Element - Air/Metal
Emotions related - Hopelessness, sadness ans 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 wind picks up blowing away debris; old leaves fall from trees dissolving into the earth, nourishing the roots so once again the tree will blossom.
Autumn winds dry things up including our skin, ready to peel away yet another layer. Just as the snake sheds it’s skin or the leaves falling from the tree in preparation for a fresh beginning.
The autumn/air organs are of excretion - lungs, colon, skin and nerves.
The autumn season may be a time 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 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 the 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 belly, especially the solar plexus. Breathing not only strengthens the lungs and diaphragm, it soothes the nervous system, especially the celiac nerves which lie in the solar plexus, located just under the lung’s muscle – the diaphragm, between the apex of the lower ribs and navel. The celiac nerves control a lot of our digestion and adrenal function rest/digest &fight/flight. Since the digestive organs are also related to our emotions as well as digestion we should breathe deep to give them an efficient massage. Now discovering there are more nerves in the gut than the brain, this is a great area to look into for stress management, nervous tension and other health issues.
My suggestion here is the importance to sit up straight!!!!! Get off your organs so the diaphragm can open to its fullest capacity, this way your breath will massage your organs rather than block them and your celiac nerves will function perfectly well. See diagram below
The large intestine is an upside u shape, when we sit for too long, hunch our back and lean into our organs we close off the ends and corners of the colon, ending up with hip problems as well as digestion, absorption and excretion problems. The colon begins to drop 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.
As we inhale the lungs and ribs should be expanding, while the shoulders stay down and relaxed, the abdomen should also be expanding. Take a deep breath, notice if you are doing this correctly. When we exhale the lungs/ribs should be contracting along with the abdomen, try this and see if this is happening for you. If not start to practice this it will change your adrenal and stress levels greatly. This correct breathing, it is essential if you have ANY kind of breathing problems or not.
It is the way we breathed as babies, due to life experiences it has changed this for some of us.
Breathe out the stagnant energy (prana) feel this as “giving” and deeply draw in the refreshing autumn air and feel yourself “receiving”.
All arm stretches will open the lungs and above the head Arm stretches will open the lower region of the lungs.
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.
To work 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 head clear. With all your breathing exercises try to exhale longer than you inhale, this will help you to relax and reduce stress.
Eat foods in season
Pungent foods such as radish, liquorice root strengthens the lungs and cleans the lymphatic system and of course the famous oats helps to clean colon and calm nerves. Fermented foods or a good pre and pro biotic will feed the intestinal tract good bacteria, which boosts immune.
In autumn we eat fewer cold, uncooked foods, such as salads 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 fall 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.
This is not a time to fast, wait for the hotter months when the vessels are expanding ready to push things out. The cooler months everything is contracting pulling energy in, fasting now will draw toxins deeper into the system.
The Earth Element – Work It Now!!!!
The Earth element kicks in at times of change whether it be in between seasons, especially the hot months into the cooler months and in life in general.
There is a heck of a lot that going on at the moment for us and earth mother, not that we are separate, we are one entity!! At this moment there is a lot of fear and instability, which can lead to strong feelings of anxiety, which creates confusion.
Even more so as the stomach, spleen and pancreas can make these feelings emerge quite strongly if the organs are out of balance and at the change of season these organs stand at the forefront. Now more than ever is the time to balance these organs, allowing them to benefit us rather than be ruled by unwanted emotions and events. Let’s embrace confidence and stability allowing us to adapt to and create change to our advantage.
The spleen is a fist-sized organ that sits just under the diaphragm at the back of the left rib cage, behind the stomach. If you make a fist with your left hand, (this is the size of the spleen) and touch it to the back of the lower left ribs you are probably on the spleen. This organ releases b-lymphocytes that target virus and bacteria and mark them for destruction, it often does this before we even realise we have symptoms. The spleen also controls our mucous (and to a great extent our blood) as we move through change, such as in-between seasons or changes in life, this change often involves a cold.
Our body induces fever, which encourages lymphocytes to release, killing off virus and bacteria. The fever burns out our old mucosa lining and pulls a fresh new adapted lining through, especially when we are going through big change in life not just the seasons. It is important not to lower your temperature at these times unless you are in a danger zone, as we need to keep our natural heating/cooling system working. This system is known as the hara/dantien/tanden, which is approximately 3 fingers below the navel and three fingers inward. This is where we should put our focus in every yoga/tai chi/chi kung practice as it is where we build our prana/energy/qi/chi/life force.
This energy centre is connected with the tiny lymph in the small intestine called the peyers patches, which heat the body to create fevers and release lymphocytes to kill bacteria and virus that enter the gut. The hara/dantian build energy/qi in the body that helps heat the body and fight infection. This area heats, cools, thickens and thins our blood at the most appropriate times for our actions and reactions, allowing us to respond in the way we wish to, so long as we are not always pulling on our adrenals above the navel, giving us the same old responses.
Seeing’s as there is such a strong flu going around it really is important to focus on the hara and work the spleen, giving it strength to bring through anti-bodies. It is also a time to keep the muscles strong giving you the stability and confidence you need in all aspects of life! Focus on what you are feeding into your stomach and that you are chewing your food properly to avoid the stomach having to make excess acid, as this also creates anxiety as well as digestive problems.
Do this and you will have lots of calm energy. You will feel strong and confident, you will move through change much more easily and create change to your advantage.
The spleen loves the flavours of bitter sweet, foods such as a salad of bitter green leaves with some grapes. Drink Swedish bitters as it has massive immune and healing properties and chase that down with a teaspoonful of the golden elixir, honey!! Mmmmm
The spleen also needs earthy, yellow foods such as pumpkin, which is delicious when cooked with aduki beans that help to strengthen and balance the kidneys, mix that with a little kelp as well, and you help to strengthen and balance the thyroid. Sounds like a couple of good remedies to me. Eating yellow fruits and vegetables is the key, all the foods that are growing in your season in your place.
Foods to eat for spleen qi include:
· malted grain beverages
· root vegetables including sweet potato and taro
· pumpkin and other squash
· miso soup
· orange peels
· mustard leaf
Foods to avoidFoods to avoid for spleen qi include:
· refined sugar
· refined grains
· fried or salty foods
· iced or refrigerated foods or drinks
· dairy products
· citrus fruits
· yeasty foods, such as beer or dough
Read more about spleen energy https://www.acupuncturepathways.com/news/2017/7/27/the-earth-element-spleen-and-stomach
If you wish to join my February retreat which begins on the 25th to create peace and stability book in now, only one room left Twin or Single
I have put together a little spleen yoga class for you to practice at home as there are now many that understandably don’t want to share space at the moment. See home page
I have a private Facebook page now where I am offering 4 classes per month at a fee of $28. At the moment the classes are focused on the chakra system, there are many more classes up. If you wish to join the monthly classes please click the link below.
Natalie Almond I am a yoga teacher and a 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 to feel, happier, healthier and more like theit true selves.