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Spring Meditation #2: Yoga to Balance the Liver


The water murmurs
In the old stone well,
And, a rippling mirror,
Gives back the clear blue sky.
The river roars,
Swollen with the late rains of spring.
On the cool, jade-green grass
The golden sunshine

Sometimes, at early dawn,
I climb
Even as far as Lien Shan Temple.
In the spring
I plow the thirsty field,
That it may drink new life.
I eat a little,
I work a little,
Each day my hair grows thinner,
And, it seems,
I lean ever a bit more heavily
On my old thornwood cane.

~Liu Tzu-Hui, Sung Dynasty, AD 960-1278
[This translation from Beinfield and Korngold, page 160]

With the coming of spring, here is a gentle yoga-based exercise to balance the liver energy in the body.

The energy of the liver (or, “Liver Meridian”) starts at the inside base of the big toe and runs up the inside of the leg, goes through the reproductive organs and flows under the front of the ribs into the liver where it circulates upwards through the lungs.  This energy line controls the eyes and the nervous system.

Part 1:
For those of you who are familiar with “Bridge Pose” then this exercise will make more sense.  If you are not familiar with “Bridge Pose” then check out this description here.

Start: Lie on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor with your heels as close to your sitting bones as possible.  If you can, grab your ankles with your hands.  If you can’t reach your ankles or that is uncomfortable, then place your arms by your sides with your palms facing down.

Exercise: Inhale and lift up through your thighs and pelvis and exhale as you slowly lower down.  Relax for a few breaths and then come up again as you inhale and stretch up as high as you can through the thighs and belly.  Tighten your buttocks then contract a little bit more and really squeeze.  Then relax your body as you slowly lower down.

End: Release your ankles and then lie down on the floor.  Rest and relax completely with your legs stretched out in front of you and your entire back resting on the floor.

Part 2:

Start: While still lying on your back, reach your arms up so that your palms face one another and your fingers are reaching towards the sky.  Take a deep breath.

Exercise: Make fists with your hands and squeeze the muscles in your arms.  Slowly exhale as you bring your fists down towards your chest.

Do this four times—–inhale and reaching up through the arms and exhaling slowly lower your fists down towards your chest

End: Relax on your back with your arms by your sides.

Part 3:

Deep relaxation: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your palms facing up.  Set a timer so that you can completely let go for a minimum of 5-minutes.  Relax your body completely and just feel your breath fall into a natural pattern.


Beinfield, Harriet and Efrem Korngold.  Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine.

Gach, Michael Reed and Carolyn Marco.  The Acupressure Stress Management Book.  Acu-Yoga: Designed to Relieve Stress and Tension.

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