Sunday, 27 December 2020

Full Moon in Cancer Affecting the Spleen Meridian - December 30, 2020

We started 2020 with a full moon in Cancer affecting the Spleen-Pancreas meridian (Friday, January 10th 2020) and we end 2020 with another one. The Spleen meridian - together with the Stomach meridian - is associated with the Earth Element in Chinese medicine. 


As you can see in the below images, the Spleen meridian runs very close to the stomach meridian.

  
The Spleen has quite a wide range of functions in the body, ranging from digestion to the immune system, preserving muscle tone and taking care of our sensuality. The Spleen basically manifactures Qi energy (prana) from the food we eat: it plays a central role in the production of blood and the extraction of prana (Qi energy, life force). Its role is to transform and move foods, liquids and thoughts (!) in the body (all that we consider 'digesting'). This is why the Spleen is also called 'the source of postnatal (i.e. acquired, not born with) Qi/Prana'. It sends the pranic essence to the lungs and heart plus distributes nutrients through the blood to every cell. 
The spleen houses the body's thoughts and intentions (Yi) - hence why one of the imbalances comes out as overthinking or worrying - and is responsible for sharp analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence and ideas. 
The spleen also plays a primary role in the lymphatic system (it is the largest organ of the lymphatic system) and immune system as it helps the body recognise foreign invaders. It keeps our tissues, muscles, and thoughts moist, supple, adaptable. The spleen is responsible for the removal of old red blood cells and the production and storage of white blood cells, which cleanse pathogenic bacteria from our blood. Functionally, the spleen is equivalent to a large lymph node, with a focus on cleansing our blood and thus aiding immunity.
The Spleen is in charge of us being centered and feeling well with who we are and where we are on this planet, providing a stable 'home environment' for ourselves. If we have that stability, we are able to focus our minds keenly and sharply
The Spleen is known as the Mother Organ of the physical body (as it nourishes the other organs) and relates to the earth element. It governs our sense of taste and 'true nourishment'. 
It also regulates our different bio-rhythms, including women's menstrual cycles.
The sweetness of life is needed to feel nourished, grounded and balanced in life. The spleen is associated with the Earth element, and with the energy of a Mother - and to take good care of it, think of what you could associate with this: 
  • warm food (broths, soups)
  • lightly cooked vegetables, especially nourishing root vegetables (see below)
  • a stable home environment
  • calm eating habits
  • regular mealtimes
  • a comfortable daily routine
  • chewing your food well
  • doing one thing at a time instead of multi-tasking (or eating while doing something else)
  • mindful living
  • taking a break, doing nothing
Worry and overthinking are the Spleen's greatest enemies and cause spleen depletion.
Follow the suggestions below to increase the experience of a sweet life (and not need sugar or artificial sweeteners!). 
Symptoms of an Interrupted Flow, Imbalance of, or Blockage in the Spleen Meridian: 
  • general muscle tightness
  • muscle weakness
  • digestion problems & stomach pain
  • abdominal bloating
  • worry
  • (mental) stress
  • depression
  • craving for news and reading
  • overeating
  • irregular meals
  • not being able to relax at mealtimes
  • thinking all the time, overthinking
  • compulsive behavior
  • cold hands
  • distracted, not finishing things
  • chronic fatigue
  • exhaustion (physical and/or mental)
  • mental sluggishness
  • Alzheimer's
  • dementia
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • avoiding protein in your meals
  • nightmares
  • edema
  • cold hands & feet
  • too much standing
  • craving cold or raw food (detrimental to the spleen)
  • easy bruising
  • dizziness
  • pale complexion
  • sleepwalking
  • vaginal discharge

