Both the body and the mind are ever-changing, and one day they will dissolve completely like autumn leaves falling from the tree branches. –
Hello there, have you transitioned to Autumn?
The weather cooled down, the rain and wind had made an appearance, the leaves began to change color, and we finally pulled out the comfy sweaters and embrace the warm drinks. Fall is in the air.
To me Autumn has always felt like a special time of the year, a new beginning so to speak. The perfect time to make resolutions for the coming year and following traditions like fasting and cleansing the body and mind of toxins and negative patterns that do not serve our higher selves.
As the colder weather embraces us, we permit ourselves to slow down, remembering the past year and looking into our lives, at all the good things we choose to nourish and grow as well as the negative or not so healthy habits and behaviors we resolve to eliminate. This is the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and create and strategy for moving forward.
The beauty of Autumn is that as the fun, excitement, and heat of summer passes on, we have the opportunity to release things we don’t need anymore – just like falling leaves.
Now is the season to harvest the fruits of our labor from last winter, when we planted little seeds. We watered them and watched them sprout through spring and patiently nurtured them as they grew through summer.
I hope you were able to plant lots of seeds, because now it’s harvest time.
The Five Elements
At the beginning, there was only the TAO (the origin), from the TAO the Yin and Yang were born defining the universe as the interaction of opposite forces. From these forces the Ten Thousand things were created and with them the Five Elements.
The Five Elements show the five phases of transformation.
These phases represent the elements of the Earth associated with the seasons:
- Wood – Spring
- Fire – Summer
- Earth – Late Summer
- Metal – Autumn
- Water – Winter
These elements align with the stages of human life: birth, growth, maturation, death, and rebirth.
The movement through these phases is reflected in the external environment and the human internal environment. These repeated patterns are seen everywhere – from the rotation of the planets to the behavior of our internal organs.
Each of our internal organs are paired as Yin and Yang, sharing specific meridian pathways, tissues, muscles, and energetic functions. Each pair is affiliated with one of the Five Elements, but these organ systems function independently and in relation to each other.
All of the Five Elements are aspects of Qi.
Yin Yoga for the Metal Element
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go”. – Unknown –
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Autumn is the season of the Metal element. Metal reflects the most refined part of ourselves, our core issues. Our core issues deal with our existential reality, with questions like, “Who am I?” People who have an affinity to the Metal element are drawn to examine these core issues, but even if we do not personally have a particular affinity to Metal, during autumn, we are still called to deal with these core issues.
Can you hear your body’s call? This is the time of the year to harvest and lay back. Autumn reminds us that flexibility and adaptability are crucial for staying healthy and balanced during the winter months ahead. During this time you need to prepare for the challenges of winter.
For Autumn (the metal element), we target the lungs (yin) and large intestine (yang) meridian pair, which reflect the spiritual nature of the season, the letting go and receiving. It is common for people to be more vulnerable to colds, bronchial infection and allergies in the cooler days of autumn, making it a good time to support the immune system with some herbs, supplements and yin yoga
Yin Yoga helps regulate the Qi (energy body). It increases awareness of the energy level in the body, and stimulates the Qi. Yin yoga removes blockages by clearing up congested energy, allowing the energy to flow through the channels (Meridians or Nadis).
Nadis are pathways from which Qi flows through the body. There are three main Nadis:
• Ida, the feminine, left nostril, Yin
• Pingala, the masculine, right nostril, Yang
• Shusumna, central, the path of Kundalini
The Meridians are called “Jing-Luo”, Jing means “to go through” and Luo means “that which connects” like a net. Meridians are often described as a channel with certain functions:
• Move Qi and blood
• Moisten tendons and bones
• Benefits the joints
• Connects the inside and outside of the body
Acupressure & Acupoints
Acupressure is the use of pressure with the fingers on an acupoint. This has been around since ancient times, longer than acupuncture needles or moxibustions. There are various methods of this manual technique like; Reflexology, Shiatsu (Japanese), Tuina (traditional Chinese), Anma (traditional Japanese) and Daoyin (strictly mind/body exercise).
There are different methods of acupressure that are used to stimulate or sedate potent acupoints and their surrounding tissues, influencing the meridian:
• Light touch on a point
• Deep touch on a point
• Gentle massage on a point
• Stimulating massage on a point
• Light massage on an area or Meridian
• Stimulating massage on an area or Meridian
- The lungs regulate Qi that we absorb from the natural world and distribute it through the body.
- The Lungs control breathing, distributing oxygen to the blood, helping circulate blood and Wei Qi.
- The Lungs are a detox organ, eliminating stale Qi.
- The Lungs help Qi and fluids descend into intestines, so with Kidneys they regulate water metabolism.
- The lung meridian rules the skin and sweat glands, which are all important detox organs.
- The Lung system also regulates protective Wei Qi, sinuses, bronchia, nose, throat, voice, the ability to smell and to speak with a clear voice.
- The Lungs generate the emotion of grief, and its opposite, the wisdom of understanding significance.
- There are 11 points through the Lung meridian.
- The lung meridian begins at the front of the shoulder. It notches up before running down the top of the inner arm and ending at the corner of the thumbnail. Time: 3 a.m. – 5 a.m.
- The lung meridian represents the Yin aspect of the Metal element.
Large Intestine Meridian
- The large intestine function is to transport all turbidity. All waste products go through it.
- The large intestine is closely associated with the lungs and skin, which are other important detox organs.
- The large intestine’s close relationship to the Lungs makes it equally affected by emotions of sadness, grief, and worry.
- The large intestine absorbs liquid and releases anything that is no longer needed in the way of food, toxins, emotions, thereby cleansing the body, mind and spirit.
- There are 20 points in the large intestine meridian.
- The large intestine channel represents the Yang aspect of the Metal element.
As with the metal element, Autumn is the season of the harvest, the time to reap what we planted in the spring.
Autumn reminds us that flexibility and adaptability are crucial for staying healthy and balanced during the winter months ahead.
The virtues of Metal is letting go.