Organ Health According to Chinese Medicine

by Zena Wozniak, NC, RYT · Updated April 28, 2019

Is optimal organ health the secret to optimal emotional health?

We tend to talk about our organs as isolated parts. Each is responsible for its own little inside job. However, in Chinese Medicine, each organ is part of an intricately interwoven system. The health of the organ correlates with larger repeating patterns throughout the rest of the body, including our emotions.

Here to explain more is Kat Villain. Kat teaches Katonah Yoga, a practice heavily informed by the principals of Chinese Medicine. As part of her teaching, Kat performs personal body readings in which she reveals patterns held in the body.

Read on for her tips for establishing a true mind-body connection by becoming familiar with your organ health. Check out her new book, Yoga as Origami, for more on Katonah theory.

Kat Villain - Katonah Yoga - The Wellnest by HUM Nutrition

The Taoist Mind-Body Connection

Our body is a walking storybook of our lives. Our muscles become storage tanks of repressed memories and emotions not yet dealt with. This perpetuates dis-ease, stress, and feelings of not being safe and supported. It shows up in the body in the form of tension, stiff muscles, inflammation, and pain.

The ancient Taoist teachings saw the balance of mind, body, and breath as integral to one’s health. The key is that you have to work with all three. Nothing spiritually exists without an anchor to the physical. The anchors of our emotions are our physical organs. Any imbalance in our emotional and mental body will show up in the organs.

Your Organ Body

Our organs are our life force. Often, when the body feels stuck or dense, we’re resisting an experience and this alters the frame of our body. For example, you might slouch your shoulders when sad, thus shrinking the frame of the lungs. Doing so diminishes the amount of space available for an organ to breathe and function. A physical body with a lot of space will have organs that function efficiently, emotions that move through effortlessly, a vibrancy that is magnetic, and a spirit that is connected to the bigger picture of humanity and the universe.

From an Eastern standpoint, the Taoists play for longevity, and the organs are key. A healthy, functioning body allows the mind to get to its destination. Below are the characters of the organs so you get to know your inner workings better. This awareness allows active participation with your health and well-being. When you understand the language of the organ body, you can understand the body’s subtle signals when an organ needs your loving support.


Element: Wood
Season: Spring
Physical Correlations: The health of your nails, eyes, tendons, and ligaments
Related Emotions: Anger, impatience
Spiritual Significance: Represents dreaming, imagination, and planning; ensures the smooth flow of emotions


Element: Fire
Season: Summer
Physical Correlations: Our complexion and the tongue
Related Emotions: Joy, contentment
Spiritual Significance: Represents enlightenment, intuition and understanding; freedom from emotional burden


Element: Earth
Season: Late summer
Physical Correlations: Muscles and lips
Related Emotions: Worry, empathy
Spiritual Significance: Directs inspiration from the heart into intention and actions; gives us thought, awareness, and focus


Element: Metal
Season: Autumn
Physical Correlations: Skin, sweat, body hair, and nose
Related Emotions: Grief, courage
Spiritual Significance: Relaying sensory feedback from the external to the internal; the breath sweeps stale air and dust out of the body and feeds you through the ions, ores, and minerals of the atmosphere


Element: Water
Season: Winter
Physical Correlations: Bladder, bones, and ears
Related Emotions: Fear, wisdom
Spiritual Significance: Represents our drive and willpower to get things done on the planet; also contains the information from our lineage and ancestral waters

Learn more about framing up the organs for optimum health in Kat’s book, Yoga as Origami. You can also follow her on Instagram or take a class with her at Love Yoga in Venice, CA. 

KATONAH YOGA® was founded by Nevine Michaan, and is a Hatha yoga practice refined over forty years, blended with Taoist theory, sacred geometries, pranayama, and meditationFor more information, visit

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