Where is the wood energy?
I’ve been delayed writing my blog on spring energy: partly because I have been away but partly because it hasn’t felt very much like spring. Apparently March has been colder in the UK than December, January and February and, in England, the coldest March on record. Last week I was away in the Alps in Chamonix where the weather was snowy and misty most of the time. This was good for the snow but not for seeing the mountains or getting some sun.
So what about the Chinese view of spring and the moving out from the Winter Yin energy to the Yang? Where is this Yang? Well, we can see it in the longer, lighter days, the buds of leaves on trees and plants sprouting from the ground. Life is emerging from the earth. Birds are busy making nests and, on the rare sunny days, people are out smiling and interacting more with each other.
Who said wood energy is predictable or there is a smooth transition from Yin towards Yang? For me, one of the main gifts of Chinese medicine is its way of connecting the body to nature and seeing how we are influenced by our environment. Spring is different every year. Sometimes it comes earlier, sometimes later. Sometimes it shows its face, only to disappear again. How is Spring being affected by climate change? People have noted that there is less snow, 40% less in areas under 1000 m, that the glaciers are declining (the Mer de glace has lost 65 cm in depth) , that the average temperature is 0.75 c higher http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/31/alps-skiing-climate-change. The world is an ever changing place. It also depends where you are. I was acutely aware of this in the mountains. The northern sides of the mountains stayed firm all day long but on the southern sides, snow was slushy by the end of the day.
How do we support this Spring energy in our body? Mostly by moving. And by understanding that our body, like the world, is ever changing. It is different from year to year as well as from season to season. Staying connected with nature helps us remember that we too have our cycles. Spring is the energy of new birth: this can be birth in its literal sense of babies, but can also be new projects, creative enterprises and ideas.
The meridians of spring, of wood, are Liver and Gall Bladder. Gall Bladder is the main meridian of the side of the body, running from the outer eye, through the side of the neck, around the shoulder and down the side of the torso into the side of the leg. When people don’t move and sit at desks a lot of the time, then they tend to get congestion in their hips and shoulders. GB21 is a point in top of the trapezius muscle on the shoulder which is often gets tight. Shiatsu can help free up some of this tightness which can build up through a more sedentary life style.
So move out into nature, as spring calls us to. Enjoy the ever changing circle of life.