One such lifestyle and tradition I have been heavily drawn to is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). At a time when I was in transition, moving away from my young partying ways to a cleaner and healthier way of life and just beginning my journey with yoga, I came across these two books which really resonated for me…
Higher and Higher& The Perfect Day Planby Jost Sauer.
Acupuncture and TCM are based on the Meridian Theory. Meridians are the energetic pathways throughout the body, similarly to the physical nervous system, that carry the life force or Chi energy to different organs. In yoga, we would refer to it as Prana moving along the nadis.
These two books introduced me to the Meridian Clock where every 2 hours the Chi moves to a different organ of the body and if we are to do particular activities during these times we can support the health of the organ and the flow of Chi around the body.
Recently when I began to suffer from a bout of insomnia and kept waking at around 3am - 430am regularly, I knew something was out of balance and if I could get back in time with the Meridian clock as much as possible that I could restore my good night's sleep patterns which happened within a few days of adjusting my routine.
3am – 5am: Lungs. The Meridian clock is said to begin here as this is the first organ we use when we take our first breath of life. At this time it is said the soul is returning from the dream state where we may have been during sleep. It is a yin time, and insomnia at this time could suggest we are yin deficient. If not yin deficient, we can utilise this time to connect with the soul, interpret our dreams, meditate or practice yoga. But for most, this time is probably best used for sleep.
5am – 7am: Large Intestine. This is the time when “we can cut out what we no longer want, vanquish our inner demons and win the battles that will help change our lives.” A perfect time to sit on the loo for a regular bowel movement and letting go of the old ;) After which we can then replace the old with the new, through meditation, yoga, qigong and/or weight-bearing exercise.
7am – 9am: Stomach. The perfect time to sit for 10 minutes and eat something nourishing and warming. “Our taste for life comes from our stomach, so by eating the right breakfast with the right attitude we will naturally want to sample everything life has to offer.”
9am – 11am: Spleen. At this time, the spleen gives you full support for action and it is the best time to concentrate and memorise information. Hence, its the perfect time to put your head down and plough into your work and studies.
11am - 1pm: Heart. The best time to express yourself is when the chi is in your heart, a time all about purpose and joy as we have access to the soul. Spend some time doing what you love or thinking about what you want, journaling, setting spiritual goals, speaking with people about whats closest to your heart or who you are. If at work, work smarter not harder as the energy moves from yang in spleen time to yin in heart time.
1pm – 3pm: Small Intestine. Slow down a little. Have lunch and a siesta if you can. Make lunch something warm and celebratory to nourish your blood, Chi and organs. “Our small intestine is paired with our heart, and it too plays a role in ‘editing’ how we present to the world. Physically, it is responsible for separating the pure and impure and sending the latter to the large intestine for excretion… The small intestine gives us mental clarity and wisdom.”
3pm – 5pm: Bladder. 330itis could be a sign we are not in the flow of our Chi. At this time we want to “put cruise control on, go with the flow and feel the power.” Do work that is enjoyable and not hard, such as the easier tasks of the day in a non-urgent manner.
5pm – 7pm: Kidney. Time to switch off, if we can or “keep reminding yourself that this is kidney time, a time when everything is fine, everything is good, everything is perfect. Time spent well here can ensure a good night’s sleep. A great time to acknowledge our skills and strength, share a laugh and have a massage or sex ;) …. All allow us to make the switch from yang to yin. “By 7pm you need to have consciously handed over the quarrels and stresses of the day to the motherly embrace of your kidneys. Otherwise you will be taking the stresses to bed.” Exercise is not a recommended way to switch off in the way your kidneys need.
7pm – 9pm: Pericardium. This is the membrane around the heart. It is said to be the line of defence that protect the heart. This focus on protection and safety makes it the perfect time to feel at home, get creative (read a book, listen to music etc), be yourself and have a light dinner. Getting changed is a great way to be yourself after a day at work.
9pm – 11pm: Triple Burner or San Jiao. This is a mysterious organ, with much debate as to whether it is an organ or a function? Either way it is important to the chi cycle. This is the time for sleep, or at least preparing for it and allowing yourself to drift away.
11pm – 1am: Gall Bladder. “Being asleep between 11pm and 3am, the four hours of the wood element, is crucial for health and happiness…. If we are asleep during gall bladder time we can actually access the universe’s problem-solving service.” Lack of sleep at this time is a sure sign of being out of alignment with the chi cycle and an important sign that building yin is necessary.
1am – 3am: Liver. Restoration time. The time of most yin when we too should be yin and sleeping. “While we sleep our blood returns to the liver to be cleansed and revitalised.”
“The more things we do right by one organ, the better our whole system works.”