Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Somethings just are so. They can’t be proven and they can’t be explained, but we find that they are eternally true. Just like galaxies are all organized in the spiral form that expresses expansion and contraction. In all human traditions, dualism is understood to exist in this way. We find that there are many examples of this concept in our cultural understanding. In nature, however, it is found to exist in an actual phenomenon that expresses this common pattern of opposition.
Yin and Yang in Shiatsu
In Shiatsu it is expressed with the concept of Yin and Yang. The essence of yang is expansion. It is essentially a force that distributes things away from density to dissipation. Its ultimate effect is to create a state of emptiness, referred to as Kyo. It is the opposite of gravity, as it moves centrifugally in a spiral away from a central point. On the other hand, Yin is the force of contraction. It is a centripetal force that moves to concentrate toward density. Its ultimate effect is to create fullness which the Japanese call Jitsu as a reference to its density. In this way, there is a recursive relationship in which yin produces yang, and yang produces yin in an already always process of transformation between dissipation and concentration. Said another way, between expansion and contraction.
Both Kyo and Jitsu, respectively representing Yin and Yang are conditions found to the touch or finger pressure in shiatsu applied on the body. These represent the universal forces of expansion (to create emptiness) and contraction (to create fullness) that are mirrored in the natural world. Through Shiatsu we strive to create a balance of these forces in the body.
Expansion and Contraction in the Body
The body is also understood in terms of how expansion and contraction function. In the gross body, the back of the body is considered Yang. In the womb, the back o the fetus is expanding and it creates a structure that then encloses and protects the organs. The front of the body of the fetus is Yin because it spiraled in a contraction around Hara, or center of the abdomen, and the organs there that are most exposed to the world.
Other obvious examples of expansion and contraction found in the observable actions of respiration, circulation, digestion, elimination, and reproduction, as well as the muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia which allow the body to move the bones which a structure which can be moved in the environment. Lastly the very actions of cells, their metabolism, and the permeability of their membranes all involving the organizing action and function of expansion and contraction, or the polarity or electrical potentials which are based on the very same duality of nature. Our body is a miracle of nature.
Yin and Yang in the Organs
The organs and the energy meridians are all either Yin or Yang. The liver, heart, spleen, lung, and kidney are all Yin in the body. They are contractive and compressing the substances they process by their nature. By contrast, the Yang organs are all expansive and dissipative. These are all expanding containers that accommodate substances that the body processes and makes use of. They include the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine, and bladder. There are also special organs referred to as the pericardium, which is Yin and supports the circulation, and the triple heater which is Yang and works the energetics of the body. These are not organs as we understand them, but they are deeply connected to the functioning of the organs and are meridians in their own right. Each organ is referenced to a meridian, and these are the same meridians that are known in acupuncture, and work in the same way.
As Above, So Below
All esoteric philosophies suggest that the “as above, so below” is a fundamental law of the universe. That is, that the microcosm and the macrocosm are mirrors of each other expressing the universality of laws. Expansion and Contraction is one of these essential laws. This is because expansion and contraction are the essential nature of all spiral forms that exist. And of course, the nature of a spiral is also a mathematical set of relationships involving proportion which also expands and contracts along with the ratios that define the movement of forces or the structure of matter that is organized around a spiral. We see this is the way an embryo evolves to a fetus, and it is the same spiral relationship that is manifested in a spiral galaxy. Thus, we possess within us our portion of these forces, and we can apply them with our practice of Shiatsu to facilitate the flow of energy in the body so that the life-force is conserved to the greatest possible degree.
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