Lesson 9: Wood
Aggressive, dominant, bold, ambitious and fiercely competitive. Wood types are driven by invisible forces that compel them to stay in motion, constantly seeking out new challenges and adventures. Wood types express their feelings directly, in an effective manner. They are abundantly energetic in approach. While their roots driven deep, the potential is unlimited. They are blessed with vision and the ability to plan ahead.
The predominant emotion is anger, which is considered by Qi Gong practitioners healthy as long as it is balanced and clearly expressed. As a natural reaction to stress build up, anger helps releasing emotions and clear up the air. On the other hand, if not released, it will build up into a damaging explosion.
The organs associated with the wood element are the liver and gallbladder.
“Liver stores blood. During the day the liver provides the blood for movement and activities, si that the blood can circulate through the channels. At night, when one sleeps, the blood returns to the liver. When the liver is nourished by the blood, one can see. When the feet are perfused with blood, one can walk. When the hands are nourished by blood, they can grasp. When the fingers are provided with blood, one can carry’ – The Yellow Emperor Classic
Imbalances in the Wood Energy
When an imbalance occurs, it is usually associated either with too much energy or too less. Therefore, we have two potential categories of imbalances:
Due to the fact that wood types push themselves to the limit, excess wood energy (overly yang behavior) will affect both the liver and gallbladder. They tend to become overly aggressive, trying to push through the obstacles in the way, while being insensitive to others’ opinions. The inner tensions is manifested in physical symptoms as tight, digestive disturbances, headaches, rigidity.
Anger is focused inward, feelings of shame and humiliation take over the body and mind. Stagnation starts to manifest dangerously, lack of energy. Imagine a plant without water or enough soil, it becomes to weaken until it dies. One of the main physical clues is chronic tension in the neck and shoulders and sleep disturbances (insomnia).
The time when the wood’s energy is the most intense it between 11pm and 3am. Some people with imbalances in the Wood energy wake up between these hours, feeling disturbed. A Qi Gong practitioner always knows when his/her levels of energy are high or low, incorporating this knowledge in the lifestyle.
Spring is the season when all life comes back again. Observing the energy of the spring may be very healing for you. As Lao Tzu mentions in the Tai Te Ching: “The hard and stiff will be broken, the soft and supple will prevail.”