The ancient Chinese have a super sophisticated traditional medicine system that supports health and vitality. Part of this system is a Chi Cycle that charts the flow of chi or energy through your body over a 24-hour period, showing the journey of the chi or life force which rests in different organs at specific times of the day. Chinese medicine suggests that by following this pattern of the chi voyage through the organs and matching your activities to relate to the qualities of the organs, you will always be in a flow with life. In fact by following the natural flow of your body’s energy cycles, you will create radiant health, abundant energy and even enhance your life purpose.
So what is Chi? Chi is the ultimate source of energy. It is the life force or cosmic energy and it flows through all of life; through our bodies, igniting our minds, our hearts and through the plants, animals, trees, rivers and the wind. The ancient sages of Taoism mapped out life patterns by spending time observing how the stars, seasons and the natural world moved. They discovered that chi flows through the cosmos from the largest of planets to the tiniest molecules in a rhythmical cycle which is the chi cycle. Actually chi is energy, information and consciousness, not the simple one dimensional Western translation of “energy.” To be in harmony with this tremendous force is revolutionary for your life. You can move from wandering around in a random trajectory, and can catapult yourself directly into alignment with Life itself.
Acupuncturist, chi cycle expert and author of The Perfect Day Plan, Jost Sauer, says Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) developed a lifestyle in which everything we do, from eating to sleeping to sex, builds chi and creates health.
“The ultimate aim of Taoism and Chinese medicine is to reorganise 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 could say the chi-cycle, 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 the impossible becomes possible.” – Jost Sauer.
What is the Chi Cycle?
Chi courses through us in the same endless 24 hour cycle. In Chinese Traditional Medicine, energy flows through our 12 main meridians or energetic pathways, in two hour blocks. It spends two hours in each of our organs and there are certain things we can do at specific times to catch the cosmic momentum and thereby increase our health and happiness. By moving in tune with the cosmic flow rather than against it, you are not exploiting your own resources which separate yin and yang, or unbalancing them.
“A happy life is one of movement and rhythm and I think of these eight segments as an eight-bar beat, a pulse, an endlessly engaging trance rhythm which creates the foundation for limitless complex harmonies. Doing the same things at the same time and in the same order every day creates the beat. So if you usually wake up at 8am, for example, start your routine then. Focus on establishing rhythm then slowly shift the entire routine to start earlier. This scheduled lifestyle might be sounding very un-mystical but, having researched the chi-cycle extensively and lived in harmony with it for years, I know that, over time, this repetition creates the foundation for a life that feels totally spontaneous. Also, one that allows you to fulfil your destiny.” – Jost Sauer.
One of the keys of the chi cycle is waking earlier, and the rituals we engage in during this more introspective and transformative time of the day. It is a time when we are open to Divine guidance and inspiration. So by working in harmony with our chi cycle we can create more inspiration and clarity in our lives.
“Also resist the temptation to wake and immediately check messages, emails or Facebook on your phone or some other communication device. The moment you do this (or read the paper, listen to the radio or watch TV) you are affirming that the mundane affairs of the physical world are more important than your purpose and destiny. You are confirming to the universe that other people’s ideas and /or gossip have priority over the evolution of your soul. You’ll feel scattered and off-path for the day ahead and drift away from happiness and towards misery.”
The Connection Between the Organs and the Emotions
In Chinese medicine each organ in our body is related to a particular element and emotion. The emotions are considered the major internal causes of disease in TCM. A normal internal physiological response to external stimuli is fine, but when emotions become overly powerful and endure for some time, it impacts our health. See our article on What are the Seven Emotions for more information. Western health practitioners tend to emphasize the psychological effects of the emotions on our health, but TCM practitioners emphasise the pathological damage to the internal organs.
In Chinese medicine your organs have emotional attributes as well as physical functions, and with a harmonious lifestyle your lungs can generate feelings of freedom; your liver, happiness; your spleen, concentration; your kidneys, power; and your heart, love. According to Sauer, tuning in with this lifestyle not only provides a natural 24-hour detox, but makes you feel supported, empowered and ready to go forth on your mission to find your cosmic self.
It is possible to have more energy by changing when you do things. The 24 hour chi cycle is a template for optimising your day according to the ancient Chinese chi cycle. By choosing to perform activities at the time that they will be best supported, we can amplify our influence in the world and be more conscious about the way we live. This leads to great vitality, creativity, and flow in our lives. Working smart in this way, you can maximise your efforts and gain great results. Basically we are harmonizing with the forces of nature, rising when the sun rises, winding down when the sun sets and living life in harmony with the needs of our inner organs and the flow of chi.
|7.00-9.00am||Stomach||Arrive||Have breakfast, create balance|
|9.00-11.00am||Spleen||Action||Make decisions, tackle tasks requiring concentration and focus|
|11.00am-1.00pm||Heart||Love||Joyful tasks, connect with soulful purpose|
|1.00-3.00pm||Small intestine||Slow||Have lunch, slowing down brings clarity|
|3.00-5.00pm||Bladder||Support||Schedule less intensive, routine tasks|
|5.00-7.00pm||Kidney||Switch off||Social, laugh, unwind|
|7.00-9.00pm||Circulation-Sex||Protect||Have dinner, be creative|
|9.00-11.00pm||Triple Warmer||Passage||Go to sleep|
|11.00pm-1.00am||Gallbladder||Courage||Sleep, unconscious problem solving|
|1.00-3.00am||Liver||Recover||Sleep, soul guidance|
|5.00-7.00am||Large intestine||Transform||Wake, embrace a new day|
Experimenting with designing your perfect day around your chi cycle and your needs, can have a tremendous impact on your life.
