Suzanne Yates (England, UK)
Suzanne Yates is founder and principal teacher at Wellmother in Bristol. It offers a holistic approach based on supportive touch, for women, babies and families preparing for pregnancy, during the maternity period and beyond.
She discovered Shiatsu 30 years ago and is still amazed by the power and simplicity of touch.
Website with articles, blog, books: www.wellmother.org
The Extraordinary potential of the Girdle Vessel
This will be a largely practical workshop so that you can experience the Girdle Vessel on many different levels. You will not only learn to understand its pathway in the pelvis but its connection to our upper and lower body as well as in the spaces around us (Heaven and Earth) and our connections to the Core Organs of the EV’s especially the Kidneys and the Reproductive Organs.
– learn some exercises to connect with the Girdle Vessels in ourselves
– learn to work the pathway of the Girdle Vessel and explore it through shiatsu in pairs
– link the Girdle Vessel with some core connections in the upper and lower body including the regulating points in our hands and feet, making links with its paired Vessels of Penetrating Vessel and Yang Wei.
– work with the core organs shared by all of the Extraordinary Vessels: Heart, Kidneys, Reproductive Organs and Brain.
– evaluate how working with the Girdle Vessel may help us self regulate and adapt to the challenges of life which include the expression of our core being and our sexuality, reproductive health and the longer cycles of life.
The Girdle Vessel
Life is a state of change and we are constantly being challenged to adapt. In Chinese medicine, we see the different energies of the seasons enabling this process. Yet while it is important to support our day to day energy in the form of the 12 meridians/channels and our relationship to food and air, there are other, even more important underlying energies. These determine how we respond to our outer environment and regulate the longer cycles (7 and 8 years) of our lives. They are the first to emerge and hold the memory of why we are here and our connection to our ancestors. Working with them take us back to our potential and gives us the ability to draw up our core resources. They are the energies of the Extraordinary Vessels.
If we can access these more deeply held energies, we can connect to our ability to adapt and self- manage on a deeper physical and emotional level than simply working with the 12 channels. They are a complex circuit of Eight Channels or Vessels and of course in this workshop I can’t cover them all. However, I find that the Girdle Vessel is one of the easiest and most tangible to learn and it taps into the power of all the Extraordinary Vessels as well as of all the 12 channels.
Like all the Extraordinary Vessels, it connects directly to the Brain and the Reproductive Organs: such complex and fundamental organs they need the extraordinary circuit of the Eight Vessels to support them. We know how important the Brain is in being able to adapt and self-manage and it underpins our basic nervous system reactions (reptilian, mammalian and human). The Brain links with the Reproductive Organs in regulating the cyclical changes in our lives as we grow, become fertile, reproduce (or not) and age as well as underpinning the expression of our sexuality: a core part of how we relate to the world.
A key reason why we can’t adapt, which was core for the ancients, was the idea that as we age, we tend to lose the physical and emotional flexibility we had as a child. We often see this lack of flexibility expressed in our “girdle” (pelvic/abdominal area) which becomes a complex mix of patterns of tightness and weakness, often accompanied by tight, even frozen shoulders.
We can revitalise this core area of our body, while connecting back to our potential by working with the Girdle Vessel. It truly is Extraordinary. Being the only horizontal channel, it is a broad channel encircling our centre from the lower border of the ribs and passing through our perineum. It directly regulates the lower and middle burners, and all the muscles, bones and organs of this area. It regulates both Yin and Yang energies and it could even be said that it regulates all the other 7 Extraordinary Vessels and all the 12 channels.
However the Girdle Vessel does not simply regulate our centre. It regulates the communication between our upper and lower body and, like all the Extraordinary Vessels, regulates our connections to Heaven and Earth. It helps us hold our energetic borders and contain our energy. It has the potential to access every layer of our being, enabling us to adapt on the most profound level.
On Alice’s website www.wellmother.org you can find many articles on the Extraordinary Vessels, some of which have been published in print. Search “Girdle Vessel” or the “Extraordinary Vessels”.
She has also written about them in her published books “Shiatsu for midwives” and “Pregnancy and childbirth”.