Element - Air/Metal
Emotions related - Hopelessness, sadness and grief or Joy and Hope, the ability to let go
Organs working strongest in this season - Lungs, Colon, Skin and Nerves
Their time - Lungs 3-5am, Colon - 5-7am
Visualisation - White Circle
Sound - Ssss
The Autumn winds creates drying conditions; leaves fall from trees dissolving into the earth, nourishing the roots so once again the tree will blossom. Our skin dries, ready to peel yet another layer, allowing this massive organ to breathe more deeply. This season/element is a time to 'let go' of all that disempowers us, creating space for renewed energy so that you dream your seed into fruition through winter.
The autumn/air organs are excretory - lungs, colon, skin and nerves.
In the autumn season there may be times of sadness, grief and hopelessness, sometimes of desperation and an effort to grab hold of the past and stop the passage of time.
This is due to a deficiency in the air organs. When they are in a state of health we feel joy, elation and hope, we want to LET GO of all that no longer serves, so we can make that new beginning in winter.
"Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy free, full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of lung. This will prevent kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in the winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.”
~ Huangdi Neijing Suwen
Practice breathing exercises; make sure the breath moves deeply into the whole soft part of the belly giving the colon and all digestive organs a dip massage. On the in-breathe the lungs expand, shoulders remain down and relaxed and the entire soft part of the belly expands as the diaphragm presses onto colon and all of the digestive organs.
Deep breathing not only strengthens the lungs and the diaphragm (the lungs' muscle), it soothes the nervous system, especially the celiac nerves, which lie in the solar plexus located, between the apex of the lower ribs and navel, closer to the spine. The celiac nerves control a lot of our digestion and adrenal function; rest/digest & fight/flight.
Our emotions are first felt in the organs, when we breathe correctly the organs remain healthy and emotions become more balanced. We have now discovered there are more nerves in the gut than the brain and that there is a great relationship between gut and brain. So the health of the gut is an important area to look at for stress related issues, nervous tension and other mental health issues.
My advice here is the importance of sitting up straight!!!!! 'Get off your organs' so the diaphragm can open to its fullest capacity enabling a deep massage the organs and free the celiac nerves. See diagram below
The large intestine is an upside u shape, when we sit for too long, hunch our backs and lean into our organs we close off the ends and corners of the colon. When we create blockages in the beginning and end of the colon we end up with hip problems as well as digestion, absorption and excretion problems. The colon begins to sag and compresses the small intestine.
Drink plenty of water to keep the colon moving and prevent the skin from drying – along with ingesting good oils.
Try This. As you inhale through the nose the lungs, ribs and abdomen should be expanding, while the shoulders stay down and relaxed, now exhale, the lungs, ribs and abdomen should be contracting. Often in life the breath changes and does the opposite and ends up feeling 'normal'. Practice this until you can train the breath to move correctly again, you will notice your stress levels will reduce quite rapidly This correct breathing is essential if you have ANY kind of breathing or stress problems.
On the exhale we release stagnant energy (prana) as well as carbon dioxide, feel this as “giving” on the inhale feel yourself “receiving” fresh Prana and oxygen. 'Giving' and 'Receiving' creates a sense of Connection.
All arm stretches will open the lungs and raising arms above the head will open the lower lung region, removing stagnant prana from the depths of the belly.
Postures such as cobra, camel, wheel will open the diaphragm and stimulate the spinal and celiac nerves, greatly bringing confidence and hope back into your life. It will also help rid toxins and rectify breathing problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
To massage the colon (large intestine); side bends, twists, one-legged forward bends, Nauli.
For calming the nervous system; pranayama (breathing), nadhi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), Brahmari (humming bee) - this one is great for the calming the heart and reducing anxiety and keeping the brain strong. With all breathing exercises exhale a little longer than the inhale, this will help to relax and reduce stress.
Eat foods in season
Pungent foods such as radish, liquorice root will strengthen the lungs and clean the lymphatic system. Famous oats help to clean the colon and calm nervous system, bathing in them will soothe the skin. Fermented foods or a good pre and pro biotic will feed the intestinal tract good bacteria, boosting the immune.
In autumn we eat fewer cold, uncooked foods, and more warm, cooked foods. Less salads and more soups and steamed vegetables such as winter squash, winter peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and yams, all the foods that grow in autumn. Incorporate white, yellow and red foods into your meals.
Foods that nourish the Metal/Air Element
Foods such as wild rice, raw onions, garlic, radish, turnip, kohlrabi, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, scallions, cloves, fennel, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, mustard, basil, nutmeg are considered metal foods. These foods have a dispersing effect and promote energy circulation. They mostly benefit sluggish, damp, lethargic, and cold people. The taste associated with metal is pungent or spicy.
Some more warm and nourishing foods and herbs to add to your autumn diet are: Apple, Banana, Beets, Bell pepper, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Cranberry, Figs, Ginger, Grapes, Leeks, Pears, Persimmons, Plums, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Red cabbage, Sage, Spinach, Thyme, Whole grains, Winter squash and Yam.
Cooler seasons are not a time for fasting, wait for the hotter months when the vessels are expanding ready to push toxins out. In the cooler months our body is contracting pulling energy in, fasting now will draw toxins deeper into the system, especially toward the kidneys.
Natalie Almond, I am a yoga teacher, retreat leader and Health and Wellness facilitator. Practicing yoga and the healing arts for around 30 years, my passion is to assist in the change of my clients so they feel, happier, healthier and more empowered.