It was 2014 when I was living in a Taoist Healing Centre in Northern Thailand, that I first heard someone discussing the 'Three Rivers'. Three mysterious channels that flowed through our body, just like rivers, meandering top to bottom, inside to out, tracing the full extent of our physiological landscape.
These rivers, I continued to learn, consisted of our circulatory system (blood), immune system (lymphatic fluid) and our energy pathways known as meridians, through which our chi or pranic energy travel.
The more I learned about these Three Rivers and their incredible connection to our sense of vitality and wellbeing, the more I wanted to know.
Here is a little of what I learned:
Just like the aqueous rivers of our earth that traverse to and through major landmarks, the three rivers within us also have significant structures that they pass through and that control their ebb and flow. For instance, the blood has the heart, the lymph has the lymph nodes and our prana has chakras and acupressure points. I was fascinated!
The connection continues though.
Rivers of the earth perform many valuable roles for the inhabitants and towns along their banks... from transport, fishing and farming to supplying drinking water, drainage and energy. So to do the rivers within us have enumerable functions essential for us to survive (and thrive)... from the oxygen carrying capacity of our blood, to the pathogen crunching lymphatic system and the animating effect of our prana or vital force.
THE NEED FOR MOVEMENT
Have you ever walked the banks of a river or stream that has become blocked or dammed up? What did you notice? What happens when there isn't any new water flowing in, and the old water fails to move out? It's not a pretty picture. You might start to see certain things like algae, scum, dead fish or frogs... or you might notice a certain putrid, rotting smell.
Movement.... That's what missing! In the absence of movement or with restricted flow, these earth rivers will become stagnant and toxic. Not only is their capacity to support life compromised, but they can in fact become optimal breeding grounds for bacteria and disease.
The rivers within us also have this same intrinsic need for movement. When the rivers are flowing, nutrients and energy are taken to all corners of your body and toxins are removed, encouraging increased health and vitality to all of your cells and systems. If the flow becomes sluggish or stagnant however, it's a different story. Just like our sister rivers that run along the earth, stagnancy leads to toxicity, imbalance and potentially even illness on a physical, mental or emotional level.
So, what to do? How to get your three rivers flowing?
The great news is that you have boundless options for how you can quickly and easily get your rivers flowing. During my stay at the Taoist Centre we had daily Qi Gong, Tai Chi and yoga to assist with this, but quite simple and gentle movement like walking, stretching or riding your bike will get your blood, lymph and prana pumping!
Research now shows that people who exercise for 30min-1hr a day in one time-chunk only receive marginal improvements in their health outcomes over their sedentary counterparts. The best approach is to have regular intervals of movement and activity throughout the day...
So stand up and get your body moving for a couple of minutes each hour!
One of our favourite 'Two Minute Top up' techniques that we teach at our Retreats is the incredibly simple but oh so effective Full Body Shaking. The little gem harks from an Oriental/Qi Gong lineage and is guaranteed to have your three rivers pulsing vibrantly in only a few minutes, assisting you to shake off the tensions of the day.
Why not push yourself back from your desk/put down your mobile device & try 2mins of Full Body Shaking right now?
WATCH & FOLLOW ALONG
More of a visual learner? No problem, CLICK HERE to follow along with us in this short video to help you master your Full Body Shaking technique.
Until the next time we connect, may ripples of health, happiness and vitalising movement flow to you and through you!
Love and blessings,
Ryoka and Debbie Elton
p.s. If you are needing more MOVEMENT inspiration, why not try our '10 For 10' Mindful Movement Video Series, helping you to weave 10 minutes of mindful movement into each day.