Autumn is a season for letting go and creating new space for new beginnings. Human beings are an intrinsic part of the natural world and we can experience our fullest self expression when we embody the energy of nature. In this season, the natural world gracefully lets go of that which no longer serves.
Autumn is a time when the natural world “beautifully lets go”. The trees prepare for Winter and leaves fall gracefully to the ground. They will become soil for new seeds or growth.
Notice how the leaves fall from the trees to the ground in a beautiful expression of release. At one point, the leaves served a valuable purpose for the trees. They absorbed sunlight and fueled growth. Now, the trees are ready to let go of their colorful leaves and let them become soil for new seeds.
As nature lets go, it is also time for us to free ourselves of anything that prevents us from being authentic. Letting go creates space for better health, more energy, and new experiences. It provides space for us to become what we want to be.
Often, we are fearful of the process of letting go, even when it’s healthy and right. We may seek to hold onto things, instead of trusting that change can be an opportunity for growth.
Holding onto stress, emotional energy, physical tension, unhelpful thought patterns, and even unhealthy relationships or unfulfilling work positions can prevent us from creating the space to allow what we truly want in life to emerge.
We may not even realize what we’re holding onto. Often, life’s experiences give us emotions and burdens that we accept without question. It is important to take a step back and go inward to realize what we need to let go of. It might be an emotion such as sadness or anger. Or maybe we need to accept that a job or activity that is no longer serving us. Whether we want to release something internal or something outside of ourselves, we will have to find a way to transform our attachments.Th
The Metal Element
In Chinese medicine theory, Autumn is under the influence of the Metal element. This is responsible for the health of the lungs. The lung meridian relates to clear thinking and communication, openness to new ideas, positive self-image, and the ability to relax. In addition, it represents our sense of attachment. Therefore, if lung energy is out of balance, it may be hard to let go. That may relate to people, places, or experiences. Nature shows how glorious it can be to let go. In other words, Autumn is the time to take stock and release things we no longer need in our lives.
The partner organ of the lungs is the large intestine. The lungs take in the new. On the other hand, the large intestine gathers and releases what is no longer needed. This metaphor can help us understand why this is the time to complete projects that we began earlier. In addition it is a time to organise our belongings, letting go of what we no longer need. It is also the time to take walks in the fresh air and fill our lungs with fresh healthy energy. When we breathe deeply and with intention, we strengthen our lungs. At the same time, we flood our cells and brains with oxygen. This helps to improve memory, increase our energy level, and bolster our immune system.
When the Lung Qi is out of balance we can experience grief, anxiety and sadness. We may lose our enthusiasm or have trouble coping with change. Among the physical symptoms we may notice are constipation, diarrhea, headache, lung disorders (such as asthma), sinus and nasal congestion, coughs, colds, sore throat, and shortness of breath. We may experience arm, shoulder, neck pain, with or without headache. Our skin may become Itching and/or dry.
However, when the Lung Qi is balanced, we develop internal strength, openness to new ideas, courage, integrity, resiliency, confidence, and clear thinking,
People often find they feel ‘out of sorts’ at this time of year. As the days become shorter and the nights become longer, it can have a profound effect on the biology of animals, plants and humans. It is a time when we need to support our energy and immunity.
Many of us experience Season Affective Disorder. This is linked to a shortage of natural light which causes a decrease in our body’s neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine, for example)
Experts have repeatedly discovered that exercise has a positive affect on our mood and symptoms of depression. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats the person holistically and looks to restore balance and harmony in the body.
We know that both Tai Chi and Qi Gong (which is a part of TCM) increase your intake of oxygen, improve your circulation and lymph system drainage, increase your serotonin levels in the brain, as well as boost your mood, improve your emotional control and happiness, and relax your body. Your joints, muscles, and internal and external organs function better.
The best Qi Gong practices at this time of year are those that balance and nourish the metal element, focusing on the Lungs (Yin) and Large Intestine (Yang). Five Element Qi gong and the 8 Pieces of Brocade (Baduanjin) help by nourishing the Lungs according to the five element theory. They also stimulate the Lung meridian channel.
In TCM, the lungs govern many emotions. To bring these emotions into balance, we use slow and deliberate movements to open the chest cavity. In Tai Chi and Qi Gong the spine, rib-cage, waist, chest and upper back go through an expanding and compressing motion that gently massages the internal body. This helps increase blood flow, remove toxins and aids Lung function. Movements such as rotations will massage and stimulate the Large Intestine.
“Grief”does not necessarily refer to bereavement, it could relate to many kinds of loss. It can be defined as extreme sadness and/or distress and is often translated as “melancholy”. This is a natural process and response to loss, but when we don’t release it, it can have a detrimental impact on the Lungs, as well as our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
From the perspective of TCM, as well as Movement Psychotherapy, it’s not healthy to bottle up any emotions as they get stored in our body. When we hold onto them, rather than feeling them, our energy flow gets blocked and stagnates. Many lung, skin, and elimination problems are believed to be caused by unresolved grief.
Qigong and Tai Chi involve the breath, the mind, and slow easy movements which promote and produce free flowing energy (Qi) and blood in the body. this helps rebalance your mental, emotional, and even physical health.