Prana and Qi are the two main components of the energy system.
Since the beginning of time, different ancient traditions have spoken about the existence of an energy system in the body. It was called Prana by Indian Yogis and Qi or Chi by Chinese Daoists. This Prana or Qi, often translated to ‘vital energy force’ or “life force”, refers to the force that unites all things in the universe.
What are meridians?
Prana can move through energy channels called Nadis according to the Indian Yogi tradition. In the Chinese tradition, this Qi or Ch moves through a network called ‘Jing-Luo that interconnects all cells and tissues. Jing is a combination of Luo and Jing. It is also translated as “channels” and is commonly known as “Meridians”.
Based on the Daoist tradition, traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has 12 main meridians, eight minor meridians, and many other collateral meridians. This meridian system can be used to map TCM acupuncture points.
Yoga considers the chakras to be the main energy points. However, the Daoist model emphasizes our internal organs being the primary focus points for energy storage and distribution.
Major meridians are often named after internal organs. Qi flows through a meridian to determine how an organ functions.
The principal meridians
Below, we discuss the different qualities of each one.
Daoist tradition states that everything in life needs Yin/Yang for balance. This is why organ meridians form pairs. For example, the stomach (Yang) forms a pair together with Spleen(Yin).
Yin organs, which are solid, are responsible for storing our energies, fluids, and Yang organs, which are hollow, are responsible for transforming and transmitting energies and liquids.
Each organ pair’s Qi serves a specific function in the body. It is also linked to different emotions and an element. Unbalanced Qi can lead to emotional imbalance.
We all have scar tissue, both physical and emotional. These scar tissues can be removed using the meridians. If you feel angry or frustrated, you can work on your liver meridian by doing Yin yoga, acupuncture, or acupressure. This will bring you back to balance and allow you to let go of any stagnant emotions.
Focusing your Yin Yoga practice on difficult times is a good way to prevent emotional buildup.
Below, we will look at each meridian and the associated emotions. We’ll also discuss which Yin Yoga poses can be used to target that meridian. These can be incorporated into your yoga practice to help you balance your energy and emotions.
- Our Yin Yoga Pose Library provides a step-by-step guide for each pose.
- EkhartYoga members can follow our Just Yin Yoga program for meridians-specific classes.
- You can learn Yin Yoga or Meridians in depth with Jose de Groot at the EkhartYoga Academy.
The meridians’ qualities and Yin Yoga poses target them.
- Earth is the Element
- Function: Provides food and water for the other organs.
- Emotions: Anxiety, worry, and excessive thinking.
- Disharmony signs: Spleen-StomachQi imbalances can cause disproportionality in our interactions with nature. This can lead to excessive approval seeking, anxiety, and nervousness.
- Yin Yoga poses that work on the Stomach/Spleen meridian includes ankle stretch, child’s pose and Dragonfly, Melting Heart. Saddle, Swan, and Child’s Pose.
- Wood is the element.
- Function: Stores blood, controls Qi flow, and is the seat of our soul.
- Emotions: Anger and kindness
- Disharmony can manifest as frustration, defensiveness and paralysis. We are prone to making impulsive and rash decisions. Sometimes, small irritations can escalate into a major problem.
- Yin Yoga poses to support Liver/Gallbladder meridian – Ankle stretch and Bananasana for Butterfly, Dragonfly and Frog, Seal, Shoelaces, Square, Swan.
- Water is the element.
- Function: Controls water volume, coordinates respiration and stores Jing, our essence.
- Emotion: Fear, wisdom
- Disharmony signs: If our Kidney/Urinary bladder Chi is out of balance, we tend to hold onto things and people and cannot let them go. We lose trust in ourselves when we stop trusting others around us.
- Yin Yoga poses to Kidney/Urinary Bladder meridian include Butterfly, Caterpillar and Children.
- Element: Fire
- Function: Blood circulation, mental functions.
- Emotion: Happiness, love and happiness
- Disharmony can manifest as sadness, despair, or depression.
- Yin Yoga poses to the Heart/Small intestine Meridian: Bananasana and Melting Heart. Reclined Twist
- Metal: Element
- Function: Regulates water flow and regulates respiration.
- Emotions: Sadness/grief and a sense of beauty
- Signs of disharmony include feeling sadness and a sense of loss when Lungs/Large intestines Qi is not balanced. A vicious circle can develop when we are unable to express our grief.
- Yin Yoga poses to the Lungs/Large Intestines meridian.
- San Jiao Meridian is more than an organ. It is usually not associated with a particular emotion.
- It is called the Triple Burner because it relates to intake and transformation.
- Pericardium Meridian, also known as ‘Heart Constrictor’, is related to the function and protection of the Heart. It is not often associated with a particular emotion.
Yin yoga can be a great addition to your regular yoga practice. Anyone interested in learning more about this topic should visit the Just Yin Yoga program at EkhartYoga. There are online classes that cater to each meridian as well as different areas of the body.