To embody the whole as one, we first recognize our unique individuality and our common patterns which is the key to access our individual healing and our unique gifts.
We are focused on supporting the individual, spiritually, energetically and physically with their unique attributes and characteristics created by the five elements.
The upper class of medicines . .. govern the nourishment of destiny and correspond to heaven. ... If one wishes to prolong the years of life without aging, one should [use these].
The middle class of medicines govern the nourishment o f one's nature and correspond to man. ... If one wishes to prevent illness and to supplement depletions and emaciations, one should [use these].
The lower [class of] medicines ... govern the treatment of illness and correspond to earth. If one wishes to remove cold, heat and [other] evil influences [from the body], to break accumulations, and to cure illnesses, one should base [one's efforts] on [drugs listed in] the lower [class of this] manual.
- Shen Nang Ben Cao (China's oldest herbal text)
Our work is focused on the upper and middle class of medicine with our intention of healing the core issues, core illness of our lives.
Sa Sang System (Four Body Constitutions ) as a Seasonal Landscape
Background and Theory
As we are nature, we are made of the same principles that create nature and its phases and seasons. The qualities, forces, and energy that manifests as elements in our environment is also living us within our bodies, mimicking the seasons. As we are unique with different entry points of life that is according to our birth time and when we birthed ourselves into being with our first inhalation, we then birthed a certain season "body constitution or body landscape" within. As we live, our body constitution remains relatively the same as a foundation; however, it may be influenced by the elements outside, situations, and lifestyle. It is important to know our body landscape so that we can understand what our body, mind, and energy needs to thrive and tools and resources available to synergize naturally for its healing. Since we are nature, we are made of nature, nature is our medicine.
Our body constitution is what we were born with: the color of our hair and skin, our build, our tendency toward heat or cold, dampness or dryness, etc. But our constitution doesn’t stop at physical and physiological traits. In addition to the temperament we are born with, it is important to become aware of what we are manifesting in this moment not only physiologically, but also energetically, mentally, intuitively, as well as spiritually. A constitution therefore is how our body, mind and soul experience the world and show up in the world. It is like a house we are born in and spend our lifetime in. Through its windows we see the world and the world sees you.
By and large, all the living beings on Earth are divided into two constitutional types of Yin and Yang.
Yin types have energy that is cool and slowly moving downward like water.
Yang types have energy that is warm and quickly moving upward like fire.
At the present time, Yin constitution is believed to be the majority with 55% to 80% of the world’s
population.Yang constitution is believed to be the minority with only 20% to 45% of the population.
Yin and Yang types are further divided into early phase and late phase.
Early phase means deepening that is to say that a cold climate is getting colder and a warm climate is
getting warmer. In Chinese, this is called Lesser.
Late phase means turning around direction that is to say that a cold climate is getting warmer and a warm climate is getting colder. In Chinese, this is called Greater.
Therefore altogether, there are four constitutional types. They are akin to nature’s four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
There are varying degrees of the constitutional types, like varying seasons, as some summers are hotter than others, or winters more cold and dark. And within the season itself the climates may shift and change as phase of season may of shift and change, according to yin/yang principles and the elements.
Seasons which correlate to the varying Body Constitutions
Winter phase: (Winter type or Lesser Yin Body Constitution)
Early phase of Yin characterized as deepening, cold weather. The ground is damp, wet, or frozen, maybe covered with snow. Cloudy sky making it difficult for the sun to permeate its warmth and rays. The energy moves deep within, leaving the surfaces barren, like the trees.
This is the time where nature hibernates, or slows down, as the energy is deep within, nourishing what is essential so that it may strengthened and continue to sustain as a foundation when we sprout again anew in the Spring. This is a time of rest and rejuvenation, of quietness, becoming comfortable with rest and relaxation. As our society and culture drives us to be busy, we have forgotten what true rest is. In our fast paced culture becoming more frantic in coming up with technology, we feel guilty about not being busy, or unnatural when we don't have anything to do. In this way, we have becoming unnatural, disconnect from the importance of doing nothing, not having to go anywhere, and the pressures of our contrived self image. We can just be. This is a time of being. In this way, nature teaches us the value of being before doing. It also teaches us that the stillness, quiet winter within which is also akin to yin, is a place of true healing and rest. If we do not honor this season within, which also happens in the evening time, when again the energy moves deeper getting ready for relaxation and sleep, we will create dis-ease. When we are not able to relax, our ability to heal and rejuvenate becomes weak and impaired. Our true strength comes from this place of quiet power and peace, wherein all life can abide and grow from. Without this richness of our being, our "yang" energy is not supported and our ungrounded. We are strong when we have a good and rich foundation. Allow the quietude and richness of winter within and in the environment guide you to your natural peace and presence. Allow yourself to naturally heal and experience the depth of peace and stillness that naturally resides in our being.
Spring phase: (Spring type or Greater Yin Body Constitution)
Late phase of yin is when Yang rises, as Yin declines. We see yang rebirth in first sprouts of life in plants, and a fresh feeling within. The earth is still cold and damp from winter, but with the yang arising, there is enough warmth for seeds to germinate and sprout. As the yang is arising, circulating energy, warmth to the surface, lush green grasses and trees of full young green shoots and are sprouting all about.
