Best Yin yoga poses for Spring and the Wood Element
Wake up stagnant Wood element energy with Spring Yin
Spring Yin is all about harmonising the element that drives you forward again in life after the retreating energy of the Winter, the Wood element. In Chinese Medicine, the Wood element represents new beginnings, drive and fresh ideas. However, after the passivity of Winter, this energy can sometimes be left somewhat stagnant and need some encouragement to come out of hibernation. The best yin yoga poses for Spring will help you to move forward again into the longer and brighter days with a spring in your step. Yin yoga poses for the Wood element invite us to investigate the balance between the desire to move and create, with the need to still and reflect.
See also Water Element Yin Yoga Sequence
Decompress and temper the flow of your emotions
Conversely, if you’re someone who finds it hard to put the breaks on in life, particularly in your working life, then your Wood element may need calming. The Wood element governs the tendons and ligaments in the body via the energy of The Liver. Responsible for the tempering of Qi within the blood that it stores and distributes, we can compare The Liver to a pressure cooker, which to function properly needs its valves regulating.
The best yin yoga poses for spring help to soothe pent up emotions of anger and frustration, as harmonised Liver energy creates a smooth and even flow of emotions in our body. Excess Wood energy can manifest as an accumulation of tension in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, combined with feelings of impatience and irritability. So work on cultivating acceptance of whatever emotions are arising in your Spring Yin practice and softening into them the best you can.
Read more about The 5 Elements – Wood Element
Find the correct decision to put into action
The paired Yang organ of the Wood element is The Gallbladder. 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 making correct judgements, 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. Be kind to yourself in your Spring Yin poses, bringing gentle awareness to any inner conflicts that may be arising. And from this held place of loving-kindness, clarity for the path ahead can often open up before you.
The Liver meridian
Starting on the top of the big toe, the Liver meridian runs up the inner aspect of the leg just in front of the Kidney meridian. Entering into the torso at the groin. It then proceeds to connect with the Wood element’s pertaining organs of the liver and gallbladder, before connecting with the lungs. Continuing up the throat the Liver meridian circles the lips and moves into the corner of the eyes and across the cheeks and forehead.
The Gallbladder meridian
The Gallbladder meridian travels from the outer corner of the eye, where one branch weaves back and forth along the side of the face before curving around behind the ear and down into the shoulder. This branch then continues down through the side body to the outer hips. The internal branch journeys from the cheek, down the neck and through the chest to meet the liver and gallbladder, to then converge at the outer hip. Here, the Gallbladder meridian runs down the outer leg and knee and ends at the fourth toe.
For inspirational Yin yoga sequence ideas take a look at – In My Element: Yin yoga sequences guiding you through the Chinese Five Elements
The best Yin yoga poses for Spring and the Wood Element
Figure of Four Pose
This pose creates a stretch across the buttocks and lower back and in the hip rotator muscles buried deep within the buttocks.
Depending on how close to your groin your feet are, you will access a stretch in your inner and outer hips and thighs and across your lower back. A good option as an opening pose in your practice to ground and let go.
This pose targets deep into the buttocks of the front leg and opens the hip flexor area in the front of the groin on the back leg. It’s paramount that attention is paid to keeping the front knee comfortable and safe in Swan.
This is a safer alternative to Swan pose for those with knee issues, which allows the front shin to move freely without counter-indications, whilst still granting a deep stretch into the front leg buttocks and outer hip. The Liver meridian in the front inner thigh may also be stimulated.
A deep stretch for the outer hips and lower back, which works with the Gallbladder meridian. Many leg variations can be taken depending on the anatomy of your hips.
All of the variations of Dragon Pose work intensely with the Wood meridians. Higher up variations tend to work more into the back leg and Liver meridian, whilst the lower versions often stimulate the Gallbladder meridian.
A spinal twist, which also targets the outer hips, IT band and side ribs. Play about with the position of your knees and extended arm in this pose and with whether you want your knees grounded and shoulder lifted or vice versa.
This pose opens up the whole sideline of the body and creates a fantastic sensation of space from the IT band, through the side waist and ribs to up the back of the arms. Be careful not to create pinching in your shoulders through compression with your arm placement.
For more insights into how to use the Elements in your Yin yoga practice, check out the new book from Flow Publications – In My Element: Yin yoga sequences guiding you through the Chinese Five Elements – Head over to Amazon to take a peek inside now.