Gut Health with Yin Yoga

The Spleen and Stomach are two primary organs that govern our gut health.

This week, we explored poses that stimulate the Qi flow along the spleen and stomach lines. The dragon is one of them. In Dragon pose, the stomach meridian, which travel through the front thighs and front torso, get stimulated and work with their paired organs to generate Qi through their role in digestion.

Beyond physical benefits, I love how dragon pose tame our monkey mind. Notice all the chattering in the mind when you stay in dragon beyond 3 min.

Barley to strengthen the Spleen

The Chinese Barley (薏苡仁 or 薏仁) is also known as Coixseeds. It has high nutritional value, and in Japan it is classified as an anti-cancer food.

They are considered cooling (味:甘凉) in nature, and are used as a dietary supplement to clear heat and resolve dampness (化湿) in our body, which can lead to many illnesses. The herb is thought to move through the lung, spleen and kidney meridians – channels through which Qi (vital energy) travels in the body. A good flow of Qi in the body is required for good health.

Dampness (湿) is usually the cause of many spleen-related diseases such as loose stool, weak gut, edema. It helps to strengthen the spleen (健脾止泻), remove moisture in our lower body (利水化湿), Coixseed can also enhance the function of the kidney, clean up the heat and promote urination (利尿). It improves the flow of water throughout the body, so it is a good supplement if you are experience water stagnation such as abdominal bloating and edema (excessive water weight, 下肢水肿).

There are two main types of barley in the market – Chinese barley (中国薏仁) on the right and Western barley (洋薏米) on the left. The Chinese barley are bigger and coarser. It takes longer time to cook to softness and has an earthy, herbal taste. The western barley are much smaller, about the size of the green bean. It has a smoother texture, and taste better – this is what you always get at foodcourt and kopitiam.

*WHO IT IS FOR: Hot, humid weather and a love for heaty food makes damp-heat (湿热) syndrome a common problem of Singaporeans. Both types of barley helps to strengthen the spleen and improve appetite. However, the Chinese barley is more effective if you want to expel body moisture and heatiness (清热祛湿). So make sure you choose the right type of barley for yourself.

*WHO SHOULD AVOID IT: Pregnant women should avoid using herbs with a diuretic effect, such as coix seeds. Those who are dehydrated – marked by a dry throat, bad constipation, excessive perspiration or urination – are said to have no dampness within their bodies, and should avoid this herb, which may aggravate their symptoms.

Credit: Adapted from…/singapore-tcm-expert-how-use-coix…

Jensen will be conducting a series of Chinese Medicine based Yin yoga workshops in Feb 2020 with Physician Goh You Li. For more details on the workshops, please check out the link:



Author: Blue Hanuman

A Physicist | A Yogi | An educator | An Oiler | A wellness Enthusiast

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