The Spring Wood Element is associated with our tendons, and our ability to be flexible, both in life and in body. The Wood Element moves along the outer sides of the body and the insides of our legs, it helps us bend sideways with comfort and rotate our torso with ease. When Wood Energy is smooth, we can move freely in any direction without stiffness or pain, our emotions are stable, and our digestion is strong.
It is important to remember in any stretch, particularly involving the back: DO NOT FORCE THE STRETCH. DO NOT GO BEYOND THE STRETCH THAT YOUR BODY WISHES TO GO. It is NOT important how far you can go in a stretch, what is more important is the form of your movement.
STRETCHING THE SIDES OF THE BODY
Stretch the hands away from the feet. Inhale, then on the exhale bend to one side, your top hand stretching away from the same side foot. Aim for length, rather than crunching the bent side. You should feel this as a stretch of the side of the top armpit, ribs and waist. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then slowly exhale back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
SEATED EASY TWIST
Begin seated evenly on a stable chair. The weight of the body should be even on both sides of the buttocks. Breathe in and straighten the top of the head up to the ceiling, exhale, and using your torso muscles, gently twist the torso to one side. Buttocks stay evenly on the seat, place on hand on the opposite thigh toward the twist, the other hand toward the back of the chair. On each inhale, aim to lengthen the spine a little more, and on each exhale aim to twist a little more. The twist comes from the muscles in the torso moving from the base of the spine first, then up – DON’T lead with your head. Once you feel comfortable, turn the head to follow the twist, and using the eyes, try to look as far behind you as you can. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then inhale and SLOWLY return to centre. Rest there for a couple of breaths to allow the spine and the eyes to settle then repeat on the other side.
Introduce some of these stretches into your day as the season starts to shift, to smooth your transition from the Yin of Winter to the Yang of Spring!