Chi (also spelt ‘qi’ or ‘ki’) is known in some traditions as prana, kundalini power, spirit, life force or simply energy. Its concept is derived directly from Taoist philosophy. Chi has also been translated as ‘air’ and ‘breath’ and figuratively as ‘material energy’ so it means life force or energy flow. It is the vital force and transformational power of energy that binds all objects and activities in nature into one organic system of form and function.
The 24 Hour Chi Cycle
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are 12 organs. These 12 organs either have a yin or yang attribute, as well as having a having physical, mental, emotional and spiritual role.
In the 24-hour chi cycle, each of these 12 organs govern two hours of the day, which is when the chi is attuned to the energies of that organ. By having daily rituals and living as closely to the chi cycle as possible, the organs will continually micro dose chi throughout the day.
It is essentially a blueprint to help bring balance, by knowing when the optimum time is to rest (yin) and when to take action (yang).
Many of us have created our lives to be too yang in nature, which, overtime will deplete your chi and eventually dip into your Jing (essence) reserves. So although it may be a challenge for many people, the chi cycle provides guidance on how to bring more harmony to the yin and yang of the body and support a life of good health and longevity.
The 24-hour chi cycle is a daily routine template to help optimise the amount of chi you can collect throughout your day. Through living in accordance to the chi cycle your vitality, creativity, quality of sleep, mood and outlook on life will greatly improve. You will greatly deepen your connection to spirit and nature simply through supporting the natural rhythmic flow of chi that moves throughout the body. If you want to be high on chi, then living in accordance to the chi cycle is a must.
“The ultimate aim of Taoism and Chinese Medicine is to reorganize our consciousness and put us on a path that enables us to develop from ordinary people into cosmic beings. Chi is the secret ingredient in this and you can say the 24-hour flow of cosmic energy, is the recipe. The Taoists understood that the universe is a massive chi-matrix, a web of interconnectivity, and that following the chi-cycle is the means by which we can link into it. Once we do this, our destiny becomes clear and impossible becomes possible.”
A Breakdown of the 24 Hour Cycle
5am-7am — LARGE INTESTINE
The time before the sun rises and when our dreams are close to the surface and reflective. This is the best time to wake up and have a few glasses of water, as your body went through a detox phase throughout the night and you need to hydrate. It is time to move your bowels and think about what you want to ‘let go’ of so that it’s not carried throughout the day. This is the time for practices that intrinsically fill you, like yoga, qi gong, tai chi and any other mindfulness/meditation practices.
Your rituals and the way you approach your morning can have a significant role in how your day plays out. It’s said that the first 20-minutes upon waking is when your subconscious mind is most impressionable. So, what you tell yourself and what you do is of importance. This time can either amplify positive or negative energy towards yourself.
7am-9am — STOMACH
At this time, it is imperative to eat a good healthy breakfast. This will set you up for the day, with you naturally feeling like eating lunch and dinner at the right times.
The stomach energy can help us feel grounded while supporting our memory, concentration and focus.
It’s important that you eat mindfully and not while stressed or while rushing to get ready for the day. Ideally you want a nice warm cooked meal, eat with a straight spine and be present with your food. Acknowledging the process it took to get on the plate in front of you can also have an effect in the amount of chi it contains.
9am-11am — SPLEEN
This is the time to do your hardest work. To use this yang part of the morning to do as much of the physical and mental work you need to do for the day.
Your spleen in TCM acts like the burner and the stomach the pot to which food after eating arrives into. The spleen assists in transforming and transporting food throughout the body and has a role in building blood.
We don’t want to take that fire away from the burner of the spleen. You can affect the spleen’s functioning by eating too many raw foods, which are cold in nature or having too much cold, icy and sweet drinks, such as soft drinks.
11am-1pm — HEART
This is the time to have a ‘hearty’ meal. Perhaps with nice company and enjoyable conversations. If you want to have a deep and meaningful chat to someone, then this is the time to do it. This is the peak of the yang time of the day, so a great time to be productive and work smart. If you are doing a job you’re not enjoying then this time over lunch is a great time to connect with the heart and ask what it is you would rather be doing.
1pm-3pm — SMALL INTESTINE
The yin time has picked up momentum and this is the time to be in cruise mode and do the less important things. If you are still moving around like the yang morning phase and you have not started to slow down already, you can end up crashing and craving sweet treats or even become frustrated and aggressive. Road rage is a common occurrence during this time due to an overactive yang lifestyle.
5pm-7pm — KIDNEYS
This is the best time to play, have fun and do the things that you really enjoy. Get some acupuncture, massage, take the kids to the park or catch up with friends. Let go of the day and debrief with your family or friends. It is also time to have a relaxed dinner and connect with your loved ones.
7pm-9pm — PERICARDIUM
Time to relax and bond, either by yourself or with family members. This is also a great time to get into those projects or hobbies that use your creativity, such as playing music or doing art. It is a nice time to be intimate with your partner as the pericardium is the heart protector and is closely related. So, create space with your loved ones and have a heart to heart connection.
9pm-11pm — SAN JIAO
This is the time to prepare for bed and go to sleep. Hopefully by now, devices are turned off and you have a healthy pre bed ritual. Perhaps a meditation and/or journaling practice. Your sleep and the quality of it should be of great importance. If you want to have a strong mind, focus and determination the following day, then you need good quality sleep. Make it a priority!
You should be in a deep sleep for when your gallbladder resets your body clock. This is not the time to be thinking about things from the day past or next. Sleep on it and you will have a different outlook on it the next morning.
Your liver goes through a big cleanse and detox of the body during this time. If you wake up at this time it’s usually due to an overactive mind and stress in your life. Your liver in TCM is known as the General and it has overriding functions of planning for the other organs. Hence why you should be in a deep sleep at this time to support the liver function and prepare your organ systems for the day ahead.
This is a magical time where vivid dreams occur and lucid dreaming can be easier to experience. Also known as a spiritual time, it is a time that may bring with it clarity of mind and possible insights on decisions. Providing you had a good sleep through to now! If you are recording your dreams, then write them down immediately so you can recall as much of what happened in them as possible.
“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force” — Lao Tzu
The Pillars of Chi Flow can be used as a blueprint to identify areas of one’s life where they are wasting/leaking their chi and how they can improve it. When you are high on chi you are in the flow of life, you feel incredible, motivated and your beliefs, perceptions and mental state feels more balanced. The yin and the yang of the body is more balanced and you feel like you are able to achieve what you desire. It’s the highest of highs and the most purest. There are no side effects or emotions such as shame or guilt. You are simply tapping into ancient traditions of living to promote good health and longevity.