Spring is in the air. Robins and red winged blackbirds can be heard chirping and seen flying and hopping all over Lansing. Green shoots are coming up from the ground. Red buds are on the trees, promising new growth. This is the Wood element at it’s best. Shiatsu Five Elements Theory. Wood. The color green. Growth. Life. Stretching and creating and moving.
The color green also corresponds to our heart chakra. Our fourth major chakra. A space of allowing healing, expression, openness and growth potential.
As we grow and stretch from a long cold, Michigan winter, we find ourselves stretching upward toward the sun just like the budding trees. The upward growth requires a firm root. Trees in the north grow up and up and up toward the sun. To stay alive and keep growing requires the tree to have a deep, well spread root system.
We cannot see the root system of the tree. We can only see the rough, brown bark and the deep green leaves. We do not see it’s red, root chakra, grounding and holding firmly onto the earth. What we cannot see is so very important.
Without the root system, the tree that is reaching up toward the sky, would tumble over and die. Without the root system, the tree would not take in nutrients and moisture from the soil. The root system, all that is typically unseen to the human eye, is critical to the success of the tree.
So, too, functions our human root system! We must find a space of deep breathing and grounding into the earth, in order for our Wood element to thrive and reach up toward the sky. To keep from moving too fast and having our growth outpace our roots, we must focus on rooting down into the earth.
To keep you grounded and nurtured during this time of Spring growth and turbulence, try one of these three practices:
Quick Check – 5 mins – Sit on your floor in a cross legged position, or, close your eyes while seated at your desk. Focus on rooting down through your tailbone. Imagine that you have long, silver roots, coming down from the base of your spine and stretching 10 feet into the earth. Take a deep inhale, and an equally full and deep exhale. Extend the roots 30 feet more. Inhale. Exhale. Hold onto this space as you move throughout your day.
Self Care – 15 mins – “Earthing” aka walking barefoot on the earth! Find a patch of earth outside your home or office. Slowly, practice walking with your inhales and exhales, one foot in front of the other, rolling from the heel to the toe. Feel the earth. It’s OK if it is squishy! Feel the squish. Feel the soil and the grass. Coordinate your breath with your steps. Try to even out the weight in your feet. Close your eyes and practice moving with intention, feeling the earth and knowing it is part of you and you are part of it.
Create Self Intimacy – 30 mins – Lie down on your bed or floor or a bodywork mat.
Hug yourself into a ball. Allow your tailbone to soften down toward the floor. Holding your legs outside of your shins, press your shins into your arms to stretch the front of your hips.
Gently, lower your feet to the earth, keeping your knees bent.
Bring your feet about 6-10 inches apart, or just outside of the line that runs from your hips straight down to your feet. Allow your knees to gently fall to one side, and then the other, keeping your feet rooted, in a windshield wiper motion.
Bring your right foot on top of your left thigh bone, just above the knee. Lift your left foot off of the mat and hug your left knee in toward your chest, while opening your right thigh bone out and away. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Stretch your legs down and place your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your heart. Release any tension held in your belly. Release.
Inhale, and exhale, focus on lengthening the breath. Try to inhale to a 10 count, and exhale to the same count. Maybe work up to 20, maybe not. Keep it slow and steady.
Release the hands and the breath. Begin a slow body scan from your feet, all the way through each piece of your body, checking in and seeing where any tension is held and any tightness exists. Breathe into the tight spaces, inhaling to feel the tightness, and exhaling to release.
Allow yourself to rest and restore for 5 minutes. Falling asleep is OK. Take this time for you, so that you can be of service to the world.