Things to Eat:
All yellow/orange fruits and vegetables (squash, pumpkin, parsnip, carrots, papaya, banana, oranges, persimmons, ...). To promote the feeling of nurturing oneself, eat naturally sweet foods. Ripe bananas would be an excellent food for balancing this meridian. Another great food for the spleen is a dish of millet with Chinese dates and some pumpkin or squash cooked to a soup. Sweet flavours are known as the flavours of harmony and are associated with Mother Earth. If the spleen is in distress, sweet flavours can harmonise and benefit the central Qi. If, however, one uses sweet foods excessively, they will start producing phlegm, obstruct transformation and harm the flesh of the body, which in turn will lead to swelling, bloating, obesity, and diabetes. 
Things to Avoid/Reduce:
  • Living in the past
  • Worrying
  • Overthinking
  • Too much work/stress
  • Multi-tasking
  • Standing while you work
  • Irregular mealtimes
  • Chaotic schedule
  • Raw foods, fruit juices, milk products
  • Cold foods and drinks, iced drinks
  • Overeating
  • Caffeine (caffeine acts as 'False Qi', which can lead to high blood pressure, agitation, depression and heart palpitations)
  • Honey
  • Chocolate
  • Sugars, sweets
  • Glycemic foods
  • Processed foods
Tips:  
Yoga for the Spleen:  
  • Horse stand: Stand with feet firmly on the ground, knees slightly bent, hands loosely on the thighs, body relaxed. Close the eyes, visualize and feel the energy flowing from the deep within the earth upwards through the souls of your feet and continuing up.
  • All pranayama (breathing exercises), but especially Sitali Pranayam, which takes poison away from the spleen, liver and digestive system.
  • Camel Pose 
  • Back Platform
  • Locust Pose:  Lie on your stomach with your chin on the ground. Make fists and place them underneath your groin and lift your legs up. Hold with long deep breathing. Relax in the posture and visualize the color YELLOW in your body, up to 10 minutes.


Recommended Kriya and Meditation:


Meditation Malas / Crystals that will support the Spleen:




Sources: www.divinehuman.com & https://fiveseasonsmedicine.com/the-spleen-meridian-sweet-flavors-and-balanced-biorhythms/ 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Full Moon in Gemini affecting the Stomach Meridian – November 30, 2020

 Monday 30 November 2020 will see a Gemini full moon governing the Stomach meridian. 

Emotional stability is the key phrase for navigating this full moon.

 


Sikhs all across the world will be celebrating the Avtaar Purb (Gurpurb – birthday) of their first Guru, Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji Maharaj on this Full Moon (in our Bikrami moon calendar system – which predates the Gregorian calendar – this particular full moon is called Katak Sudi Puranmasi). From a Western point of view you would probably equate it with Christmas – but as we have a lineage of 10 Gurus in human form and one in the eternal form of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (i.e. the written form in shabad), we have a good few more Christmas-like dates to celebrate, i.e. 11…

 

Back to the stomach and its meridian though:

The Yang Stomach meridian works closely together with its Yin paired meridian of the Spleen, as well as with the Large Intestines, to protect against illnesses.

In TCM, the stomach is called names such as “the Minister of the Mill”, the “Sea of Nourishment” or the “Root of Postnatal Life”, because it is responsible for providing the entire human body with energy coming from the digestion of food and fluids.

In addition to digesting food and liquids and moving them to the small intestines for extraction and assimilation of nutrients, the stomach also has an important energetic job. It extracts energy from foods and fluids, and coordinates with the spleen to transport that energy to the lungs. In the lungs, this energy combines with Qi energy (Prana) from the air that we breathe.

Any dysfunction of the stomach immediately results in imbalances in the other organs.

However, as the stomach is the strongest organ and has the longest meridian of all organs (with 45 points), it can take a long time for disease to show up.

The stomach meridian is associated with our ability to assimilate new ideas, absorb information, as well as our ability to honour and nurture ourselves. As we receive subtle energy from the universe through the food we take in, the stomach is also an important organ to receive universal information into our bodies. This energy is then passed on to the small intestine meridian where it is carefully sorted – do we keep/absorb it, or do we let it go and eliminate it? (think of phrases in English like: “I can’t stomach this (information, emotion,…) now”, etc.)

Furthermore, the stomach is also the base for our emotional stability and the place where we sense emotion. In the same vein, the stomach meridian plays a vital role in our mental state, and imbalances in this meridian can cause many types of mental disturbances (see the list of symptoms further below).

 

Beginning at the side of the nose, the Stomach meridian rises to the corner of the eye (where it connects to the Urinary Bladder meridian) before descending along the side of the nose, to enter the upper gum, and follow the outer lips to the lower jaw, toward the joint of the jaw.

Here it branches, with one branch ascending again along the front of the ear to the forehead. The other branch descends through the body to the diaphragm and runs to the stomach (the organ) and spleen.

A third branch emerges from the lower jaw and runs across the outside of the body, crossing the chest and belly, until it terminates in the groin. The second branch, that runs through the stomach, reconnects here with this third branch and then as one line they run downward along the front of the leg down to the top of the foot, where there is another split. The main branch ends in the outside (lateral) tip of the second toe. The second branch reaches the inner (medial) side of the big toe, where it meets the Spleen meridian.

