Yoga & Energy Flow
One way of self-healing, that many think is just a form of exercise, is yoga. It works by unblocking the nadis (nadi means flow in Sanskrit), so the flow of energy in the body, which again is connected to the chakra system.
The Ida is the feminine flow of energy and the Pingala the masculine; the two spiral around each other like a double-helix and where they cross are our chakras.
The shushumna is a nadi that runs in a straight line through our body, which is why we feel better when and lot of good health practice (like the Alexander Technique) comes from sitting up straight.
The purpose of yoga is to release these blockages to leave us clear and open in preparation for achieving the bliss of meditation; it just happens that as a by-product it’s good for our health and we feel great afterwards!
The Eastern medicine practices of acupuncture, shiatsu and reflexology, to name only a few, work on meridians; similar to nadis, they are lines of energy that run through the body from our feet and hands but also to the organs in the body.
In these practices, as well as in the mind, body, spirit connections, it is believed that the major organs hold particular energies, either positive or negative. In the Zen yoga that I practice there are a series of asanas that work on these meridians also, so unblocking them, and allowing the new positive energy to flow in.
The ‘organs’ (a loose term as some may not be what we consider organs) work in pairs and hold particular negative energies:
Grief & Letting Go
The lungs and large intestines are about grief, holding onto something that no longer works for us, which can manifest as constipation or chest problems. The positive energy is to let go and even knowing this and so, mentally and emotionally, working with this can be a big part of the letting go process. My recent bout of pneumonia is due to unresolved grief, I am certain. Also letting go of the struggle of life (see my last blog: Keep the Faith). By ‘coughing up’ we clear what is on our chest but it only loosens when we are willing to let it go.
Worry & Abundance
The stomach and the spleen are about worry; so by working with this we release worry and feel abundant in all that we need, whether it is love, money or energy. Mantra of affirmation is a powerful way to work with this energy: “I am abundant in all that I need”, has been working well for me lately.
Hastiness & Compassion
The heart and the small intestines work together and are about stress, or hastiness, wanting everything done too quickly. By having more love and compassion (as ever, beginning with ourselves) we allow better energy to flow through these areas.
Frustration & Creativity
The liver and the gallbladder store anger and frustration. The way to release these energies is by using our creativity, in whichever form it takes, in a way relative to us. It can be through art, cooking, writing and gardening, decorating our home, even thinking creatively or in the way we present ourselves to the world. It is an explanation for why we may turn to alcohol or drugs when harbouring anger and frustration, so we feed the liver in a different way.
Depression & Joy
The pericardium (the lining around the heart) and ’triple heater’ (an imaginary lining around both sets of intestines) store depression and sadness and by releasing this energy it allows us to feel joy. As joy comes from within, this is also workable by being aware, by not being so hard on ourselves. As someone who does suffer from depression I do know this isn’t as simple as a flick of the switch, but the ironic thing is that it can be. Yoga most certainly can be a wonderful way to self-heal this ailment.
Fear & Faith
Lastly, the kidneys and the bladder which correspond to fear; when we are feeling fearful we tend to wee more, and so allow a release of emotion. This meridian also affects whether our hair greys; hence someone’s hair turning white overnight when they’ve had a great shock. Consequently, the positive emotions for these organs are to have courage or faith, shown by keeping your hair colour later in life!
…there are many ways to heal ourselves and though I can highly recommend asana practice and meditation, these are not the only aspects of yoga and not the only way to heal ourselves. Yoga mean yoke or union, the union of the mind, body and spirit. So, it’s not all about the asanas. It is a way of living, by being connected with ourselves and our spirit, our essence, our dharma.
Finding our dharma, a way that works for us, our way of living, is a true way to self-heal. It may be of benefit to others, it may not, but that’s not the point. We may, consciously or unconsciously, have anger issues which we heal with creativity. We don’t need to be conscious of it to do it. Loving being creative is far more affective, as we then find a way to love life and love ourselves. Which is why I paint.
I love to paint. I play my favourite music, I drink hot chocolate and I paint. I didn’t manage to follow a career in art due to the chaos that was my younger life and being spun in a different direction. If I had, I may not have the freedom to paint anything I like that I have today and so I do, I paint whatever I want and it heals me, I feel joyful. I used to feel guilty for painting, as I wasn’t doing the housework or spending time with my children or helping others etc… But that’s no use to anyone, especially me! It’s good for my children to see me doing something I love, for them to learn how to self-actualise, and so what if the house isn’t perfect; it’s far better for me, and consequently for others, that I am happy, I have found my joy. Then the joy flows through me and beyond.
‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs: ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’
You can see more of my artwork HERE