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.
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.