Meet Your Meridians - Water

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In my last post, I introduced you to the classical physiological and psychological associations of the Five Elements according to Chinese Medicine. This post will begin a year-long series of deeper and experiential exploration of these elements, with the intention that you will come to experience this way of looking at your body and your own health from a new perspective.

We'll begin with the Water element, as its associated season is Winter (and, well, it's winter as I write this...)

Each Element governs a meridian pair, one yin (running through the body from 'earth' to 'heaven', mostly along the 'softer' inner part of the body) and one yang (traveling from heaven to earth along the 'harder' outer side). (And when we talk about direction of movement, picture the body standing with the arms raised up, palms facing forward. The 'harder' side is the back of the body, head and limbs; 'softer' side is the front.)

The Water element governs the Bladder (yang) and Kidney (yin) meridians. The Bladder meridian is the longest in the body, with 67 acupuncture points, traveling from the inner corners of the eyes, over the head, along the spine, back of the legs, and to the pinky toes. The Kidney meridian (with 27 points) begins on the bottom of the feet, moves up inside the ankles, and up the backs of the legs. From there it goes internal, emerging above the pubic bone, moving upward along the front of the body and ending under the inner point of the collarbone.

I'd like to take you now on a visualization journey of your Bladder and Kidney meridians. This is an exercise we practiced in school, while learning the meridians, adding a kinesthetic dimension to our understanding.

The instructions will refer to anatomical landmarks.. kind of a 'connect-the-dots' thing. It's not important that you worry about the exact locations, in fact, your visualization may guide you along a slightly different path. It's more important that you try to 'tune in' to what you feel as you follow the meridian in your mind.. what you notice, if you get any sensations, or awareness of the energy, blockages, weakness etc. I have included links to illustrations of the meridians, if you're having trouble understanding my descriptions, but I encourage you to try to stay within your own experience of your visualization,.. and not to be distracted by the points on the charts or by obligation to stay on the exact path.

Above all, have fun with it.

The Bladder Meridian

Sit quietly in a relaxed, comfortable position.

Take a few relaxed breaths, asking the meridian to reveal itself to you. Visualize a blue/black line, the Water meridian color, as you follow this in your mind.

You will visualize the meridian as a pair of lines, traveling side by side.

Begin at the points next to the the inner corners of your eyes.

Keeping the lines the same distance apart, follow it up and over the head, connecting it with dots just under the bony part of the skull, on the outer edge of the large muscles.

From there, trace it down along either side of the spine to the sacrum.

Follow it now along the center of the backs of the legs: the thighs, the back of the knees, the calves.

Picture it curling around the outer ankle bones to the space between the bone and the Achilles tendon, along the outer edge of the foot to the outer part of the pinky toes just next to the toenails.

Try this several times, and see if you get a sense of the strong flowing energy of the Bladder meridian.

Click here for an illustration.

The Kidney Meridian

Once again, imagine the blue/black color.

The Kidney meridian begins on the sole of the foot, in the depression under the ball of the foot, below the second and third metatarsal bones.

Follow the meridian along the instep to the space between the inner anklebone and the Achilles tendon.

Circle it around the back of the anklebone, below it, and then up the calf, following the outer edge of the calf muscle, the inner edge of the back of the leg, and then going internal.

The meridian re-emerges again just barely a finger's width out from the center line of the abdomen, just above the public bone.

Follow it up the abdomen, alongside the navel, along the outer edge of the sternum, ending at points in the depression just below the inner end of the collarbones.

Once again, trace it several times, to feel the gentle balancing and dispersing energy of this meridian.

Here is an illustration of the Kidney meridian.

Thoughts? Questions? Experiences to share? Comment below....

Next post: Personality associations of the Water Element... Is this you?

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