“Everything we do is also cosmically aligned so we can access the matrix and achieve the greatness we are all destined for. The chi-cycle is an amazing lifestyle. It takes care of everything from the practical ‘what to do when’, to the profound ‘what am I here for’. And even though it is ancient, it is still the most effective ‘happiness system’ I’ve come across.” – Jost Sauer
Some interesting comments here.
(I’m fascinated to know what Ancient African Medicine is!? The Root of Chinese medicine seems to have come from the Steppes of Russia over 5,000 years ago – does African Medicine have roots that can be traced back that far? Does it have such detailed, scientifically researched and documented methods? I’d love to know.. )
So many comments are about “How do I apply this to my lifestyle?”
It’s not designed to fit your lifestyle!
If you are working night-shifts, if your habits make you feel better at night when you should be sleeping, if what you read makes you cross because it seems so irrelevant to this day and age, then you need to look at YOU.
The ideals that these lay out, doesn’t account for being on the treadmill of life, for the desperate need to make money to feed your family!
These ideas were laid out at the time of The Yellow Emperor, and were for courtiers and rich men.
They represent an ideal to strive for.
Thanks Azriel, really nice article.
Personally I was looking for a reminder of the “Horlogical” Cycle, as a simple diagnostic tool, thanks for this!
Nice share.. thank you
I get up between 9 and 11 am. Bed about 12-1 in morning. This would not work for me.
‘- when is it 7-9 am ? when is sunrise ? different places have different time zones which are not in syn with sunrise
– some say lunch is 11am-1pm ?
– some say meals should be 7-8 hr apart (after food leaves stomach and small intestine (digested)
– how can dinner be 7-9 pm and sleep be 9-11 pm ?
– sleep should be 3-4 hrs after dinner
– and when is 7-9 pm ? when is sunset ?
I’ve been studying Tai Chi Chuan since the 90’s and teaching since 2000. I’ve seen plenty of Wade-Giles and Pinyin mixes for Taiji and it’s not worth the time to re-write all the different books on this internal martial art….better to practice with a good instructor.
As far as the source for Tai Chi Chuan, it is a good bet that the origins of Qigong, Taiji and meditation originated from India before it reached mainland China and branched into Tai Chi, Hsing-yi, and Baghua and all the other variants. Blessings, Rev. P. E. Carlson
hello I find the article very interesting and I wonder can you give advice on how to create a good regimen for me whose job is at night and asleep in the mornings?
I noticed this schedule is for a regular kind of day. how about for us people whose job require us to be awake at night? could you design a regiment that will work for us. my shift is between 9pm to 6am. thank you.
Every mention of Ancient Chinese Medicine makes me think, everything they knew was taught or straight stolen from Ancient African medicine and science. Give credit where credit is DUE, please!
The text in the chart that suggests actions for time of the day gets cut off, at least when reading on a mobile.
interesting information, giving posible answers to questions.as Frank Burton mentiones, for me too, it
s already part of my life, as Im using this, among other aproaches, to uplift people, asking for my guiding.
thnx for reminding me 🙂
Thank you, it’s what I’ve been searching for, and your explanation was very chi 🙂
I find the article incomplete…it introduces the idea an information but not really how to execute it…for example what would a Day in life be like following this cycle…what are you suppose too be doing at each of the key intervals of the meridian times to line up an come in sync with your chi…for someone new to this concept…it leaves more questions than answers…unless I’m completely missing the point…
How would one adapt this cycle to fit the lunatic’s schedule? I’ve always felt drained with no energy if I wake with the day and sleep with the night. If I sleep from 4am to noon I feel great. I have energy throughout, and my creativity comes out well past 11pm. On a day cycle I feel uninspired and life is mundane and drab. I’m a musician and have always resonated with late night hours. A lunatic; I come alive when the sky is dark and stars shine. The moon reflects, and that’s when the music comes through me.
I really like this article and its directness and clarity, and am pleased to see this infomation made accessible.
That being said, I do have issue with the use of the spelling “CHI” to represent Qi. Qi is the pinyin (Chinese) romanization of the word 氣 representing breath, essential energy. Chi is an outdated representation from the mid-19th century Wade-Giles system. Since 1958 Pinyin has been the adopted romanization in China (the PRC). I have issue with this misuse, because it misleads people to believe that the word “Chi” in Tai Chi is the same as the word “Qi” in Qi Gong which is not the case. Tai Chi translates as Supreme Ulimate and Qi Gong translates as Energy/Breath Work/Practice. While Tai Chi is the Supreme Ultimate form of Qi work, it is not Breath Ultimate… Sorry to vent…
I wonder if the cycle is different in different places. Time zones aren’t really consistent, and some places there are multiple time zones along the same latitude. I’m sure there is some variation depending on location.
Great article! A lot of this timetable is already part of my life, maybe subconscious guidance? Only thing I would add is in the morning 5-7 as part of my waking up and embracing the day I include exercise (various forms) and meditation.