Last Updated on April 4, 2024

We frequently mention the 5 Elements (sometimes referred to as the 5 Phases) in our practices but rarely go beyond identifying correspondences to season and meridians. There’s an awful lot the 5 Element framework. 5 Element Theory arose in Taoist thought and philosophy through the observation of nature and its cycles. The Taoists wanted to understand how the universe worked and how everything related to us as human beings. They observed the heavens, the seasons, the weather, the animals, and all natural phenomena to come up with a theory of ‘everything’, or rather a very complex understanding of all phenomena. A simpler way perhaps is the acceptance that everyone and everything is connected .. or better .. inter-connected.

The typical way we go about creating a 5 Elements themed practice goes something like this….

  1. Start with element for the current season and establish a set of candidate forms that are used to cultivate energy flow in the meridians corresponding to the element.
  2. Decide whether to do a Yin practice, a Yang practice, or (most often) a combined practice. The ordinary meridians are paired Yin and Yang …ie. Wood element works with the Yin Liver Meridian and the Yang Gallbladder meridian. Because we draw from many different traditions, the list of candidate forms is usually quite large!
  3. Assuming a combined practice, narrow the list to identify forms for each meridian.
  4. We generally use from 12-20 forms in the main part of our sessions. There are 5 pairs of ordinary meridians plus the Pericardium and Triple Burner – we just pull those in with the Fire element. So, simple math would give us 2 forms per element.
  5. Variations … we like to bookend, finishing and ending with the element of the current season .. for example — Wood/Fire/Earth/Metal/Water/Wood which would cause us to exceed 20 forms — nothing wrong with that except we need to meet a time constraint for classes, so one approach would be to limit the bookends to a single form for each meridian in the pair. There is no one way to do!
  6. In selecting the forms, we look at how they flow together within the element group and the suitability in terms of complexity to teach to a large group. We’re not specifically teaching qigong or tai chi — they are just tools in the toolkit. We keep it simple and try to cue such that even someone doing their first session can follow along.
Nugget #3 - Movement to Improve Circulation
Just watch...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *