Sunday, 21 March 2021

Full Moon in Libra Affecting the Urinary Bladder Meridian - Sunday 28 March 2021

The upcoming full moon in Libra will be affecting our Bladder and Urinary Bladder meridian, also known as the 'guardian of peace'. The Bladder meridian is the Yang partner of the Yin Kidney meridian, and both are associated with the Water element. It is the meridian with most points in the whole meridian system, and symptoms can be manifold (as shown below) with many different areas of the body being affected.

The bladder is also called the "Minister of the Reservoir" and is responsible for storing and excreting the urinary waste fluids passed down from the kidneys. As an organ, this is the only function the bladder has.

However, as a meridian / energy system, the Bladder meridian is intimately related to the autonomous nervous system -- it is the only meridian that flows through our brain and along the entire back and directly affects our nervous system as well as our emotional memory storage. The Bladder meridian runs along the back of the body from the eyes to the little toes, with 2 parallel branches flowing along each side of the spine (see below for a detailed description of its course). These four branches of the Bladder meridian directly influence the sympathetic & parasympathetic trunks of the autonomous nervous system, which regulates our fight-flight(-hide) response, and, in turn, all the body's basic vital functions.

In the pressures of modern life many people suffer from an overly-activated sympathetic nervous system, causing a constant state of apprehension, fear, or worse. This can be accompanied by tension and pain along the spine and its periphery. Over time, it crystallizes into a fixed pattern of fear which can inhibit the decision-making capability and manifest as chronic high blood pressure, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, heart disease, panic attacks, and low libido. 

Back tension and pain can be relieved by stimulating the energy flow along the spinal branches of the bladder meridian. Such stimulation induces total relaxation by switching the autonomous nervous system over to the restful, restorative, parasympathetic mode.

Meridian pathway: The Urinary Bladder meridian, like the Gall Bladder meridian, starts at the eye. It begins (both left and right, as always with meridian paths) at the inner eye and goes up, across the forehead, to the crown of the head. One branch splits up here, enters the brain and then reemerges at the scapula (shoulder blade) and runs just inside the line of the scapula down the spine to the buttocks, where it reenters the body and runs to the urinary bladder and the kidneys (left and right). 

The second branch - left & right - flows down from the crown, down the back of the neck and shoulders and runs just outside and parallel to the first branch. This branch continues down the back of the buttocks and legs, circles the outer ankles, runs along the outer edge of the foot, and ends in the small toe where the Kidney meridian begins. 

Dr. Motoyama believes that the Ida and Pingala nadis correspond to the Urinary Bladder meridians, because they run along either side of the spine. 

From the above explanations one can clearly see how it could be said that the Bladder meridian 'rules the back of the body'. With some 80 meridian points in 4 lines running down the back, it is easy to see how the back is a fertile field for the storage of old wounds that can later become organ imbalances (e.g. kidneys), almost literally bearing the burden of the past. Feelings held here can include guilt, feelings of duty, but also feelings about sexuality, self-control, self-support and stability. Releasing the tension in the back and stimulating the bladder meridian will automatically release the stored psychic tension, thus resolving many physical and psychological problems.

   

The bladder, together with the kidneys and sexual organs, relates to the second chakra. The second chakra is connected to the Water element and key here is learning to step into the flow of life, without resistance and with deep trust for what is and what is to come. Over time, water can even shape the earth. The opposite of trust is fear - the emotion mainly associated with second chakra & water imbalances. Fear causes us to tighten and contract, and makes us cold and frozen. An imbalance in the Urinary Bladder channel is connected with the inability to cope with life and fear of change. 

Few things in life disturb our spiritual well-being more than feeling that we have little or no vital energy or lifeforce, especially if this is accompanied with a sense of internal panic, raciness or overwhelm where we feel unable to meet life on its terms. We may freeze in fear, or thrash about in fear, imagining ourselves alone, isolated, without or even beyond help, facing a potentially terrifying future. In such circumstances, everything and everyone starts posing a threat. We want to hide, we feel we need to rest, we long for a hibernation that could restore our reserves. If you weren't able to spend the winter in some form of hibernation, you might really feel that need surface now as Spring is demanding a different energy from us. We can become pre-occupied with self-preservation and - as our physical resources diminish still further - we could notice our will to live start diminishing as well.

