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A Vibrational Yin Sequence in Spring to Support TCM Liver Health

Updated: Apr 29


In the Northern Hemisphere March 20th marked the astronomical beginning of spring. For nature lovers that live in the North this date celebrated a shift from the cold darkness of winter to warmer greener days. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) spring is viewed as a time of renewal, germination and development. This Vibrational Yin sequence is designed to regulate the liver, the organ most associated with spring in TCM. The liver in Chinese medicine refers to more than just the organ we know in Western Anatomy. The liver in TCM regulates our emotions and qi (energy), controls our tendons, aids vision and the production of blood. The liver in TCM governs over our ability to be flexible both in thought and body. It also governs over our ability to plan our lives. Begin this sequence with focusing on your breath. Gently stretch your limbs in whatever ways feel best before settling into the yin poses. Follow the sequence as given or mix it up as you choose. Let’s begin.



TWISTING SHOELACE STIMULATING LIVER 8/LR8 (Spring At the Crook)


Point Location & TCM Use

LR 8 is located on the inner (medial) edge of the knee crease just superior to the end of the crease. LR 8 is the mother point of the liver meridian. Mother points improve the function of their associated organ and energy pathways. LR8 is used clinically to improve TCM liver function.

The Pose

Begin seated. Draw your left foot towards your right hip and your right foot towards your left hip. Alternatively you may want to move into shoelace from hands and knees, placing your left knee behind your right knee and then sitting back between your heels. Feel free to sit on a cushion if that feels more comfortable. Shoelace can also be practiced with the bottom leg straight. If shoelace pose is inaccessible to you come into a seated posture with your legs straight or crossed. Stimulate LR8 three times using a body tuning fork or massage the area using your fingertips for at least one minute. Once you’re finished move into your spinal twist, either twisting the center of your chest towards the top knee (as imaged), away from the top knee, or if time permits twist to both sides. Settle into stillness in your twist. If possible stay in the twist any where from 90 seconds to 3 minutes. Repeat the pose with the opposite knee on top.


TWISTING DRAGONFLY STIMULATING KIDNEY 7/K7 (Returning Current)


Point Location & TCM Use

K7 is located 2 body inches above your medial ankle, beside your Achilles tendon. To find two body inches measure the distance of your kneecap from top to bottom. Use this distance to locate K7. K7 is the mother point of the Kidney meridian. The kidneys in TCM are also the mother organ of the liver. Kidney health is closely linked to liver health in Traditional Chinese Medicine. By boosting the function of the kidneys we indirectly affect the functioning of the liver.

The Pose

From a seated position, straddle your legs apart. There should be a gentle to moderate stretch through the muscles of your inner legs. Experiment with sitting on a cushion or bolster to see if using a prop feels more comfortable for your back and hips. Twist your torso towards your right and stimulate K7 on your right leg. Depending on your flexibility you may need to stimulate K7 with your legs closer together or bent, so you can better access the acupoint. After stimulating K7 relax your arms and allow your upper body to release over your right leg. Stay in twisting dragonfly from 2 to 5 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side stimulating K7 on the left.


CATERPILLAR STIMULATING LIVER 3 /LR3 (Great Rushing)


Point Location and TCM Use

LR 3 is located in a depression (that may feel tender) approximately 1 to 1.5 inches from the web space in between the 1st and 2nd toes. The point is located between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. Liver 3 is a principal point to regulate the flow of qi, it is commonly used in clinic to help regulate emotions and alleviate pain.

The Pose

In caterpillar your legs may touch or be slightly apart. Bend forward, allow gravity to ease your chest towards the floor. There should be a gentle to moderate stretch along the back of your spine. If your hamstrings are tight or the stretch feels too intense you may want to use a bolster or cushion under your knees. Stimulate LR3, either one side at a time or both points together. Afterwards release the head down, come into motionlessness. Stay in the pose for 3 to 5 mins. A simple counter-stretch like tabletop or windshield wipers may feel good after this pose.


BANANASANA STIMULATING LARGE INTESTINE 4/LI4 (Joining Valley)


Point Location and TCM Use

LI4 is one of the most important points in the body to alleviate pain. LI4 strongly moves qi, particularly when used in conjunction with LR3. Together these two points are used to both move and boost qi and blood, and in so doing help boost liver function. To locate LI4 squeeze your thumb and index finger together. Notice the bulge created in the muscles between your thumb and index finger. Li4 is located at the highest point of that bulge.

The Pose

Start lying on the floor with your legs together. Move your legs over to the right (while keeping your left buttock grounded) and move your head and chest over to the right, creating a banana shape with your body. You can cross the ankles as pictured. Stimulate LI4, then rest in the pose for an additional 2 or 3 minutes. Practice bananasana on both sides. If you’d like take a mini-savasana afterwards, feel the effects of the practice.


RECLINING TWIST STIMULATING GALLBLADDER 34/GB34 (Yang Mound Spring)


Point Location & TCM Use

Gallbladder 34 is used to enhance joints, fascia, and tendon health. It is considered a ‘be happy point’ by some acupuncturists. It may be used clinically to help the liver and gallbladder regulate emotional health. To locate the point run your hands up the sides of your lower legs until you feel a boney lump about level with the bottom edge of your kneecap. Gallbladder 34 is located just below and in front of this boney prominence on both legs.

The Pose

Start lying on your right side with your knees bent. Inhale and twist the upper body over to the left. Your left shoulder may or may not touch the floor. Alternatively start lying on your back, draw your knees to your chest then release your knees to your right. Stimulate Gallbladder 34 on the left before moving your arms into their final position in your pose. Stay in the twist 2 to 5 minutes, then practice the pose on the opposite side. Feel free to move your body however feels good once you’ve finished your twists. Alternatively, move into savasana.


Namaste



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