Organs Of The Ether Meridian
Lung: Metal-energy yin organ
Known as the 'Prime Minister', the lungs control breath and energy and assist the 'King' heart with the circulation of blood. The Internal Medicine Classic states: 'Energy is the commander of blood; when energy moves, blood follows. Blood is the mother of energy; where blood goes, energy follows.' This intimate relationship between breath and pulse, blood and energy, is the basis of Chinese breathing exercises.
Breathing controls cellular respiration, and shallow irregular breathing is therefore a major cause of low vitality and insufficient metabolism. The lungs also control the skin, which 'breathes' via the opening and closing of pores and is responsible for adjusting body temperature through perspiration and shivering.
The skin is where the radiant energy of resistance emanates, forming the first line of defense against noxious environmental energies such as heat and cold. Flu and the common cold are caused by impairment of radiant skin energy's capacity to resist external invasion, and symptoms of these diseases usually settle in the lungs and bronchial tract.
Pallid skin and poor complexion are common indications of weak lungs. The nose is the external aperture of the lungs and the gate of breath. A clogged or runny nose is another indicator of ailing lungs.
Breathing directly controls the autonomous nervous system, and this relationship is the basis for almost every system of yoga and meditation. By regulating the autonomous nervous system and governing energy and pulse, breathing forms a direct bridge between body and mind and may be utilized to keep the two in balance.
- Paired Organ : Large Intestine
- Color : pure white
- Peak Hours : 3am-5am
- Physical Branches : nose, skin, body hair, mucus
- Functions : accepts pure fluids from spleen, which are then mixed with air, and circulated through the meridians, circulates Wei Qi
Looking at the branches of a tree it can be seen that each larger branch splits in two. Each smaller branch then splits in two, and so and so on until the branches become leaves. Each leaf, then, begins with a single vein, then splits, by two, into smaller and smaller veins, until they reach the individual cells are exposed to the air. This is the same way the lungs are formed. Even more interesting is the relationship between trees and humans. Plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out O2, while humans and animals breathe in O2 and breathe out CO2. Thus trees can be considered, the lungs of the earth.
Lungs: Psycho-Emotional Aspects
It is said that the Lungs are "the priest" or The Minister of Heaven and are responsible for establishing the foundation of Qi for the entire body. The Lungs house the body's Seven Corporeal Souls (Po) and are responsible for self-protection and self-preservation. The Lungs positive psycho-emotional attributes are righteousness, dignity, integrity, and high self-esteem; their negative attributes are disappointment, sadness, grief, despair, anxiety, shame, and sorrow.
The Lung Channel Pathway, Acupuncture Points, and Internal Trajectories
The lung channel begins deep in the solar plexus region (middle burner) and descends to meet the large intestine. Winding up past the stomach, it crosses the diaphragm, divides, and enters the lungs. It then re-unites, passes up the middle of the windpipe to the throat and divides again, surfacing in the hollow region near the front of the shoulder (LU-1). From here it passes over the shoulder and down the anterior (front) aspect of the arm along the outer border of the biceps muscle. It reaches the outside of the biceps tendon in the elbow crease (LU-5), and continues down the forearm to the wrist just above the base of the thumb (LU-9). The channel crosses the height of the thumb muscle to finish at the corner of the thumbnail.
Internal Trajectories of the Lung Meridian
The Ling Shu describes the internal trajectories of the lung meridian thus:
The vessel of the lungs, hand tai yin, starts at the middle warmer. It comes down and then spirally wraps the large intestine. It then returns to and circles the entrance of the stomach, coming up, and permeates the lungs, then going to and coming out at the sides.
We may interpret this description in the following manner: The starting place is seen as CV-12 (middle of the stomach): from here it passes to CV-10 (exit of the stomach), then up to CV-13 (entrance of the stomach) then down to CV-9 (dividing place of water). Next it transverses the lower part of the large intestine, by way of the greater omentum or possibly the mesenterial folds, following the length of the large intestine and spirally wrapping it until it reaches the rectum. From here it returns to CV-13, then passes up to the lungs, permeating the lungs. It then follows the 'supporter of the lungs, the bronchii and trachea, to pass out to the surface at LU-1".
We can also view the first stages of the meridian as a spiral from a three-dimensional perspective:
Large intestine: Metal-energy yang organ
The large intestine is called the 'Minister of Transportation'. It controls the transformation of digestive wastes from liquid to solid state and transports the solids onwards and outwards for excretion through the rectum. It plays a major role in the balance and purity of bodily fluids and assists the lungs in controlling the skin's pores and perspiration.
