The Pericardium meridian, also known as the meridian of the ‘Heart Protector’ , ‘Heart Helper’, ‘Spirit Protector’ or – very poetically – ‘the King’s Bodyguard‘, is one of the 2 Yin meridians of the Fire element.
The Pericardium is the protective sheath or sac that surrounds the heart organ. Together with the heart and the blood vessels, the pericardium runs the circulatory system. Energetically its function is to protect the heart from damage and disruption caused by excessive emotions from other organs and/or external sources (think how in English we’d say that our heart is “bursting with joy” or how we experience “heartbreak”). In the Chinese 5 element system, as in the Ayurvedic system, extreme emotional outbursts (both positive and negative) are seen as powerful disruptors of balance and a major cause of disease. Without the pericardium to protect it, the Heart could be gravely injured by every-day emotional commotion.
Every full moon in Sagittarius will affect this meridian, opening up a window of opportunity to more deeply balance this meridian, but also opening up a time where we might feel its imbalances most. These windows last from approximately a week before to 4-5 days after – some people will be more sensitive to it and experience a longer period of being affected.
The longest branch of this meridian begins in the chest and connects to the pericardium, and runs (on both sides of the body, left and right) out from the pericardium, horizontally across the chest, surfacing at the ribs from where it then moves up and around the armpit, down the front of the biceps, along the forearm to the palm and finishes in the tip of the middle finger. A small side branch runs from the palm into the tip of the ring finger where it connects to its paired Triple Burner meridian. A last branch of this meridian runs down from the pericardium connecting the 3 burners that give their name to the Triple Burner (San Jiao) meridian.
The Pericardium meridian is the mediator between the water tattva and the fire (agni) tattva if we look from the Ayurvedic point of view — between our emotions in the second chakra and our passion in the third chakra, then rising up into the Heart. The fire tattva is purifying and transforming – its energy is not bound by gravity but rises up towards the heavens.
The Pericardium protects the Heart from emotional trauma but also helps to express the Joy of the Heart. It rules our relationships and the emotional issues around them. Emotionally, pericardium energy is related to the loving feelings associated with sexuality, thereby linking the physical and emotional aspects of sexual intimacy. It does so by moderating the raw sexual energy of the 2nd chakra with the all-embracing love generated by the 4th chakra.
A balanced Pericardium meridian allows us to be generous, warm, kind-hearted, loving and compassionate to those around us, and allows us to be able to receive both criticism and love from others. An imbalanced Pericardium meridian makes us feel unprotected in the heart centre and will cause us to look for other ways to protect the heart (e.g. by rounding off the shoulders, keeping our distance from others, building protective walls around us which are meant to keep others out but only end up making us feel separated and isolated within that fortress we have built).
Physical symptoms of a blocked or imbalanced Pericardium meridian:
- chronic damaging relationship patterns
- relationship fears
- excessive vulnerability
- problems around self-acceptance, self-love, self-expression and the relationship with oneself
- the inability to smile
- guarded behaviour
- problems with or pain/soreness in the hips
- stiff neck
- poor blood circulation
- cold extremities (hands and feet) due to poor blood circulation
- low sexual joy or sexual perversion
- inappropriate intimacy or fear of intimacy
- profound sadness or even depression (i.e. pericardium deficiency)
- too much joy and/or incessant laughter or giggling in inappropriate circumstances (i.e. pericardium excess)
- rounding off the shoulders to try and protect the heart
- many stress-related problems
- pain in the heart area & chest discomfort due to inflammation or liquid build-up around the heart
- stomach problems
- mental disturbances
Things that are good to eat & drink for this meridian:
- oatmeal (contains silica which is good for the pericardium)
- a drink of boiled oatmeal. Recipe: boil 1 cup of oats in 3 litres of water for 20 minutes. Strain. Drink 4 cups a day.
- red and/or bitter foods: beetroot, Brussels sprouts, kale, karaylay (bitter gourd), bitter melon, radicchio, rucola, rosemary, oregano, basil, paprika, turmeric, grapefruit, watermelon, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, dandelion leaves, …
- dark chocolate, green tea (washed first), matcha tea, Yano or another grain coffee.
Yoga postures for the Pericardium meridian:
- Archer pose is the best posture for this meridian. It helps to develop a clear and powerful vision. Do 3 to 11 mins on either side with long deep breathing or breath of fire. Chanting can also help to keep up.
- Any hip opening exercises
- Sit in butterfly pose
Do some butterfly stretches first (bouncing the knees up and down for a few minutes) to stretch the hips open. Then start bringing the torso and head slowly all the way down, leading from the navel with a straight spine, with long deep breathing, allowing tension to be slowly released.
Slowly allow the hips to open up.
- Alternate leg stretches
Some Gemstone Malas that will help with the Pericardium, Heart and above described symptoms:
- https://www.shuniya-yoga.org/product/6mm-chrysoprase-rhodonite-rhodochrosite-mala-amazonite-guru-bead/ — Chrysoprase is the Broken Heart Mender!
- https://www.shuniya-yoga.org/product/6mm-grey-agate-cream-pink-rhodonite-mala/ – Grey Agate & Rhodonite are fabulous stones for this meridian!
Do check out the webshop as there are so many more, and you can search on key words.