Welcome to the Water Element: Kidney and Bladder Meridians

This element is the ultimate expression of yin. It is the home of stillness, wisdom, introspect, internal experience, and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Questions to ask to see whether you are in or out of balance:

  • Do I wisely use the resources of mind+body without depleting them?
  • Are my bones, hearing, teeth, lower back and knees strong?
  • Do I hold energy in my reserve, never going to empty?
  • Do I include periods of rest and unstructured time in my life?
  • Do I disconnect from devices and retreat in some way to regenerate?

The Kidney is the yin meridian of these two meridians. There is always a yin and yang paired to create balance.

Kidney qi is vital in Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is the root of our life force, it stores our essence, so if our Kidney meridian is depleted (see questions above) then none of our meridians can thrive. 

Rules the Water

It is said that the Water element’s duty is to transform the water into mist and disperse it across the entire body

Stores the Will

The Yang side of will means to be assertive, to facilitate big shifts and decisive efforts. It is a big part of making fundamental decisions

The Yin side of will is our destiny, it is recognising a deeper force that requires no effort. It is essentially stillness. That deep-seated drive often pairs with adrenal deficiency.

Can you see where your imbalances are or what your tendency is?

Rules the Bones

Kidney essence produces bone marrow to create and support bones. The state of our bones and teeth are an indication of the state of our kidneys, as well as our hearing.


Bladder Meridian – the Yang of this pair

The Bladder Meridian is the philosopher in all of us. The home of introspecting and modesty, it is watchful, modest, thrifty, sensible. One of the most important characteristics to note is this:

Quiet until overwhelmed – there is a gentle flow of water until the tidal wave comes; it is always warranted.

The emotion associated with the Bladder is fear.

It is our home for wisdom. Stamina and endurance are strong points

When this meridian is in excess we can come across as blunt, withdrawn or detached

When this meridian is deficient we may have a lack of self-awareness and display extrovert/pessimistic behaviour.

Some key poses to stimulate these meridians are:


Sphinx, Seal, wide leg folds, restorative backbends, pressing thumb knuckles into the sole of the foot between the big and second toe mounds, while in poses such as shoelace (gomukhasana).


Forward folds, sun salutations, rocking supine, twists, some dragon lunges, downward-facing dog, child pose.

And for both meridians – meditation. Stillness is great for this element.