As Paul Hougham writes in The Atlas of Mind, Body and Spirit: "Typically if we have an imbalanced bladder meridian we will be concerned with energy on an almost existential level - wondering if we have the strength to carry on. The nightmare that this can turn into for some is a parched and paranoid terror of fearing for our lives, so we can become frantic in seeking the barest scrap of refreshment and energy. But we can never hold water actively - it literally slips through our fingers, and energetically there is a level of trust and surrender required in order to be able to hold a vessel, a grail, to hold the waters of life. On the land, hard, dry earth will cause sudden rains to move on and pass by and we need a discipline of surrender and permeability in being able to hold this resource within our energy field." (p. 156)


Imbalance or blockage symptoms:
  • Inability to urinate or the opposite: frequent and urgent urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Incontinence
  • Dark or bloody urine
  • Dehydration & thirst
  • Bladder infections (for women this is often related to anger towards men)
  • Men: swollen prostate
  • Women: prolapsed uterus
  • Fevers
  • Pain in the ankles and kneecaps
  • Backaches
  • Headaches (esp. occipital)
  • Pain in neck or shoulders, stiff neck
  • Leg cramps and sciatic pains
  • Nose bleeds
  • Diabetes
  • Aversion to cold or fear associated with cold environments
  • Mental problems
  • Timidity
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Jealousy
  • Frustration
  • Resentment & holding grudges
  • Suspicion
  • Anger
  • Tearfulness
  • Listlessness
  • Control-issues
  • Negative attitude
  • Fear-based inflexibility of mind and emotions
  • Radically changing moods 
  • Lack of confidence, or the opposite: over-enthusiasm
  • Low libido
  • Diseases of the lower limbs


Things that are good to eat, drink & do:
  • Drink lots of healthy living water (preferably fresh spring water or purified and remineralized water as you want to avoid chlorine & fluoride)
  • Alkaline diet high in fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Cranberry juice and cranberries in case of bladder infection - otherwise too acidic though.
  • Goji berries & blueberries
  • Black foods (black grapes, black olives, seaweeds, black sesame seeds, black seed, aubergines, ...)
  • Honeydew melon & water melon
  • White horseradish ('mooli') -- juiced, grated, in a salad, mooli pronthay, ... & normal radishes
  • Cucumbers & zucchini
  • Celery
  • Root vegetables: Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squashes
  • Garlic & onions
  • Fresh juice of 2 parts spinach and 1 part carrot
  • Nuts & nut oils
  • Relax and take everything with a little inner smile


Things to avoid:
  • Salt, as it dries out the body - use only healthy salts like Himalayan, Celtic or unprocessed sea salt.
  • Caffeine - coffee, black tea, green tea, caffeinated drinks -- they cause profound dehydration
  • Dehydration
  • Excess emotional frustration & emotional stress
  • Poor quality drinking water (esp. containing chlorine and fluoride)
  • Hair dyes & cosmetics
  • Heavy metals (in medicine, water, dental work, vaccines, ...)
  • Processed table salt
  • Acidic-producing foods (alcohol, sugar, caffeine, sodas, wheat & gluten, hot peppers & chili, spicy foods, MSG, tomatoes, ..)

Tips:
  • Hold and massage the pinkie finger of each hand for 2 minutes on either side. Repeat as often as you like
  • Wear black clothes
  • Listen to calming (mantra) music
  • Contract the muscles when you are urinating, to briefly stop the flow of urine. Do this daily to help prevent kidney stones.
  • Wash your hair every 72 hours if you can -- after 72 hours, the oil secretions from the scalp are reabsorbed into the brain and can cause severe imbalances in the nervous system.