Just below the knee, yet an additional branch also split off, to run to the lateral side of the third toe.


Symptoms of an interrupted flow of the stomach meridian:

 

·                                          digestive problems: bloating, vomiting

·                                          stuffy nose / sinusitis 

·                                          neck / arm / shoulder pain 

·                                          burping 

·                                          dry mouth 

·                                          constipation

·                                          depression

·                                          anxiety, fear, dread

·                                          confusion; being overcritical or gullible

·                                          deep sadness and even despair

·                                          feeling stifled

·                                          hyperactivity & overactive sympathetic nervous system

·                                          some types of ADD

·                                          instability

·                                          doubt

·                                          suspicions

·                                          mania

·                                          suicidal tendencies & death wishes

·                                          addictive behaviour 

·                                          egotisticalness & a sense of over-importance of the self

·                                          slowness at assimilating new ideas

·                                          pain in any of the areas the meridian passes through (mouth, nose, teeth, gums, …)

Tips:

·                                          Eat yellow/orange foods like corn, squash, mango, banana, sweet potato, papaya, cantaloupe.

·                                          Wear yellow clothes and carry or wear yellow stones like Amber, Sunstone, Citrine, Yellow Jade, Yellow Mookaite, Tiger Eye and Yellow Tourmaline. Other helpful stones (of which you can also use malas - see https://www.shuniya-yoga.org/product-category/malas/ for a wide variety of choices) are the other colours of Mookaite, Bloodstone, Goldstone, Rhodonite, Amethyst, all Agates, all other Tourmalines, ...


Avoid:

·                                          stress

·                                          worry

·                                          overthinking

·                                          irregular meals

·                                          quick eating

·                                          wheat & gluten

·                                          food that is either too hot or too cold

·                                          coffee & caffeine

·                                          smoking

·                                          alcohol

·                                          soft drinks

·                                          drinking with your meals (drink between meals instead)

·                                          aspirin, ibuprofen, pharmaceuticals and pain medication

·                                          eating while multi-tasking

·                                          eating before going to sleep or even lying down after meals

·                                          eating when angry

Flu/Cold symptoms:

Chinese remedy Po Chai works on relieving both stomach and virus symptoms.

Yoga:

·                     Yoga mudra is an excellent posture for balancing this meridian. 3-11 minutes (hands are in Venus lock (interlaced), and you just lift up the arms as high as they can go - it might look nothing like the picture for you and they might only be lifted slightly - don't worry, that's okay).


·                     Mulbandh (root lock)

                      Sitting in Rock Pose (sitting on the heels)

·                     Any chanting with HAR at the navel

·                     Fish Pose with long deep breathing


·                     Bow pose and rocking in bow while chanting SA TA NA MA. 


 

Recommended Kriyas:

 

Sources: www.divinehuman.com and https://fiveseasonsmedicine.com/the-stomach-meridian-root-of-life-after-birth/

 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

October 31, 2020 - Full moon in Taurus, Affecting the Large Intestine (Colon) - Stay Steady

      


The next full moon on Saturday 31 October (coinciding with Halloween this year) is in Taurus, the bull. Taurus governs the large intestine (colon) meridian and also rules the neck and throat. The large intestines are responsible for elimination. Autumn and Nature are showing us what a great time it is to let go of what is old, to shed what has served its purpose and is not needed any more, and how much beauty and colour and gorgeous smells that can actually bring into your life! 

The breath, and especially yogic long deep breathing, supports the large intestines. 

In Chinese Medicine, the colon is the yang meridian of the Metal element, paired with the Lung meridian as its yin counterpart. The two are interlinked as the lungs are the seat of Prana Vayu (and represent what one nurtures oneself with: Prana) while the colon is home of Apana Vayu (representing what one releases). Issues in the colon can manifest in the lungs and vice versa. It's said that that is why people who never smoked can get lung cancer or people who lived healthy lives can get colon cancer. 

The emotions typically associated with the Large Intestine meridian are Grief & Depression.

Beginning at the tip of the index finger, the Colon meridian runs between the thumb and forefinger and along the outside (lateral side) of the arm.It comes over the outside top of the shoulder and along the back of the shoulder blades to the spine. Here it branches, with one branch descending through the lungs, diaphragm, and the large intestines. The second branch ascends along the neck and the lower cheek, and enters the lower gum, circling the lower teeth. On the outside of the face, this line also circles the upper lips, crosses under the nose and rises up to join the Stomach meridian.

