Igniting the Heart ~ Exploring the Pericardium & Triple Burner Meridians
Reasons the heart is magical from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) viewpoint - exploring the pericardium & triple burner meridians.
As mentioned in the last couple of blog posts on seasonal self care, each of the seasons relates to a different element and a Yin & Yang pair of organs and meridians in the body. The fire element and season of summer are quite special though, because they have not 2 but 4 corresponding meridians or energetic channels! Besides the heart & small intestine, summer also relates to the pericardium & triple burner meridians.
The Pericardium (aka the heart protector): is an incredible little sac membrane that quite literally surrounds and protects the heart (how cool is that?!). In TCM a purely structural, Western view of the organ doesn't capture it's true essence however, and the way it interacts with other organs - the relationship between different organs and systems in the body is very important.
In some texts the pericardium is known as “The court jester who makes the king [Heart] laugh, bringing forth joy.” It's purpose energetically is to protect the heart and discriminate which energies are allowed into this most sacred and vulnerable area, a gatekeeper to one of the softest and most special places on earth.
When the pericardium meridian isn't in balance we may struggle to tune in with our intuition and heart's greatest desires - instead looking outside ourselves for answers to that which we already know. To try and strengthen our inner flame it's useful to create space and quiet to allow our intuition to speak - practicing meditation or Yin yoga can be invaluable for this.
The Triple Burner: The triple heater or burner has no physical, structural counterpart in Western medicine but it is essential for us to live harmoniously. It's function is thermo regulation - the heating and cooling of our entire system. It has 23 acupuncture points and is said to regulate (among other things) our stress and immune system responses.
Split into three different branches, the upper burner regulates intake through head, heart, pericardium, throat and lungs. The middle burner is concerned with transformation and is linked to the stomach, spleen, liver and gallbladder. The lower burner governs elimination and is linked to the kidneys, bladder and reproductive organs.
In our very yang, fast paced society it's common to experience an imbalance with the triple heater, which could show up as insomina, fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, depression or fatigue. In order to help balance the fire element and the energy of the triple burner it is useful to slow down our activities and try to create more space in the diary for digestion, down time and really savouring our daily little victories and joy - creating more space to let love in.
Yoga poses that stimulate the fire element and pericardium & triple heater meridians include lots of focus on upper body and opening the arms and heart. They include:
~Melting heart pose
~Reclined butterfly with arms wide open
~Cat Pulling It's Tail
~Shoulder opening pose
~Shoelace with garudasana arms
~Supported bridge with prop under thoracic spine
Those of you subscribed to my mailing list can expect a sweet little flow including some of these coming to your inbox soon! You can subscribe to my mailing list via the home page.
Had you heard of the pericardium prior to this, and how are you navigating the summer season? Feel free to share below in the comments.