Yoga for the bladder:
  • Meditation for the Second Chakra: https://www.libraryofteachings.com/kriya.xqy?q=&id=c91c58f2-fa59-024e-3f6b-b17d763443b&name=Second-Chakra-Kriya 
  • Any yoga for the back 
  • Forward bends & back bends
  • Any calming meditations and pranayamas
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing
  • Forward Life Nerve Stretch to lengthen and stretch the bladder meridian
  • Shoulder Stand followed by Plough Pose
  • Spinal Flexes
  • Cat-Cow 
  • Camel Pose
  • Triangle Pose
  • Locust Pose
  • Bow Pose
  • Standing with the hands in Venus Lock (fingers interlaced) on the head, swinging loosely from side to side. In the same position, bend forward from the waist on the exhale, and up and back on the exhale
  • Calming the Mind meditation: place the left hand on the heart center, right hand in gyaan mudra on the right knee. Through rounded lips, inhale and exhale with a whistle, breathing slowly and deeply.

Gemstones & Malas for the bladder or second chakra:

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Full moon in Virgo, Saturday 27 February 2020, Affecting the Small Intestines

This Saturday 27 February's full moon in Virgo will be affecting the Small Intestine (SI) meridian.

In Chinese medicine this meridian is connected to the Fire Element (which has 4 meridians connected to it, while the other 4 elements only have 2 meridians each connected to them). The Small Intestine Meridian is a Yang meridian, paired with the Yin meridian of the Heart. All Fire Element meridians help us connect with the inner fire, the flame of our soul. 

The path of this meridian runs as follows: it starts where the Heart meridian (its Yin pair) finishes, namely in the outer tip of the little finger. It then runs along the back edge of the hand, through the wrist, upward along the outer forearm and upper arm, to the shoulder. After zigzagging along the back of the shoulder it meets the Governor Vessel meridian which runs along the center of the back. Here it branches, with a first branch going inside the body and descending through the heart, diaphragm and stomach before ending in the small intestines. A second branch ascends along the side of the neck to the cheek and outer corner of the eye, from where it goes to the ear. A third small branch leaves the cheek to run to the inner eye, where it meets the Urinary Bladder meridian.



                                          

The human Small Intestine is about 6 meters or 20 feet long. A semi-permeable barrier that sorts (and thus is responsible for discernment) solids and liquids into useful nutrients vs. waste to be eliminated, it is responsible for the absorption of nutrients from our food into our blood (which then takes it to our cells). Its surface is a mucous layer containing beneficial bacteria and essential parts of the immune system. 

The term 'leaky gut' refers exactly to this intestinal barrier becoming compromised, holes appearing, and particles that shouldn't be entering our bloodstream doing exactly that, thus creating food intolerances, inflammation, immune system issues and ultimately auto-immune disorders. (This is a field of natural healthcare that I'm personally specialised in as a natural healthcare provider, so feel free to contact me if this is something you want to work on).

The SI meridian's energy is about separating the pure from the impure - on the physical, mental and emotional level. It can be regarded in connection to the Ayurvedic or yogic Agni Tattva, i.e. the fire of digestion, but also the fire of transformation, of alchemy, of profound inner change. The digestive fire changes food into blood. The fire of the heart gives us spiritual endurance; when we see that fire in someone's eyes, we know they are living from their heart. Fire is the great purifier. 

On a mental/emotional level, the SI meridian stands for Discernment - the so-called Buddhi aspect of the mind (aka Bibek Buddh). The SI meridian influences our mental clarity, judgment, and our powers of discernment. The ability to distinguish relevant issues with clarity before making a decision is attributed to the Small Intestine. 

A weak Small Intestine loses the capacity to discern useful nutrients from garbage. This manifests in poor absorption of food, but the brain will soon start spluttering as well, becoming overwhelmed and indecisive. 
The SI function can also be affected by emotions such as anger that cause Liver Qi to stagnate, and fear, which together can cause digestion to stop altogether. That's why we say to never eat when you're angry or upset...

The key for this full moon is to simplify everything. Keep your diet simple and pure. Keep life simple and pure.


