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Three Things You Should Know About the Gate of Hope: Liver 14/Three Tips to Optimize the Flow of Qi

Posted: Apr 23rd, 2013
Three Things You Should Know
About the Gate of Hope:  Liver 14
I've written about Liver 14 -Gate of Hope- before (see February 28 newsletter for the location of this point). But some points are worth mentioning often and this is one of them. Why is the Gate of Hope so important? Well, you can guess from its name that this is one you really want to know about AND it is a point that we unconsciously tend to close again and again throughout the day. Here are three tips that will help you open your Gate of Hope.
1. The diaphragm forms a boundary between the chest and the abdomen. In acupuncture theory, the chest is known as the upper burner, an area that reflects our spiritual wisdom, and the upper abdomen is known as the middle burner, which reflects our mental capacity. The Gate of Hope acts as a gate between the middle and upper burners. When this gate is closed, it reflects a closure between your mental capacity and your capacity for spiritual wisdom. So, if you are experiencing a frustration in solving a problem (mental)in a way that is in alignment with your values and purpose (spiritual) it is likely that your Gate of Hope is closed. Utilize any techniques you know to get yourself thinking more creatively in order to open this gate. If none of those are working for you, refer to the two tips below.
2. Tension in the diaphragm closes the Gate of Hope. You can begin to release tension here by taking full, deep breaths. Gradually decrease the amount of air you are taking in and focus on the movement of the breath below the navel, so that each inhalation begins as low in the belly as possible. This is likely how your body breathes when you are asleep at night. A good belly laugh is another good way to get the diaphragm loosened up and moving, as is a few minutes of practicing yogic breathing techniques.  
3. A closed Gate of Hope can sometimes be opened with yoga poses that create a back bend or twist for the spine. Keeping the region of the rib cage and mid-back flexible is helpful in allowing the qi to flow through your Gate of Hope. Be sure to hold the pose long enough to have several long, deep and smooth breaths.

Three Tips to Optimize the Flow of Qi
When optimizing the flow of qi in our bodies, we experience physical well-being, mental and emotional clarity and calmness, and feel centered in our spirit. There are three things you can do to improve your flow of qi immediately.
1. Awareness of your breath - even if you suffer from allergies or asthma - will improve the movement of qi in the body right away. Awareness is key, and the movement of the breath is essential. Awareness of the sensation of breathing will usually cause the breath to improve almost immediately, before we even make a conscious effort to alter it in any way. And ANY improvement in the movement of the breath (no matter how small), whether it become a little deeper, or a little smoother, will improve the way you feel. 
2. Posture  may be the biggest obstacle most of us face in optimizing the flow of qi in our bodies. Maximize the space between the vertebrae, and also between the spine and the skull while sitting, standing and moving to remove these common obstacles to qi flow.   
3. Play and Relaxation in proportion to the amount of work and effort we engage in is vital. Time to step away from stressors to connect with loved ones, enjoying solitude or being immersed in a form of play or relaxation that allows the body, spirit and mind to rest or just feel good is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. 


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