Welcome to the first signs of spring.  Although it may still be cold in your parts, nature is beginning to wake up from its deep slumber and new life is stirring.

The Chinese character for the word spring is Chūn . It’s an image of the sun underneath a tree with grass on top.  The character speaks clearly: spring is yang (the sun), it’s the element of growth (wood), and it brings life (grass.)

Spring Character

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and qigong, spring is considered the beginning of the cycle of the seasons.  We welcome this time of year when nature is born again after the dark yin phase of winter. As the days are become longer, Mother Earth gives birth to the delightful aromas of fresh grasses and flowers. Spring’s rising yang energy supports growth, so it’s a good time for us to assume the movement of yang within ourselves.

While in winter we should sleep more, in spring we should be more active and focus on goals, start new projects, and encourage other people on their journeys.  Physically, spring is a great time to support liver detoxification and to strengthen the tendons and connective tissues.  Energetically, it’s a time to reboot our energy system so that we can restart the seasonal cycle with a clear mind.  Spiritually, spring is a special time to expand our vision, shift into new perspectives and focus on manifesting our highest potential.

Many qigong practices for spring come from dragon forms that use spirals and twists.  Most of these forms were developed through martial arts lineages that focused on creating a strong and flexible body.  I have developed a yoga-qigong YOQI video series which contains a super charged variety of seasonal practices which will detoxify, spiral, reboot and attune you to spring’s generous energy.

Your Spring Qigong Practice

Green Liver
Physically, spring qigong practices focus on the organs of the wood element: the liver and the gall bladder. The liver is the chief organ responsible for processing toxins in the body.  One of the liver's main jobs is to store the blood and filter toxic wastes from the bloodstream.  Another task is to produce many of the alkaline enzymes upon which immune response and other vital functions depend.  If the blood is constantly polluted by excess acid residues from a poor diet, alcohol and drugs, or excessive stress, the liver eventually gets overloaded with acid wastes and becomes deeply congested with toxic debris.  This results in qi stagnation which is experienced as tension, joint pain, headaches, physical weakness, painful menstruation.  Therefore, most qigong for the liver emphasize detoxification and purging.

Emotionally, our qigong will focus on transforming anger or frustration into forgiveness and kindness.  Our internal organs are reservoirs of energy.  In the Daoist healing tradition, both positive and negative emotions are associated with them.  The liver resonates with the emotional vibrations of anger and frustration.  Most of us know intuitively that if we are carrying around stress, anger, grief and emotional trauma, it has a direct effect on our body. 

Over time, the accumulation of too much anger creates heat in the liver, resulting in stagnation and impedes our potential.  One of the most powerful tools to transform negative emotions is vibration.  The Six Healing Sounds Qigong is a vibrational healing method that dates back to the fourth century. It is a foundational YOQI practice we use to transform negative emotions into positive virtues.

Energetically, spring supports your ability to expand your vision and see new perspectives.  The energy of spring supports growth, expansion, vision and creativity.  In Daoist metaphysics, these virtues resonate with the spirit of the liver called the Hun.  The Hun spirit shines through our eyes and gives us the energy to put things into perspective—to see the big picture.  Spring is a good time to break free from old programs, open to new ideas and set our Hun free.  It’s also a prime time to take new ideas and make them into practical plans.  Through this process of actualizing the Hun, we come to realize that the largest perspective includes the highest good of all beings.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons to practice a diversity of qigong forms and is one of the largest collections in my library.  If you are interested, you can learn more about how to choose practices from my blog.  I suggest that you focus on practicing quality over quantity.  With consistent dedication and skillful effort, your qi and inner light shall blossom.

May the life force be with you!

This is an original article by Marisa Cranfill. Her videos Six Healing Sounds and Qigong for Stress Relief, and 5-part series, YoQi Qigong Flow for Happy Organs, will be available fall 2020 published by YMAA Publication Center.