Seasonal mindfulness: Autumn is the season of letting go

The official start of Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere comes at the Equinox in September, when Earth’s equator moves directly through the centre of the sun’s path. It’s that time of year when we notice the nights drawing in and the temperatures beginning to dip. Maybe you also begin to crave warming foods like soups and stews, which, is no coincidence as in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is advised to consume less cold and raw foods at this time in order to more easily support the digestive system throughout the yin period of the year.

In TCM, Autumn is the season of the Lungs and Large Intestine and the element is Metal. The Lungs are known as the ‘Prime Minister’ and from an energetic perspective the Lungs are the yin organ of the pair, responsible for establishing the foundation of Qi (energy) for the whole body. The Lungs are also associated with our ability to take in, sort and release what we do not need.

Working in tandem with its yang organ partner, the Large Intestine, the Lungs take in fresh air (absorbing Qi from the sky), supplying us with the oxygen we need and expelling the carbon dioxide waste we don’t, while the Large Intestine helps to release waste from the food we consume. Just as both organs play a crucial role in elimination – letting go of what the body does not require – ‘letting go’ is the energy of Autumn. As the trees begin to shed their leaves this is an ideal time to ask yourself the question: ‘What it is time for me to let go of?’ If you are feeling unsure, journaling on this question, allowing yourself to free-write your unfiltered thoughts may be of help.

The Lung and Large Intestine Meridians

The meridian lines for both organs are concentrated in the upper body, so from a yin yoga perspective, these meridians can be stimulated by concentrating on poses that open the chest, abdomen and along the front of the arms.

In the downward direction the Lung meridian lines start from around the space of the solar plexus, before passing the stomach to connect with the large intestine. In the upward direction it crosses the diaphragm and enters the lungs where it divides to travel up the middle of the windpipe to the throat. Here, it again divides to travel to the shoulder and down the front of the arm ending at the corner of the thumb. The Large Intestine lines begin by the outside corner of the index finger and travel up along the outer edge of the arm to the shoulder, where it crosses the shoulder blades and travels up the side of the neck to the cheek and over the top lip where it ends beside the nose. In the downward direction, another branch travels into the lungs, diaphragm and large intestine.

The primary emotion associated with Autumn, the Lungs, Large Intestine and Metal is grief. Weak Lung Qi can manifest as an inability to process and express grief.

Imbalanced Lung and Large Intestine Qi can also look like low immunity, respiratory problems, colds, acne, muddled thoughts and difficulty in expressing emotions. An imbalance of Metal element meanwhile can show up as being unable to recognise our gifts.

When in balance we can feel more present, optimistic and open as well as having more courage to face life’s ups and downs from a place of acceptance.

During this Autumn season, take the cues of nature and consider ways you can let go of what you no longer need. Clearing out old negativity will provide room for you to take in new things that will serve you well. One way to begin this process simply is to allow yourself time each day to breathe consciously. Give yourself the space for contemplation and rest and see where this leads you.

Breathe Deeply: Box Breathing – Support your Lungs and Soothe the Stress Response

Try this breathing practice on its own or after your yoga practice.

Visualising a box, begin at the bottom left-hand corner:

Inhale slowly for 4 counts – up the left side of the box

Hold for 4 counts – across the top of the box

Exhale slowly for four counts – down the right side of the box

Hold for 4 counts – across the bottom of the box

Repeat this three to four times or longer if needed.

Yin Yoga for the Lungs and Large Intestine – Supported Fish Pose

Lie back resting your mid-back on a block or bolster. To ensure your head and neck feel comfortable you may want to place a block under your head too. Allow your arms to reach out to either side on the ground with your palms facing up. Your legs can be extended or you may prefer to bend your knees and rest the soles of your feet on your mat.

Rest here for between one and five minutes for as long as you feel comfortable.

Want to connect with the community? Join a workshop with Paula Hines to support the Brixton Soup Kitchen:

ONLINE – Joyful & Open: An Autumn Yin & Yoga Nidra Workshop, Saturday 16th October 2-4.15pm {sliding scale pricing}. At least 50% of proceeds will go to Brixton Soup Kitchen. Find out more right here

The post Seasonal mindfulness: Autumn is the season of letting go appeared first on Yogamatters Blog.

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