Liver Meridian

Releasing Anger and Restoring Love Through Yin Yoga Twisting Postures  

by Annie Au

In this modern world, we as human beings are often trapped in the pendulum of love and hate. As we may have experienced, the flip side of love is a raging river of anger and jealousy, flowing through us often unapologetically. Based on the meridian system in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), love flows through the Heart meridian while anger runs in the Liver meridian. When our Heart and Liver energies are balanced, we express compassion to all beings and are passionate about life. Conversely when energy stagnates in these channels, our heart and liver contract replacing love with explosive anger and irritation.

Interestingly, there is an essential muscle that connects the anatomical heart and liver in our body. This critical muscle is our diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. It is the primary muscle that the body uses when breathing. The top part of the diaphragm is connected to a small sac called the pericardium, which protects and holds the heart in place. The bottom part of the diaphragm is connected to the liver. According to the meridian system, promoting healthy flow of energy in the actual organ as well as its orbs of energetic influence is absolutely crucial in maintaining health and wellness.

The heart sits on top of the diaphragm, while the liver is tucked under the diaphragm on the right side under the rib cage.

The heart sits on top of the diaphragm, while the liver is tucked under the diaphragm on the right side under the rib cage.

 

Twisting postures help release tension in the diaphragm. Sequentially, by releasing the diaphragm, we also indirectly massage and soften the heart and liver. As you try out these poses, visualize all the negative thoughts and emotions exiting the body. In return, the vacated negative emotions are replaced by contentment and joy.

Reclining twists (5 minutes per side)

Lie down on your back and shift the pelvis to the right slightly. Draw the right knee towards the chest and slowly bring it to left side of the body. Keep the right arm parallel to the shoulder and the head facing the ceiling.

 

*Keep the head facing the ceiling helps prevent blood stop in the arteries along the neck. This is especially important in yin yoga practice where we hold a posture for several minutes.

releasing Anger and Restoring Love Through Yin Twisting Postures  annie au yoga

 

Hold for 5 minutes and repeat on the other side.

 

Cat Pulling Its Tail (5 minutes per side)

Lie down on your back and shift the pelvis to the right slightly. Draw the right knee towards the chest and slowly bring it to left side of the body. Bend the left knee and kick it back towards the buttock. Hold the left ankle with your right hand. Use a strap if necessary.

 

releasing Anger and Restoring Love Through Yin Twisting Postures  annie au yoga

Hold for 5 minutes and repeat on the other side.

 

Restorative Side Twist  (6-8minutes per side)

This posture is more restorative than Yin. Sit sideways like a mermaid. Place a bolster or pillow against the hip. Slowly twist the torso towards the bolster and lay down on it. This is a more gentle twist and can hold for several minutes.

 

releasing Anger and Restoring Love Through Yin Twisting Postures  annie au yoga

Hold for 6-8 minutes and repeat on the other side.

 

You can infuse these postures in your regular yoga practice or practice 1-2 postures above before bed.

30 Minute Sequence- Yin Poses For Better Sleep

30 Minute Sequence- Yin Poses For Better Sleep

Do you have difficulties sleeping?

Based on the holistic approach, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sees the sleep-wake cycle as a dynamic yet integral flow between the Yin and Yang. The Vital Axis states: “When Yang Qi is at its limit and Yin Qi is abundant, one’s eyes are closed. When Yin Qi is at its limit, and Yang Qi is abundant, one is awake.” Essentially, we naturally sleep at the Yin predominate time (night) while awake during the day when it is predominantly the time of the Yang energy.

Find out more about Yin-Yang here: Yin & Yang- How Balanced Are You?

Although there are many variables, there are two main Chinese meridians that can disturb our sleep:

Heart Meridian

In TCM, the Heart’s function is to circulate the blood and control the blood vessels, as well as to regulate the mind. As well, the sleep-wake cycle is part of Shen (spirit) activities. Shen refers to thought, state of consciousness and mental functions that keep the mind sharp and alert. It is believed that Shen resides in the heart and when it is too excited, for example during an emotional conflict like heartbreak and argument, sleep problems occur.

Liver Meridian

The Liver’s primary functions are to control the amount of blood in circulation and to create a harmonious, unrestricted flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. A healthy liver facilitates sleeping rhythms, ensures proper vision and allows our emotions to be in appropriate balance.

A great way to ensure proper sleep is to harmonize the Liver and Heart channels through yin yoga. Yin yoga is an accessible form of acupressure and can be practiced by practitioners of all levels, age, and physical conditions. (Read: The Practical Guide to Yin Yoga & Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Here is a 30-minute sequence you can do on your bed before sleep, give it a try tonight!

 

Butterfly (Hold 5 minute and rest 1 minute)

Yin Yoga Butterfly- Annie Au Yoga

From a seated position, place the soles of your feet together. Gently fold forward as you let the spine round and soften. You can rest your hands on your feet or the floor in front of you. Simply relax your head toward your heels or place a block underneath the forehead for more support.

If your feet are closer to the pubic region, you will feel a more intense sensation in the groin area. Or you can also try sliding your feet further away from you and see how the sensation would disperse along the inner thighs. Both are correct, so choose the one that is more suitable for you.

 

Wall-Dragon Fly (Hold 5 minute and rest 1 minute)

Wall Dragonfly- Annie Au Yin Yoga

 

Place your legs on the wall and slowly open them to the side until you feel a mild sensation in the inner thighs. Try your best to wiggle your buttock right up against the wall. Gravity will slowly open your legs, so relax the body and mind as much as possible.

When coming out of the pose, use your hands to help bring the legs back up. You can keep the legs together and rest them against the wall.

 

Wall-Funky Chair (Hold 5 minute and rest 1 minute)

Wall Yin Yoga-Annie Au Yoga

Stay against the wall after Dragonfly. To enter wall Funky Chair, slide your hips slightly away from the wall, bend your knees and place the soles of the feet on the wall. Keep the knees at 90 degrees. As if you’re sitting on a chair, cross the right ankle over the left thigh. You may feel some sensations along the right outer hip and right inner groin.

Practice on both sides for 5 minutes and take a 1-minute rest afterward. To rest, you can come out all the way and lie down on your bed or simply prop the legs up against the wall.

 

Caterpillar (Hold 5 minute and rest 1 minute)

Yin Yoga Caterpillar- Annie Au

Extend your legs in front and slowly fold forward with a relaxed spine. You can place a pillow under the belly or the forehead for extra support. You can also sit on the edge of a cushion to help tilt the pelvis forward.

 

Meditation: Seated or Lying Down (6 minutes)

Annie Au Yoga Meditation

After completing the poses, find an easy seated or lying down posture for meditation. A simple but effective meditation technique is called Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing). Anapanasati is most commonly practiced with attention focused on the breath, without any effort to change the breathing. Start by slowly inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Sustain an even count for both inhale and exhale (for example, inhale for three counts and exhale for three counts.) Try your best to focus only on the breathing and see how the chatters of the mind slowly fade away.