your muscles healthy. In other words Wood energy allows for movement and regular movement keeps Wood energy healthy. When we do not get regular exercise, our wood energy is constricted. Ultimately, we experience chronic stagnation, muscle soreness and fatigue. Conversely, regular exercise moves energy and blood through the muscles and tendons, eliminating stagnation and enhancing vitality. The healthiness of our muscles is a good indicator of the balance of our Wood energies. Thomas Edison said, “Great ideas originate in the muscles.” Healthy Wood energies also allow for the flow of creative ideas. Visit Our Asana Index for a simple sequence to balance Liver & Gallbladder Energy. Visit our Download Store to access hundreds of practices from Beginner to Advanced!
Soften Your Gaze to See The Bigger Vision: Because the Liver governs the eyes and the ability to see and plan, a practice which can be beneficial during the spring time is the practice of using soft eyes called Wide Angle Vision. Think about when you are angry or even when you are just living your day to day life - working on the computer, focusing on your family or driving. Most of the activity we do requires hardening our eyes. This practice of softening our eyes is often overlooked - even in our yoga practice!
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes a practice called Trataka, where you set your gaze upon a candle and let the eyes soften their focus. A similar practice is to sit in nature and let the eyes be open but completely relaxed. Do not focus on any one thing. Let the visual world come in rather than reaching out and grabbing it. This is a receptive mode of synthesizing rather than analyzing. The visionary uses soft eyes to see the entire field of vision.
Yoga for Relief from Neck & Shoulder Pain: Many classes available in our store help ease tension in the muscles. Try one specifically designed to relieve neck and shoulder pain with Experienced Yoga Teacher, Lillah Schwartz. View a Sample and Download this Class Now!
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