In recent years Yin Yoga has become increasingly popular with its relaxing, regenerating effects. If you wish to delve deeper here, you cannot avoid studying Traditional Chinese Medicine and Meridian Theory. And that is extremely exciting, as certain life’s issues are related to meridians. We can work on these topics, if we stimulate the corresponding meridians in the Yin postures.
In simpler terms, meridians are energy channels through which our life energy flows. In TCM, each meridian is assigned to a systemic organ supplying the area it covers and corresponding organs with energy. That this energy can flow freely and sufficiently in the meridians is vital for our health and inner balance.
Thus, the lung meridian stands for a confident, open and positive perspective on life. When life’s principle of the lung meridian is well developed, we feel connected to the flow of life and our outlook towards the future is positive. It ensures a tailwind and a good mood. Hereby, this is symbolized by raised thumbs, where the course of the lung meridian ends over the inner side of the arm.
Should there be a disruption here, or the life principle of the lung meridian poorly developed, we tend to have a more pessimistic attitude towards life. We run out of air quickly, little things take our breath away. We may also feel thin-skinned, over-sensitive and take many things personally.
In TCM, the skin belongs to the lung function circuit; it also breathes and forms the boundary of our body. The question here is whether we are able to set healthy boundaries. Those who can set clear border lines feel comfortable in their own skin. Those who can say “no” to others when necessary are saying “yes” to themselves. By respecting our own and others' boundaries, we are also able to truly connect with them, and to enter into a conscious, lively exchange. A strong lung meridian enjoys communicating and to be in contact with others.
At the same time in TCM, grief is the emotion that has the greatest impact on the lungs. If life’s principle of the lung meridian is well developed, people can grieve in a natural way, i.e. process past events and let go. If this is not the case, one prefers to hold onto the past and the sad experiences. Here meditation can be helpful to let the past rest and arrive in the present moment. Or even better: Going into a Yin position that stimulates the lung meridian (e.g. a gentle back bend over a bolster with arms wide open and palms turned up) in conjunction with gentle breathing meditation.
At the same time, it is possible in the TCM that an "emotional blockage" could first discharge itself and tears begin to flow. In my experience, however, this is often an important step towards a real heart opening, to feel an inner stillness and presence, and of being connected to life. And that is the ultimate goal of any Yoga practice, be it Yin or Hatha Yoga. The great thing is: There are so many Yogic ways to get there nowadays and we can choose the one that suits us best.
About the author Ranja Weis:
Ranja is one of the best yoga teachers in Germany. Together with Patrick Broome, she runs two yoga studios in Munich, where she teaches Yin Yoga, Vinyasa and Yoga Nidra. Her spiritual path is shaped by yoga and meditation, as well as by working with shamans. Therefore, techniques such as trance work and various forms of energy work are also part of her classes.