This is the time wherein we rebirth ourselves after our energy was hibernating during winter. This is the time to create intentions and make plans for the new lunar year, not really to act on them in the first month or so as the yang is rising and has not really grounded and fully supported by the yin aspect of our nature. If we act prematurely, we can make hasty decisions or actions that doesn't necessarily serve our whole vision. There is much energy moving, so as it is important to make plans, meditate, pray, connect and perform practices to harness the energy. Practice to be present and connect with nature and its supporting energies, so that we recognize and allow the energies to synergize and flow naturally within and in our lives. In that, we allow all things to work together within and in our environment, towards the vision. We don't have to think we are alone in fulfilling our vision, in fact, we are not. Root, connect, and fruit. A seed does not fruit all on its own.
Summer phase: ( Summer type or Lesser Yang Body Constitution)
Early phase of Yang characterized where the Yang is increasingly creating hot and dry weather. The ground is hot and dry. Water evaporates more quickly leaving the ground and surfaces hot and dry, including the plants that are showing signs of dryness even though in full of foliage.
This is the time where the heat is greatest and a lot of the energy in our environment and within are actually in the surface. This is where the sun is strongest and brightest and what is in the shadows are drawn out.
Fall phase: (Fall type or Greater Yang Body Constitution)
Yin is emerging as the Yang is declining allowing second harvests of full ripening fruits and leaves displaying many colors of life. As the Fall phase progresses we see the last bursts of Yang as the Yin qualities moves the energy deeper within creating and bringing us closer to winter.
This is the time where our energies are in the surface allowing what we had planted in spring time to ripen. And as we taste our own harvest, and assimilate it our lives, we then release it, like that of digestion, wherein we digest, assimilate, and eliminate what we no longer need and what is excess. We not only digest foods, but also, energy, which are emotions, and thoughts. This is the time to be grateful for what has served us, and to have the discrimination to release what no longer does, otherwise it will rot in our body like undigested food. This is the time of letting go as we move deeper into the winter phase, where we bring consciously what is essential to us, what is valuable so that these may be nourished deep within us and we give birth again in the spring. This is the time for assessing and reflecting on our values and morals, our beliefs and relationships so that we do not continue bad and unconscious habits that create suffering in our lives. Remember what we bring deeper within ourselves, whether conscious or not, gets implanted more deeply within, creating patterns of habits, which in turn, governs our lives.
The Body's Energy System and the Five Element Theory
The body's energy system plays an extremely important role in the maintenance of our health and our very life, yet it has been largely ignored by Western medical science. Although it cannot be seen, all of us at one time or another have felt the movement or sense of blockage or roughness of our energy flow. Via the energy system, all organs, body systems, and functions are interrelated; nothing operates entirely independently. Oriental cultures see our bodies as very much connected with the universe in which we live. Our bodies are a microcosm of the universe, as we are all created with the same elements. The energies which allow us to breathe, to move, to talk, and which allow all of our organs and senses to function are the same as those which allow seeds to sprout, trees to grow, fire to burn, rocks to form, rain to fall, and wind to blow. Over five thousand years ago, medicine practitioners in China, Korea, and Japan began to explore and research theories relating our energies to those in the surrounding universe. Eventually they developed a system of five basic energies, or elements, which they identified as earth, gold, water, wood, and fire. In turn, they related each of these elements to one to one of our major organs. Thus the name "earth" describes the energy of the stomach and spleen; "gold" is the energy of the lungs and respiratory system; "water", the energy of the kidneys and urinary system; "wood" the energy of the liver, and "fire" the energy of the heart. These five names were chosen because they most closely describe the characteristics of each kind of energy. For example, our body's fire energy behaves in similar ways to fire: it is warm, dry, very active, and so on. Water energy is cool, damp, moves in a downward direction, can extinguish fire energy, and so on.
These early investigators also realized that the five energies exist in the air around us, their balance and proportions changing from morning to afternoon to evening, from day to night, from month to month, season to season, year to year. Eventually they developed accurate charts indicating their proportions in the air for every hour of every day, of every month, of every year. Throughout the Orient, books of these charts are readily available in bookstores.
For each category of year, month, day and hour, there are two Chinese characters — a total of eight in a natal chart. Each character is related to one of the five elements. In the last weeks before we are born most of us are equipped with healthy bodies, with all body parts and organs in place, ready to function. When we take our first breath of air, the proportion of the five elements in the air at that moment determines what proportion of the related element is received by each of our major organs.
If all five elements are in fairly equal proportions at that first breath, each of these organs receives a relatively equal proportion of energy. Sometimes one or more elements are in greater proportion than the others, or one or more may be virtually absent. Such excesses or deficiencies then affect not only the balance among our five major organs but also the health of the individual organs. Each of our major organs is also related to one sense organ: the liver is related to the eyes (sight), the kidneys to the ears (hearing), the stomach to the mouth (taste), the heart to the tongue (speech), and the lungs to the nose (smell). We can also understand how we came to have our particular personality and emotional patterns by understanding the elements. Each organ is also associated with an emotion which we also can work with through our elements, bringing more awareness and balance. Through this system, we can work with our elements to bring more balance to our physical, mental and emotional bodies, reconnecting with and rediscovering our body's intelligence which is already inherently there. We can also learn to become more sensitive to our body and to understand how our body is communicating to us through our symptoms, clarifying how we may take in what is truly appropriate and nourishing for our bodies.