Dear yogi friends,
Eastern philosophy holds that there are five different elements within nature and which are reflected in the cycles of our bodies. All of us have 5 elements and they are each arranged slightly differently within us. The elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each element is related to its own season, emotion, and organ system.
Autumn correlates with metal, the Lungs and the Large Intestine. Its strength is balance and its virtue is fairness or justice.
As we know, metal is heavy and condensed. It also draws downwards, like a plumb line and represents a stillness and slow pace which is not found anywhere else in nature. Like in the Autumn where the trees begin to draw their forces back into their centre, and the leaves give off a final dance of colour before their wintry goodbye, metal is associated with the coming and going of life, the end of cycles, the rhythm of our breath and also of getting rid of waste via excretionary actions.
It is important to refocus our awareness of our relationship between the seasonal changes, our feelings and emotions, our health and the way we live our lives. Working against the natural to and fro, up and down of life can create unease and imbalance.
The Lungs are associated with the emotion of grief, they are connected to the skin and body hair which are part of our immune system, working very closely with other organs to maintain a sense of balance in the body. It is during this time of the year people more likely experience asthma, allergies, colds and flus, develop stress related skin issues, bowel disturbances, depression and anxiety.
At this time of year, rest and relaxation are needed for our immunity, for essential renewal and also for emotional balance. To support the metal element inside our bodies going to bed early and getting up at dawn will help conserve the body’s chi. By conserving our spirit, by doing regular yoga practices and eating nutritious foods we can adapt and cope with the changes in our environment.
Slow inhalation and vigorous exhalation, activating the lungs by dispelling stagnant chi as well as using Bhastrika (bellows breath) will both generate prana to activate the entire body while building immunity.
Our asana practice can include revolved poses which help circulate and increase prana in the lungs as well as inversions and inclining asanas. Inversions help the body get rid of impurities and fill the body with radiance. They also bring strength, firmness, and clarity of mind. Life is always changing and we should be willing to work with its natural flow. Metal is a malleable substance because it can be formed and transformed many times without losing its identity. We too can, as we discover our own sense of self as well as the value in others. To appreciate the preciousness of each breath and to begin drawing our energies inward to prepare for the longer and colder months ahead.
During the month of October as we set our intentions for our yoga practice, we might want to, as we take a deep full breath in, let go of the things in our lives that no longer help or assist us. We may want to contemplate what is important to us at this moment, recognize the value in those that we meet and to notice the diamonds in the wayside.
We can begin to feel the solid structures of our bodies. The bones within us can be noticed, and as we provide gentle stresses to them we can stimulate their growth, and increase the spaces between the bones where our breath moves. This is a practice of embodying our yogic experience and connecting to what is deep inside. Just like the leaves on the trees we can learn to be okay with letting go.
I look forward to seeing you in class this season and working together to let go of what we do not need.