Written by Sophie Nusselder
Yin for the liver and gallbladder
Spring is in the air in Europe. The season of plants which are sprouting new growth, the season of aliveness. The predominate atmospheric energy in this season, the Wood time of year, is Wind. The season of the liver and the gallbladder. This blog is about these two organs, the next blog includes a yin practice targeting these meridians. May the wind blow through your hair, may you grow, bloom and blossom.
The liver (yin wood) and the gallbladder (yang wood) In the Chinese five element-theory the element “Wood” is associated with the organs and meridians Liver and Gall Bladder. The liver cleans and purifies anything that cannot be broken down. Besides being a filter for blood it also regulates the amount of blood in the circulation. When your physical activity increases, your body will order more output of blood from the liver to maintain the appropriate pace. While the heart governs the flow of blood, it is the liver that stores and releases it. Therefore the Liver can be seen as the General of an Army who strategically and harmoniously guides the chi everywhere within your body and doing so it balances out your emotions. Where the kidneys are responsible for the vibrant quality of inner energy, the Liver governs the overall healthy flow of energy which is important for the vitality of all parts of your body.
The liver controls the peripheral nervous system, which regulates muscular activity and tension. The inability to relax is often caused by liver dysfunction or imbalance in Wood energy. Liver energy also controls ligaments and tendons, which together with muscles regulates motor activity and determine physical coordination. Liver function is reflected externally in the condition of the finger-and toenails and by the eyes and vision. Blurry vision is often a result of liver malfuntion rather than an eye problem.
Growth and development, drive and desires, ambition and creativity Through it’s association with wood energy, the liver governs growth and development, drive and desires, ambition and creativity. Obstruction of the liver energy can cause intense feelings of frustration, rage, and anger, and these emotions in turn further disrupt liver energy and suppress liver function, in a vicious self-destructive cycle. 
Making plans and decisions Paired with the liver, the Gall Bladder stores and excretes bile. In Chinese medicine, bile is considered to be Liver chi, not the bi product of the liver’s digestion of fats, as it’s believed in the West. Together with the Liver, the Gall Bladder builds and controls the blood and your overall chi levels. The Gall Bladder determines what is good and not good for your body and mind. With the Liver they determine your capacity of discernment, making plans and decisions in order to act correctly for your own well-being.
Liver and Gall Bladder Meridians The Liver Meridian starts at the inside of the nail of the big toe and runs along the top of the foot. Goes up at the front of the ancle and then continious to the inside of the leg (running just below the Spleen Meridian) until is reaches the pubic area. From here is curves around the external genitalia and enters the lower abdomen, where it enters the liver and the gallbladder. Rising it spreads in several directions, one branch connects with the Lung Meridian. Going further, the Liver Meridian goes through the throat and connects with the eyes before they separate again. One branch flows down across the cheeks and lips, while another branch goes through the forehead to the crown.
Liver meridian disharmony: Lower back pain, abdominal pain or mental disturbance may be a sign of disharmony in the Liver. Frequent or unreasonable anger or irritation can also be a sign of dysfunction.
The Gall Bladder meridian starts at the outer corner of the eye (near the liver meridian which passes through the center of the eye) and immediately branches into two lines. A main branch remains on the surface and flows back and forth to the side of the head and above the ear, before turning down along the back of the neck. Then, following the top of the shoulder, passes under the arm and moves in zigzags on the side of ribs to the hips. The other branch enters the cheek and down the liver and gallbladder. From there descends more and meets the first branch on the front of the hip. The unified line then descends along the outer side (lateral) thigh and knee, until it reaches the ankle. It flows into the top of the foot until it reaches the fourth toe, yet another branch flows from the ankle on the top of the foot and meets with the Liver meridian in the big toe of the foot.
Disharmony of the Gall Bladder meridian: Lateral headache, blurred vision and pain on the lateral side of the body, including eyes, ears and throat may be an indication of problems with the Gallbladder meridian. www.lieske.com/channels/5e liver.htm  The complete guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark
Picture 1: www.betuwefotograaf.nl / Picture 2: www.webmd.com
 www.lieske.com/channels/5e liver.htm
 The complete guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark