|Photo Credit: vancity197|
Not long ago, I started a series on The Five Taxations–five activities that wear out your system when done in excess. Here they are again:
- Excessive use of the eyes, which damages blood.
- Excessive lying down, which damages qi;
- Excessive sitting, which injures flesh;
- Excessive standing, which injures bones;
- Excessive walking, which injures sinews.
Today’s post is on excessive lying down. I rarely complain about people lying down, because I strongly advocate napping and think most people get too little sleep. But I know people who lie down even when they’re not sleeping–to watch TV, read, or just hang out.
Chinese medicine is a system that emphasizes balance. Our bodies are made for some movement, some rest, some intake of food, some spending of our energy.There are actually dangers to oversleeping, especially since a need to oversleep means you are not getting good quality sleep when you are awake. If you spend all your time lying down, you are not moving. The right level of movement contributes to creating qi in the body, acting like a generator. No movement, and your qi is diminished. You instead build stagnation–the qi you have and your blood become stuck more easily, leading to pain, digestive problems, and emotional distress. Our body fluids move better when we have regular movement–especially lymph fluid, which plays a part in circulation and immune system health.
If you are not prone to movement (pun entirely intended), whether from medical necessity or disinclination to exercise, preventing this taxation is still possible. Move whatever you have to move–feet, arms, head, neck–eyes, even just your rate of breathing if everything else is paralyzed. Don’t move too fast, or for too long at first–qi needs a chance to well up like a spring. Overdoing it early on will exhaust you and make it harder to continue.
Enjoy moving–dance, stretch like a cat. Move slowly and really feel your muscles changing shape. Move quickly and enjoy the slight thrill of an increased heart beat. Move until you are slightly tired, and enjoy better sleep.
You will see some level of improvement–your breathing will be smoother, and if you do not have permanent injuries, you will be able to move farther and easier over time.
Enjoy your body’s ability to move. Don’t allow your body to stagnate from a lack of movement!