The emergence of duality creates a division between the male (Yang) and the female (Yin) principle (garden of Eden). In order to reduce this duality (yoga = to merge), to even out the polarity between yin and yang (as the flowing of wind seeks to even out a pressure difference) – a transformational energy (Prana/Qi) emerges.
At different times of day, year, one’s life, the relative amounts of Yin and Yang energy differs. Predominantly Yang means more activity (Fire) – predominantly Yin is inertia (Water). The 5 elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water are 5 different ratios of Yin and Yang energy.
5 element systems couple the meridians in pairs according to the energetic properties (yin/yang ratio) of the corresponding organs.
The ancient Chinese texts describe a different coupling where each hand meridian is connected to a corresponding foot meridian. This coupling is more anatomical, as these meridian couples naturally flow into each other. The resulting system – 6 pairs of hand-foot meridians – is more relevant to yoga. It appears that practically every asana targets at least one of these pairs – given the proper alignment. This leads one to believe that asana’s were designed based on ancient meridian knowledge.
We call this system “the 6 levels”, as the hand-foot meridian couples correspond to different levels (depths) in the body. While the outermost layers defend the body external influences (Viruses, threats, mental & physical), middle layers govern digestion & nutrition. Deepest in the body there are two layers, one responsible for our basic character traits and personality, the other expressing this character, with creativity and through maintaining deep, meaningful and loving relationships.
Learning which asanas target which layers enables you to taylor your own daily practice according to your needs.
Ever wondered why mental work goes better in the morning? Why you always wake up around 3 o’clock in the night when you had a large meal the evening before? When is the ideal time for breath exercises – or meridian-therapy asanas? Why do gallbladder attacks happen mostly at midnight, and heart attacks at high noon? Enter: The Organ Clock!
Underlying the web of Main Meridians is a network called “Qi Jing Ba Mai” – the 8 extraordinary meridians. Extraordinary, because they seem to be playing an important role in inner alchemy and spiritual development.
If good health and balance is the purpose of the main meridians, awakening is the stuff of the extraordinary meridians. Working with the extraordinary meridians is fascinating: They are the energetic web underlying our whole personality, deep seated behavior and preferences. Qi flowing properly in these meridians determine our ability to function smoothly, living out our dharma, during our time on earth.
Blocks in the extraordinary meridians manifest in character traits like: “Excessive need for control”, “problems with boundaries – either too little or too many”, “inability to surrender to the flow of life”, “courage to express one’s deepest desires and character” and “the ability to balance rest and activity”.
The extraordinary meridians tend to block when complaints are of a long term nature. – It is as if the problems in the main meridians “spill over” into the extraordinary meridians when the complaints are long standing, taking the pressure of the main meridian system.
When ordinary meridian stimulation with asana does not work – because the complaints are long standing and have spread to several meridians – look to the extraordinary meridians. They are easily targeted in yoga practice.