Coupled with the lungs by Metal energy, the large intestine depends on the lungs for movement via the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm, which works like a pump to give impetus to peristalsis by regulating abdominal pressure. Thus sluggish bowels may be stimulated and constipation cured by deep diaphragmic breathing and by tonifying lung energy. Conversely, congested lungs and clogged bronchial passages may be cleared by purging the bowels.
- Paired Organ: Lungs
- Color: off-white
- Peak Hours: 5am-7am
- Physical Branches: nose, skin, body hair, mucus
- Functions: absorption of fluids, elimination of solid wastes
Large Intestine: Psycho-Emotional Aspects
The Large Intestine relationship to the Lungs makes it equally affected by the emotions of sadness, grief, and worry. An energetic imbalance in the Large Intestine can result in physical weakness and provoke emotional introversion, accompanied by feelings of depression, irritability, discouragement, distress and apathy. Strong emotions of fear or panic can produce an energetic-stool reflex reaction in the Large Intestine resulting in a spontaneous defecation.
The Large Intestine Channel Pathway, Acupuncture Points, and Internal Trajectories
The large intestine channel begins by the outside corner of the index fingernail. It runs along the edge of the finger, between the two tendons of the thumb at the wrist joint (LI-5) and along the bony margin of the outer edge of the arm (the radius bone) to the elbow. The point LI-11 is situated at the outside of the elbow crease, which is visible when the arm is bent. From here the channel continues to the point LI-15 on the outside of the shoulder muscle. It then crosses the shoulder blade and meets the governing vessel below the 7th cervical vertebrae at point GV-14. It descends internally to connect first with the lung and then the large intestine. From the shoulder a branch travels upward over the muscle at the side of the neck (sterno-cleido-mastoid) to the cheek, passing through the lower gums, then over the top lip. It terminates beside the opposite nostril, where it links to the stomach channel.
Internal Trajectories of the Large Intestine Meridian
The Ling Shu describes the internal trajectories of the Large Intestine meridian thus:
It comes into ST-12, down to and spirally wrapping the lungs, then down to the diaphragm, and then permeates the large intestine.
We may interpret this description in the following manner: From ST-12 the trajectory passes to and spirally wraps the lungs; then, following the aorta, it passes downward through the diaphragm. Here it splits to permeate the large intestine. Several commentators, including Hua Shuo, think that this trajectory involves ST-25.
Excercise for strengthening Vishuddha Chakra - Throat
Step by Step
1. Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body.
2. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor.
3. On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don't harden the buttocks.
4. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
5. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.
The fish pose is the natural successor of the shoulder stand and should be used as a counter pose to the stand. The pose implies a compression of the spine and neck to counter the stretch obtained while in the shoulder stand or Bridge and Plough poses.
There are several benefits of this pose. It helps expand the chest cavity, allowing the lungs to take in more air and to become more accustomed to deep breathing techniques. It also strengthens the neck muscles, makes the nerves more responsive and increases spinal flexibility.
To execute this pose lie on the floor with the back and legs straight and close together. The spine should be straight and parallel to the floor. The arms should be straight, position under the thighs. The palms should be together, stuck to the floor while the elbows are as close to one another as possible.
Press the elbows onto the floor and arch the back while inhaling deeply. Keep the weight of the body on the elbows and move the head back until it reaches the floor. Exhale while holding this pose. Relax the legs and allow the chest to expand while inhaling deeply. To come out of the pose slowly lift the head and then release the pressure from the elbows.
This pose is very popular with yoga practitioners and is considered one of the best yoga asanas. However, to properly execute this pose deep breathing must be used otherwise it will be little more than an acrobatic looking position. This pose was adopted by gymnasiums and sports training facilities and can be performed by both men and women with maximum efficiency.
The pose begins by lying on the back. The legs should be straight and close together, while the arms are parallel to the torso. Next raise the legs towards the ceiling, and point the toes upward. Allow the weight of the body to rest on the neck muscles and the deltoid muscles of the shoulders. Support the back and legs into the vertical position by allowing the hands to give the lower back the balance it needs. Breathe deeply while going into the pose.
The pose should be held with the legs and spine straight. Breathe slowly and deeply while concentrating on the thyroid gland which is located in the neck. The shoulder stand has profound effects on this gland and increases its tone. Hold this pose for a couple of minutes for the best effects.
To come out of the pose curve the back and knees simultaneously and lower them to the ground. Remove the hands and place them flat on the floor. When the back is flat on the floor straighten the knees and lower the legs gently.