The Wood Element
Chinese Medicine & The Five Elements
Like the Spring winds that spread the seeds from the blossoming flowers so that more growth may occur, the Wood element represents all that is moving, developing and outwardly expanding. A tree is firmly rooted into the earth yet at the same time flexible, with its swaying branches carving their unique path to the heavens, allowing its fresh green leaves to reach for the sun and be rustled by the winds of change.
It is in this phase of the Chinese Wu Xing cycle that the seeds of creativity that came into being in its Mother element Water, can come into fruition. Whilst Water generates the ideas, it is the energy of Wood that propels these ideas forward and brings them in being. Wood represents movement and action and arousal of the mind; like waking up from the darkness and hibernation of Winter into the fresh air of Spring, its representative season. It is in this stage of any project that the spirit of the pioneer is most alive, creating entrepreneurial drive and visionary ideas.
Learn about how to balance each of the 5 Elements, along with inspirational yoga and mindfulness practices for each element – In My Element: Yin yoga sequences guiding you through the Chinese 5 elements.
The Wood element and the Liver
Just like the sinews of an old oak tree, the Wood element governs the tendons and ligaments in the body via its Yin organ the Liver. Responsible for the tempering of Qi within the blood that it stores and distributes, the Liver can be compared to a pressure cooker, which to function properly needs regulating. This pressure is essential in life to propel us forward, to drive vision and direction with the courage of conviction. However, without the correct amount of pressure being released from whatever plan its cooking, this cooker is prone to angrily explode! Excess pressure can manifest as an accumulation of tension in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, combined with feelings of impatience, irritability and digestive problems, due to its close relationship with the Spleen.
The Liver’s relationship with the Earth organ the Spleen is paramount to the balance of health within the body. The Spleen extracts the nutritive essence from the food that we eat and then with the help of the Liver propels it upwards to join the Qi gathered by the Lungs in the chest.
The Wood element and the Gallbladder
The paired Yang organ of the Wood element is the Gallbladder. Responsible for the storing of bile created by the surplus blood and Qi of the Liver, and for the secretion of this bile to aid the Stomach and Intestines in assimilation and elimination.
The Gallbladder is connected to our ability to make clear and proper judgement and to be bold and decisive in our decision making. The Gallbladder assists the Liver in the making correct judgement, which the Liver will then put into action. Common symptoms of an imbalanced Gallbladder can be; neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, diminished vision in both a physical and mental sense and either the inability to follow through with decisions or the tendency to make poor or rash judgments that aren’t thought through.
To read all about the next element in the cycle, Fire, click here.
In My Element:
Discover inspirational and informed ways to use 5 Element theory in your yoga and mindfulness practices with the new book from Flow Publications.
Whether you’re a yoga practitioner who wants to deepen their understanding of their body and mind, or a yoga teacher looking for class inspiration, this beautiful book has something for every-body and every mind. Exploring the poetry of the 5 Elements through the language of Yin yoga and meditation, In My Element, serves as a portal to finding a more harmonious place within this life.