Why You May Be Angry in Spring (Many People Are)
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the element associated with Spring is Wood and the organs associated with Spring are Liver and Gallbladder. But what does this mean for you?
The element Wood represents growth, renewal, newness and freshness. Wood energy brings forth new growth, pushes new grass through the snow, producing new life. Like cells in green plants convert energy from sunlight into carbohydrates through photosynthesis to grow, we have a similar opportunity to transform in Spring.
We typically use January 1st to set intentions, create goals and make resolutions. Although its great to 'plant the seeds' of intent in Winter, it's not until Spring time that we can truly get the internal impetus to see things through. I always re-visit my yearly intentions in Spring time to ensure they are still important, if I am on track to achieving them and how can I change course (if at all) to make it happen. The Liver and Gallbladder energy help me decide.
The Liver’s major functions are in the metabolic processes of the body. It receives blood with nutrients from the digestive organs and the many cells of the liver accept and filter this blood. It' a sorting centre deciding which nutrients are going to be stored, which are going to be processed and which eliminated.
Extra bile is stored in the Gallbladder and thats the second organ associated with the Spring season and the Wood element. Bile helps the small intestine further break down and absorb fats.
Now let's look at the Liver and Gallbladder through a different lens.
The Liver, in the Five Element Theory, is a Yin organ of foresight, vision and planning. It is the “general of an army.". The Liver regulates the volume of blood and Qi of the body and plans all the body’s functions by directing Qi to all its parts. The Liver harmonises the Qi and blood of the whole body, resulting in good vision, healthy menstruation, overall emotional balance, flexibility and decisiveness. When the Liver is out of balance, one is likely to experience migraine headaches muscle cramps and weakness, poor vision, menstrual problems, dry hair and skin, anger, jealousy, agitation.
The Gallbladder is Yang in nature. It stores and secretes bile, which assists the Spleen, Stomach, Small Intestine, and Large Intestine in the process of digestion. Emotionally, it corresponds to courage and decision-making. The Liver makes plans and the Gallbladder takes initiative and executes them. When the Gallbladder is out of balance, this could show up as timidity or indecisiveness in the case of deficiency, or as recklessness and bullheadedness in the case of excess.
During Spring, the Liver and Gallbladder are naturally active and have a tendency towards excess. At this time of year you might find yourself somewhat congested internally. Liver-excess symptoms show themselves in form of allergies, irritability, restlessness, anger and indecision.
A diet in the Spring season, or anytime Wood excess needs to be balanced, are sour foods and plenty of green vegetables. All this helps to shift excess congestion and sluggishness of the winter season.
Since Liver's job is to process impurities during digestion, eating sour foods helps to purify the liver, cleaning and clearing the liver, this includes things like Lemons (i.e. lemon water first thing in the morning) and Sauerkraut. Your Spring meals should be the lightest and smallest of the year and anything that puts extra effort on your Liver should be avoided - such as alcohol, coffee, sugar, fats and chemicals.
A healthy Wood element creates a person who is comfortable in her own skin and is sure of her decisions and actions, speaking up about her needs. A healthy Wood person also knows when to relax and let go, choosing to go with the flow. Whenever there is a problem she decides what needs to do and puts thoughts and words into action.
Although Spring should be jolly and buoyant, as leaves turn green and flowers bloom and the weather gets warmer (supposed to at least, unless you live in the UK then you have to brace yourself for a surprise cold attack in April:), it can also result in a time of confusion and frustration. Navigating transitions is a skill and it's something I am personally still working on.
Spring is a time of year when I find myself off centre and dealing with emotions which are so alien to me. So this is the time when my yoga practice is extra important as a grounding tool, to keep my body resilient and my emotions calm and centred.
I have been working hard to create a course for you my lovely friends, which can offer tools keep your Mind, Body and Spirit nourished and flourishing - Cultivating Resilience in Mind & Body is now complete!
Check it out, it is £19.99 for the whole course for a short time (full price £24.99).
This course contains 3 parts:
- 7 Video/Audio content on Breath. Using various techniques to help harmonise imbalances in digestion and nervous system. Each class is explained and guided to help with anxiety, sleeping issues, digestion, to help energise the body and more!
- 7 Videos on Body. Using a combination of Yin style restorative classes and Vinyasa style movements to help move stagnation and bring body into balance. Expect functional techniques to calm your nerves and nourish your body. This sections also contains 2 desk yoga videos.
- 7 Video/Audio content on Mind & Emotions. This sections is designed to feed your mind and settle your emotions. It contains mostly short and one longer meditation, as well dreamy and relaxing Yoga Nidra.
I poured a lot of love and care into this course and I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful in this transitional period.
The Yoke Wellness Ambassador,
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