Traditional Chinese Medicine Tips for Spring: The Wood Element

Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana/1/2 Lotus Tree Pose Variation

Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests we embody the 5 elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air and metal. When the seasons shift the elemental balance within us changes and we can either feel fine or out of balance.  Spring is associated with the wood element according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Wood which has been at rest during winter, now bursts forward with new buds blooming and green life emerging from the earth. The greatness of the evolving trees during spring initiates a rush of rising and renewing energy.

If you followed nature's cue and rested this past winter, you like nature may feel enthusiastic to move forward with clear vision and a sense of doing purposeful work. When the wood element is balanced within, you are extremely confident and motivated. You have the ability to envision the future and make strategic plans. You sway like tree's branches during springs windiest of days in addition to going with the winds of change rather than against it. You love growing!

When the wood element is unbalanced within, you lack all that's mentioned above. Confidence is replaced with control, planning becomes impulsive and insecure behavior plus ambition turns to anger. Physical signs of a wood element imbalance are headaches, visual disturbances, digestive problems like heart burn in addition to high blood pressure, muscle tension and sciatica (nerve swelling that originates in a hip and runs down a leg).

Since the mind and body are connected according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, to treat the emotional and physical imbalances associated with the wood element you must treat the liver and gall bladder. Receiving acupuncture, acupressure and/or seeing a TCM specialist for herbs are excellent routes to feeling good. However my speciality is of course yoga and I'm happy to share that there are several yoga and restorative postures you can practice during springtime that will strengthen and ease the wood element/liver and gall bladder meridians within your body. I find it funny and easy to remember that tree pose is one of them.

Follow me on my blog Glamorous Yogini and on Instagram @allisonegandatwani where I'll be sharing wood element balancing yoga practices to do now and throughout May.

In the meantime here are some wood element balancing lifestyle choices you can adopt now and see if you notice a difference in a week. I have!

Exercise: Go for long walks in nature and witness all that's blossoming around you.

Spring Clean: Give away or throw out whatever is unused and taking up space in your home, work and play space. It served it's purpose in the past however you will notice once your clutter is cleared that you will have room to clearly envision what's next.

Eat Fresh Food: Spring's warmer weather is a perfect time to say goodbye to winter's comfort foods and welcome the wider variety of fresh produce that's making its way into the market. Avoid fried food, white sugar and flour and of course chemicals.

Practice Forgiveness: TCM suggests holding a grudge can do damage to the liver. Let go of anger and resentments and practice love instead.

Do Something New: To align with spring's growing and transformative vibe try something new. Think of something you've been interested in yet never dove into it. It can be a small attempt into something new like taking a cooking class or wearing a new hairstyle. You will never know what you're capable of until you try! Replace shyness and fear with playfulness this spring.

Drink Water: You can never go wrong with hydrating yourself with plenty of water. I carry a liter of water with me everywhere I go and drink it throughout the day. When I don't, I feel sluggish and irritable.

*I credit the site along with a handful of loving teachers along the way like Jason Ray Brown and Frances Taylor Brown for inspiring me with Traditional Chinese Medicine wisdom.

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