Symptoms of an imbalanced small intestine meridian:
  • Problems digesting food
  • Stomach problems
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Sluggish gut
  • Gut inflammation
  • Leaky gut
  • Bacterial imbalance
  • Confusion about what is and isn't pure
  • Unclear life direction
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Inability to focus on 1 single task
  • Taking on too many things at once
  • Feeling of being pulled in many directions
  • Ear problems (e.g. deafness)
  • Eye problems
  • Pain in shoulders and neck (along the path of the meridian)
  • Congestive Heart Failure is also linked to SI chronic inflammation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Pessimism
  • PMS
  • Melancholy
Things to avoid:
  • An overly critical attitude
  • Too much self-analysis
  • Overeating low nutrient foods that require excessive sorting
  • Eating on the go without complete chewing (stresses the small intestines)
  • GMO foods with pesticides and herbicides
  • Excess cold and raw foods (can cause cold to accumulate in the Small Intestine)
  • Excess hot and spicy foods (can cause heat to accumulate)
Tips to balance the meridian:
  • Hold and massage the little finger of each hand for 2 minutes
  • Wear red clothes, use red crystals such as garnet, red jasper, red carnelian, red agate, ...
Things to eat:
  • Bitter foods: turmeric, quinoa, basil, grapefruit, karela (bitter gourd), rucola, green tea (washed), dark chocolate, ...
  • Red foods
  • Psyllium and chlorophyll daily help to keep the intestinal tract clean.
Some malas that can greatly help balance this meridian:

Yoga for the small intestines: 
  • Any and all postures that work on the third chakra and navel point: leg lifts, leg pulls and pushes, Stretch Pose (1-11 mins.), Sat Kriya (3-31 mins. -- see https:www.3ho.org/articles/everything-kriya-sat-kriya for a full explanation), pumping the navel and breath of fire, ...
Stretch Pose


Sat Kriya

  • Yoga Mudra: sitting in Rock Pose (on the heels) with the hands interlaced in Venus Mudra behind the back, bow forwards bringing the forehead to the floor (or onto a cushion that you put in front of you) while lifting the arms up behind you as high as you can. (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).
Yoga Mudra
  • Shoulder Stand with long deep breathing or breath of fire. (3-10 mins - not advised when menstruating).
  • Half Boat or Boat Pose (1-3 mins.)
Kriyas:
Sources: www.divinehuman.com & https://fiveseasonsmedicine.com/the-small-intestine-channel-discernment-sorting-mental-clarity/

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Full Moon in Leo Affecting the Heart Meridian - Thursday 28 January 2021

The full moon coming up on Thursday 28 January will be one in the sign of Leo, the lion, and will - as the Leo full moon always does - be governing the heart meridian. 

The heart meridian is one of the Yin meridians of the Fire element (the Pericardium being the second Yin meridian of this element) and is paired with its Yang counterpart of the Small Intestines meridian (both connect in the tip of the little finger).

To quote from the ancient Chinese text the Huang Di Nei Jing (written 4,700 years ago): "The heart is the sovereign of all organs and represents the consciousness of one's being. It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom, and spiritual transformation."

The heart meridian is considered to be the seat of spirituality as well as the ruler of wisdom and good judgement. The heart moreover also rules clarity of speech; that is why words can touch our heart so deeply in a positive way, or hurt so deeply. The heart (also called the Hirdaa in Gurbani) is also where we can meet our spirit, our soul, most easily.

When the heart is strong we radiate, especially from the eyes -- the Heart houses the Shen (the Spirit of the Heart) which radiates and shines from a person's eyes and face.

The heart is the first organ to start working while we are developing in our mother's womb, and it's the last to give out - in between, it beats steadily, without ever taking a break (unlike other organs which get to rest at intervals). 
The Heart is truly the Emperor of all organs, and it rules over our entire being: physical, emotional, mental and subtle. It is responsible for our blood and for circulating it through the vessels to nourish the cells. Chinese Medicine understands that the Mind & Perception (our mental abilities as well as our Consciousness) actually reside in the Heart - not in the brain, as Western medicine mistakenly thinks. Tellingly, the heart's electromagnetic field is many times stronger than the brain's electromagnetic field.

The Heart also dominates sleep. If it is strong, a person will fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. If the Heart is weak though, the person's mind will 'float', causing an inability to fall asleep, disturbed sleep, or excessive dreaming.

