February Focus Week 3: The element of Water (Apas)
Winter season, Water element.
Organs and Meridians : Kidneys and bladder
“Water is the softest material element, but it penetrates the mountains and the earth and sculpts the rock. This clearly proves the power of the principle that softness can overcome hardness.”Lao Tsu
Winter is the time of the year when everything becomes darker and colder. It is the most yin season of the year.
During winter, some animals hibernate; preserving their energy, not wasting it… trees have already shed their leaves in order to store energy. The whole process takes place deep inside the earth, the roots, the most yin parts of the trees. There, they gather all the nutrients and it is there where metamorphosis happens, so when spring arrives, they will have the strength to generate leaves and fruit.
There is an external calmness and stillness during winter. Whatever happens, it happens internally… And nature’s message is that as much as you need to use your energy, i.e. to live, it is equally wise to store it.
It is the time to store, to rest, to sleep more and to see life differently – to get in touch with silence, with what’s inside and with all the lessons and wisdom that it can teach us…
Winter is the season of water. In winter, the basic element that is manifested and revealed is water, rain…
Water constantly changes, moves, flows. When it doesn’t flow, it stagnates.
Observe the water element inside of you. The quality of the change-evolution, how easily you can accept change and flow with it…
What is it that prevents us from moving? From going forward, from changing?
It is fear. Justified or not. Fear of heights or depths, fear of death. In Chinese philosophy and medicine, fear dwells in the kidneys. The kidneys represent the element of water in the body. They filter and clean the blood. They break down nutrients and whatever we do not need is excreted through the bladder. The Chi of the kidneys is responsible for the movement and energy of all liquids in the body, from tears and sweat to the lymph, blood, hormones etc.
While the kidneys are the source of fear, they also are the storage room of primal wisdom and primal energy (jing), of the knowledge of who and what you really are. Through this wisdom, self-observation and acceptance, we can observe fear and realize its illusion, embrace it, embrace our own selves with gentleness and acceptance, and feel fear fading.
Kidneys are responsible for the flow of liquids that “lubricate” the joints and the physical body in general, so that it remains flexible without blockages, and in that sense, they are also responsible for the emotional and mental flexibility and lack of attachment and patterns.
In order to overcome fear and be able to change, in order to flow with life, you need some mental abilities, an inner will and a healthy ambition, qualities that are also considered by Chinese philosophy and medicine to dwell in the kidneys
The Chakras they affect is Muladhara and Svadhistana (1st and 2nd).
They rule the reproductive organs, sexuality, lower back health and urinary system; they clean the blood and preserve the levels of energy vitality in the body. It is the energy warehouse with which we are born. If we spend it, life changes – it ceases.
The nature cycle of life that they represent is Storage, Preservation.
The emotions they affect are fear and wisdom. They are expressed through the ears and hair, their colour is blue and the taste is salty (in balance). The tissues that are affected are the bones (marrow), the teeth, and they are responsible for the lubrication of all the joints. The corresponding weather condition is cold.
By Betty Papadopoulou,
οf the Neda Yoga Shala Team