Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Five Elements

Last week I wrote about the Eight Gates, which form the foundation of the I Ching, better known as the Book of Change. The permutations of the eight trigrams, which are combinations of the yin broken line and the yang unbroken line, form the 64 trigrams used in the Book of Change. The Book of Change has been used for over 2000 years by enlightened ones interested in unlocking the mysteries of life. The concept of yin and yang can also be viewed as negative and positive. All things in the world we know vibrate at different frequencies - which means there is a yin and yang in everything.

Centuries ago Chinese and Korean naturalists developed the theory of the five elements - Earth, Fire, Wood, Water and Metal - as guiding principles for wellness diagnosis and therapy. This dynamic interaction of yin and yang
in the human body is divided into two groups of five yin organs and six yang organs. Each of the yin and yang organs is identified with one of the elements. The heart (yin) and small intestine (yang) are associated with fire, the spleen (yin) and the stomach (yang) with earth, the lungs (yin) and large intestine (yang) with metal, the kidney (yin) and bladder (yang) with water, and the liver (yin) and gall bladder (yang) with wood.

Energy treatments and training make use of the vibration of yin and yang by using sound, movement and touch to bring balance and harmony to the body. In Tai Chi, each of the fundamental movements represents one of the five elements. A step forward is identified with metal, withdrawal with wood, looking left is associated with water, looking right with fire and central equilibrium is connected to earth. Ki Energy treatments, such as Chunsu, use sound vibration and touch to balance internal organs and promote equilibrium in the entire body.

As part of the Harlem Relieve the Stress program, a four week project to get as many people started on paths of a healthier lifestyle, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the New York Road Runners will conduct four Relieve the Stress sessions at Historic Parks in Harlem. Dr Robert Woodbine will give Introduction to Tai Chi lessons, I’ll give Chunsu treatments, and there will be demonstrations of walking and running tips from NYRR coaches. The four sessions will lead up to the August 22nd Harlem Week Family Walk-A-Thon and the first annual Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run. For more information visit or, you can also call the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce at 212 862-7200.

I will also conduct a four week workshop entitled Introduction to the I Ching starting at 6pm on Tuesday, October 6th, at the City College Adult and Continuing Education program. To register call 212 650-7312. The yin and yang concept represents the dynamic interaction that creates all of reality. I invite you to learn how the basic understanding of this concept can improve the quality of your life.

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