Causes of an imbalance in the Heart meridian can include tremendous emotional sorrow or a sudden powerful emotional shock (which is well-known to cause heart attacks or strokes).
Image result for heart meridian


The 3 branches of the Heart meridian all begin in the heart. One branch flows downward through the diaphragm to meet the small intestines. Another rises up alongside the throat, runs alongside the mouth (both left and right) over the cheek and ends in the lower eye both left and right. The third branch (again of course left and right both) runs across the chest, through the lungs, and comes out through the armpit. It flows along the midline of the inside upper arm, through the inner elbow, along the midline of the inner lower arm, until it crosses the wrist and palm, before ending in the inside tip of the little finger where it connects to the Small Intestine meridian.


Symptoms indicating an imbalance or blockage:
  • Disorders of the heart and chest: palpitations, pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Pain along the meridian path.
  • Night sweats
  • Vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Insomnia
  • Sadness and sorrow 
  • Nervousness or fearfulness & anxiety
  • Mental confusion & confused thinking 
  • Poor memory
  • A sense of dread
  • Emotional ups & downs 
  • Any kind of speech problems: talking incessantly, laughing inappropriately, nervous giggling and talking, stuttering, aphasia (the inability to speak)
  • Loss of taste 
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • A red tongue tip (caused by heat), red face
  • Inability to love
  • Lacking emotional warmth
  • Easily becoming hot-cold on the emotional level
  • Rounded-off shoulders
  • Mouth or tongue sores
  • Cataracts 
Remember: Where there is love, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no love.

What best to eat?
  • All red foods: red peppers, watermelon, cherries, red grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapefruit, red cabbage, tomatoes, saffron, etc.
  • Bitter foods: rucola, red beets, turmeric, basil, Brussels sprouts, quinoa, bitter gourd (karelay), dark chocolate, green & black tea (in moderation if at all, and definitely do always wash the leaves first because of the caffeine's effect on your kidneys (one cup's effects will last for 8 weeks) - I stay clear of these regardless what moon it is, or I choose matcha green tea which is the only actual 'tea' leaf I consume), etc.

What to reduce or avoid?
  • Be aware: too much of bitter foods is not good 
  • Spicy food
  • Sugar
  • Overthinking
  • Try to avoid distraction or unclear direction in life (Archer Pose is a great way to work on this aspect and help the Heart meridian in this area).
  • Time pressure - the heart suffers from this. Try not to feel rushed and pressured, keep breathing and relaxing through this time.
  • Stasis or stagnation
  • A lack of love in your environment

General tips to help this meridian:
  • Wear red, pink or green clothes or carry red, pink or green stones (red coral, garnet, unakite, rose quartz, pink Peruvian opal, rhodonite, pink tourmaline, ruby-zoisite, mookaite, chrysocolla) over the heart or on the little finger. 
As you might know, I make malas, and you can order malas in these crystals on the webshop or directly with me if you want: https://www.shuniya-yoga.org/product-category/malas/ - I have included a small selection with links at the end of this newsletter, but you'll find many more options on the webshop.
  • Hold and massage the little finger of each hand for 2 minutes. 
  • Think and say the key phrase “I will.” 
  • Practice gratitude
  • Journal, express your emotions
  • Meditate & find time for reflection
  • Make time to create nourishing environments for yourself
  • Connect to those you love
  • Rumi has written beautifully about the Heart - reading his work can be a great way to connect

Yoga for the heart meridian:
  • Cow Face Pose: Grab your hands behind your back. One arm goes over the shoulder, with the other under and behind the back. In KY, the crossing of the legs in shoelace is optional. Do Breath of fire for 3 minutes, then reverse the arms and repeat. If your hands don't touch, you can hold on to the ends of a small towel or cloth. 
Image result for cow face pose kundalini yoga
  • Sit with the hands folded over the heart center, left hand under, right hand over, and just be with your breath.
  • All exercises with the arms at shoulder height or above.
  • Mantra - Chattr Chakkr Vartee is a great mantra for the heart, as is e.g. Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Daas Guru

Kriyas:

There are dozens of Kundalini Yoga kriyas for the Heart Chakra. I used to even run 3-day retreats on this topic and offer a 10-session private class series on it too. Here are a few nice ones to practice: 
·         Kriya to open the Heart Center
·         Exercises for the Heart Center (we practiced this kriya in class last week)

Malas that can be extremely helpful (and there are many more on the webshop, just search for Heart Chakra):