Spirit Medicine of Trees | Five Element Theory | Wood Element | Part One of Seven

by Melissa West on

Tree Medicine

Today’s vlog is the first of three parts that I will be releasing this week of a 7 part course on Traditional Chinese Medicine Five Phase Theory, specifically the wood element. I will be offering week one of this five week course course here for free on Yoga Lifestyle with Melissa on my vlog today, as well as Wednesday and on Friday on my main channel.

So if you would like to get part 2 and 3 of this course for free, be sure to subscribe to this channel, Yoga Lifestyle with Melissa and my main channel Yoga with Melissa to get part 2 and 3 on Wednesday and Friday.

I will let you know how you can access weeks 2- 5 at the end of this video with links in the show notes.

One of the key components of the course is a daily walk in nature to connect more deeply with the wood element. Book learning and theory only go so far, it is our actual experience of the elements that bring them alive for us in our lives and give them their potency.

Today we are going to connect with the wood element through the spirit medicine of trees. Trees can provide us with guidance, lessons, protection, and wisdom. Certain trees will connect with us at certain times of our lives depending on what we need to learn and in order to help us bring balance into our lives.

The first trees I feel drawn to connecting with and sharing with you today are Garry Oak trees. There is a beautiful Garry Oak meadow in Beacon Hill Park.

Garry Oak trees are old growth trees, but you probably wouldn’t know it to look at them, because they are quite diminutive. The Gary Oak trees remind me to connect with my own experience and inner wisdom and remind me of Marianne Williamson’s quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Old growth trees are another spirit tree medicine I am connecting with. For me, the connection with old growth trees remind me to stay for awhile and have patience. In our culture we are encouraged to live at an aggressive pace, to always be achieving and moving on to the next things. The old growth trees remind me of the principle of yin, to stay for awhile, that time is more important than intensity. It is over time that insights arise and inspiration is revealed.

For the old growth tree, today I am going to share with you a Sequoia tree that was planted in Beacon Hill park in 1913, that makes it 105 years old. Apparently this tree could still be here in 5511. Talk about staying power.

Another spirit tree medicine I am currently connecting with quite often on my daily immersion and walks in nature is driftwood. Driftwood is often quite soft because it has been weathered by water. We are going to be talking about the moderating effects of water (as well as metal and earth on wood in week 4 of the course). The moderating influence of water is often calming. When I connect with driftwood feel invited to allow the events of life which are weathering me to soften me. It is one of the main principle of yin yoga, soften.

So that was part one, a taste of a 5 week course on the wood element of five element theory. Part 2 will be available here on Wednesday and part 3 Friday If you would like to access the remainder of the course there are more more in depth weeks of the course available in our membership community through application:

Advanced Study in Yoga and Meditation Course #1 Five Phase Theory: Wood Element

We all have the five phases of wood, fire, earth, metal and water within us. Each element exists to nourish all others and in return, to be nourished itself. The movement of our being are like the tides of energy expanding (yang) and contracting (yin) as we are carried along the currents of life.

Wood is the most yang of all the elements. Wood is the birth and new beginnings of spring which seeks growth and expansion. Wood is the awakening. It is the expansion of movement outward towards the surface. It is the liver organ network which stores blood and regulates the even flow of qi throughout our body.

Nov 26 Week 1: Becoming Comfortable with the most Yang of all the elements
Dec. 3 Week 2: Judicious Flow: Smooth and Even Movement
Dec 10 Week 3: Shadow Side of Wood Element
Dec 18 Week 4: Balancing Wood with Earth, Metal and Water


  • Yin Yoga
  • Pranayama
  • Time in Nature
  • Contemplative Readings (Poetry)

This course will be limited to 12 people in each of the time slots

Mondays 9:30 am PST (5 spots remaining)
Mondays 4:00 pm PST (8 spots remaining)

(Applications due via email by November 9, 2018)


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