Sunday, 25 May 2014

Yin Yoga Meridian Class

Donna showing us the 'churn the butter' asana
I'm glad that my #HYTTManila co-teacher Jayme Timbol pulled me to attend Donna Esteban's Yin Yoga Meridian Master Class at Yoga+ Makati.

Each month, Donna conducts a two-hour class focusing on specific organs. And this Saturday, she focused on the kidneys and urinary bladder.

As you know, we have two kidneys located in the lower back. The kidney functions to remove waste products from the blood, regulate water fluid levels (works with the urinary bladder) and produce blood-vessel protein (angiotensin) to regulate the blood pressure. 

Donna said that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), aging signifies depletion of the kidneys. She stressed that the kidney is the basis for the body's reproduction and development; and receives and stores essence from the other organs. As our body's organs decline with age, the essence stored in the kidney depletes and eventually, our bones and tendons weaken, the hair turns gray, loss of memory, prolonged lower back issues, over fatigue and exhaustion to the point that there is no longer will. 

Meridians focus on specific channels that conduct energy throughout the body. If the flow is blocked, the body will not function properly.  As we age, she suggested an exercise to stimulate and balance the kidneys (watch video below).  

It is interesting to note that there were a lot of students in the class and I am pretty sure that most of them like me, have taken Donna's advise to heart and do the set of kidney exercises each morning. This just means that people are becoming more open to alternative healing modalities and now accepting yoga, specifically yin yoga, as a form of therapy. 

I am currently practicing kundalini yoga and one of the benefits of the practice is the ability to control and move energy. In kundalini yoga, applying the tantric/yogic tradition of Chakras or energy points in the subtle body, the kidney and urinary bladder including the reproductive organs and glands are part of the Second Chakra, the Sacral Chakra. This chakra is located at the lower abdomen below the navel and is represented by the Water element. The second chakra is the seat of emotions, where all our experiences associated with love and hate are stored.  The water element signifies the aspects of flow. It is said that if we are not fully connected to this chakra, physiological problems occur (which surprisingly is related to TCM) - lower back, ob/gynecological, pelvis, libido and urinary ; and emotionally, difficulty in creativity, manifestation, honoring relationships, obsessions, addictions, oversensitive, manipulative and  learning to 'let go' arise. The signs of a weak connection are jealousy, guilt, possessiveness and shallow relationships. 

Kundalini yoga has sets of exercises (or kriyas) and meditations to enhance the flow of the energy and address specific issues such as in this case, the kidneys, the urinary bladder, the second chakra. I'm confident that in due time, kundalini yoga will likewise be accepted as a form of healing modality. Meantime, I will continue learning and studying about meridians. 

Donna's next Yin Yoga Meridians Master Class is on June 14 (Liver and Gall Bladder) and July 12 (Heart and Small Intestine). 

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