The climate all around us is crisping and contracting, doona days are increasing in number slowly and the light is beginning to retreat from the boundaries of the days. Autumn is here, and not a moment too soon.
Traditionally the time of the great harvest, it is representative of natures cycle of gathering in, slowing down and storing food and fuel for the winter months that await. These three short months of autumn are quite literally the doorsteps of winter and would generally have consisted of study and planning for the approaching stillness. Everything around us begins its gradual retreat: fruit and blossoms from the branches, leaves and sap from the trunk, even the green of grass fades to pale.
This drying, descending, gravitational force in the Autumn season is associated with the element of metal and the organs and processes of the lung and large intestine. A branch of the lung channel connects with the large intestine below it tethering this unique relationship and the sweet balance struck when we let go and take in in equal measure.
Lung qi or energy is the pushing power behind large intestine’s peristaltic action and elimination of waste materials. From a more general perspective, it could be said that the function of the large intestine is in accordance with the propelling power of the Lungs. Whilst this can be a difficult concept to grasp from a western perspective you need only breath deep to your belly and feel its rhythmic expand and contract to marry the connection between the pump like peristalitic movement of the colon and that of the lungs.
“The lung is the master of qi. Above, it connects to the throat; below, it connects to the orifices of the heart and the liver. It is in charge of inhalation and exhalation, and, in more general terms, the flux of coming in and going out.”
Doctor Shen’s Compendium of Honoring Life (Shen Shi Zunsheng Shu), 1773:
Grief is the emotion associated with lungs and colon, but perhaps not in the way you might think. Appropriately expressed and resolved grief is essential to our well being and strengthens the overall internal basis of our health. It represents the truest and most honest balance of taking in and letting go in life, ‘the flux of coming in and going out’ as alluded to above. Grief and loss causes the lung architecture to contract, often in shock, unresolved or repressed grief sustains the contraction, it is as if Lungs are holding onto the wrack of sobs that loss brings up in us. Over time Lung becomes dry, its capacity to ‘take in’ new breath, new experiences, new directions is compromised. Lungs function of dispersing and descending the heavenly mist of prana (or just oxygen if that language is more comfortable for you) becomes affected and in turn all of the body systems will be influenced.
Far from being all negative, the contractive force of grief in the lungs serves to draw us inwards in much the same way the season of Autumn draws the energy of nature back to the trunk and stem structure. This journey in and under brings us to the state of reflection and refinement that is necessary in the identification and acknowledgement of unresolved sorrows. By moving in we assist ourselves to transform our losses simply by being mindful of them. In this gathering there is comfort, the season of Autumn and the precision of its metal edge serve only to return us to wholeness and balance.
• Share your feelings with empathic others to disperse them in the intellectual and emotional body.
• Long deep breathing dissolves turbid emotions and anguished thoughts supporting the visceral and spiritual realms.
• Pungent foods lift the expansive and dispersive forces in the body and assist in the dissolving of the unresolved and health of the body from the inside out.
The metal element (and the organs of the Lungs and Large intestine) are the weakest of the 5 element cycles in the 21st century with skin, lung and bowel cancer in the top 5 most common types of cancer and representative of 50% of all cancers. (Cancer Council Australia)
This is the season to polish your Metal element, to feel the vitality, inspiration and energy inherent in the humble act of balancing the “flux of coming in and going out.” Join our yoga practices and therapists this Autumn and take part in the wonder of letting go and letting fall.
5 Element Yoga Therapist
Yolande consults Tuesdays and Saturdays by appointment.