YOGAmotion Blog

Meridians & Energy Flow (Ki) in Japanese yoga

May 7 2017

Japanese Yoga – working with the Energy Network of the Body

What are ‘meridians’ in the body?

In Japanese yoga, and similarly in accupuncture or zen shiatsu, when we refer to ‘meridians’, we are referring to the energy channels ‘transporting’ life energy (Ki) throughout the body. Blockages in the body lead to lack of energy supply to certain areas, or a surplus of energy in others. We can use the body’s meridians to treat various conditions and optimise health.

Energy blockages can be the result of an injury, stress or lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise, diet, addictions and substance abuse and can be traced to the root of the body’s health issues.

Our energy flow affects our overall health, how we feel & how we think. When the body’s life-force energy becomes blocked, various imbalances result.

For centuries, in Japan, China, India and other countries, life has been considered as a bio-electrical energy phenomenon.  It is due to the existence of this energy in our body that we can move, breathe, digest food, think and even feel.

Meridians and The Five Elements

Each Meridian is related to an Element: Fire, Earth, Metal, Wood or Water.

In Japanese yoga, understanding the five elements, gives us tools for working with the body in a therapeutic way. It allows us to achieve balance in the body, optimising health and our immune systems.


Fire II Element: Triple Heater Meridian & Pericardium Meridian

Wood Element: Gallbladdder & Liver Meridian

Water Element: Kidney & Bladder Meridian

Metal Element: Lung & Large Intestine Meridian

Fire I Element: Small Intestine & Heart Meridian

Earth Element: Stomach & Spleen Meridian

Ki  is composed of two kinds of forces – yin and yang. When there is harmony and balance between these two forces a person remains in good health. 

If the balance is disturbed ie, if the flow of one of these forces is greater than the other, illness arises. These forces or energies flow through specific channels in the body, called ‘merdians’. Essentially they are the healing pathways within the body.

By working with the body’s meridians in Japanese yoga,  we bring about balance, optimum health and well-being. Japanese yoga works with all the merdians within the body, focussing on specific meridians according to the needs of the participants in the class, the seasons and the time of day or night.

The 12 primary, paired meridians complement each other –
one is Yin (energy flowing up ↑), and the other is
Yang (energy flowing down ↓).

Below are the 6 yang and 6 yin meridians forming complementary pairs. This meridian pairing is the basis of how we harmonise the body systems in our yoga.

↓ Stomach meridian (yang) flows to the ↑ Spleen meridian (yin)
↑ Heart meridian (yin) flows to the ↓ Small Intestine meridian (yang)
↓ Bladder meridian (yang) flows to the ↑ Kidney meridian (yin)
↑ Pericardium meridian (yin) flows to ↓ Triple Warmer meridian (yang)
↓ Gallbladder meridian (yang) flows to the ↑ Liver meridian (yin)
↑ Lung meridian (yin) flows to the ↓ Large Intestine meridian (yang)

Join our upcoming yoga workshop – where we further explore the theory of yin and yang, the 5 Element theory and the meridians in Japanese yoga followed by just over an hour of dynamic Japanese yoga & meditation .

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