From an emotional viewpoint, problems with the colon point to problems with letting go. These issues aren’t necessarily about current life events, but often stem from the past. It is human nature to hold on to events because there is a belief that by never forgetting, we will not let it happen again. While it is helpful to learn from the past, there is a point where what we hold onto will hold us back from moving on. Resentment is an example of holding onto the past and the emotion can literally jam up the entire body. Many of us also have a strong tendency to identify with our stories and our past, we are very afraid of letting those identifications go and step into the unknown realm where we dare to ask: Who am I?, if I'm not my past experiences?

The full moon influence challenges us to let go of what is old, without resentment, and to be steady without being stubborn and consistent but not rigid. 

Physical / Mental Symptoms: 
  • negative attitude
  • bowel disorders (colitis, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, smelly or bloody stool, colon cancer, ...)
  • problems in/with mouth, teeth, nose and throat
  • gum problems 
  • nose bleeds
  • toothache 
  • sore throat
  • skin disorders, pimples, acne, sallow skin, age spots, ...
  • accumulated mucus
  • slow metabolism
  • aching shoulders
  • aching neck
  • acidity in the body (acidic PH)
  • lack of energy
  • inflammation
  • weight gain
  • edema
  • foul breath
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • living in the past & holding on
  • resentment
  • guilt
  • regret
  • hanging on
  • lack of generosity
  • possessiveness
  • stubbornness
  • compulsiveness
  • rigidity
  • resisting change
  • need for control
  • confusion
  • self-poisoning
  • anal retentiveness
  • contraction.

Things that are good to eat:
  • All white foods - e.g. rice, cauliflower (gobhi), white horseradish (mooli), parsnip, the white of leeks and spring onions, and of course the three roots: onion, garlic & ginger. Organic, home-made yogurt and lassi.
  • All hot vegetables. 
  • Whole fresh fruits and vegetables - but cooked/steamed/... not cold. Bananas can help the colon greatly, as can baked apples.
  • Wholegrains, especially (think white again) rice.
  • Fiber-rich foods
  • Green vegetables
  •  Lots of fresh water.

Things that are not good to eat around this full moon:
  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid gulping down your meals and chewing poorly.
  • Avoid irregular eating patterns
  • Avoid sitting too much - move!
  • This is an excellent time to cut down or eliminate eating refined sugar and products made from white flour, like bread, rotis, chapattis and pasta (yes, even though these are white...).
  • Also avoid any other foods that you know don't agree with you well or that cause inflammation to your body (acidic foods, foods that cause congestion, refined or processed foods, ...)
  • Avoid eating cold foods (craving them indicates an imbalance in this meridian): raw fruit, raw vegetables and mushrooms, cold beverages, ice cream, cold dairy foods, ...
  • Avoid greasy or spicy foods, alcohol or meat (again, you might be craving them, indicating an imbalance here).
  • Avoid dairy, gluten, soy, corn, ... if you (think you might) have leaky gut.

Tips: 
  • Hold and massage the index fingers of each hand for 2 minutes throughout the day.
  • Massage and move your lymph daily.
  • Find a healthy expression for your emotions.
  • Spend time in nature, and reflect on how it teaches us to let go.
  • Remember you are connected to a higher consciousness. 
  • Use the mantra: “Let Go & Let God.”

Yoga:
  • Archer pose is an excellent posture for balancing the large intestine meridian. Try 5 minutes on each side with breath of fire - if you want you can work up to 11 minutes. 

          A mantra like the Guru Gaitri mantra Gobinday Mukanday ... can greatly help to support you in keeping up, as can any other Bir Ras (warrior) mantra or shabad.
  • Work on both the large intestines and the neck/throat: Lying on your back, use your arms to pull your knees to your chest. Then lift your head with the nose between your knees. Hold the posture with breath of fire for 3-5 minutes, then relax. 
Image result for kundalini yoga knees into chest
  • Alternatively you can exhale as you lift the head up and pull the knees down with the arms, then inhale dropping the head down and relaxing the pull of the arms. Repeat this 25-100 times, then relax in corpse pose.

Some wonderful Kundalini Yoga kriyas for this full moon: 

Malas that would support the large intestine meridian: