Oct 21 , 2021
Autumn, the season that shows us the beauty of letting go. A time of practicing non-attachment and turning inwards.
Through the eyes of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and the five-element theory, the ever-changing cycles of nature reflect the magic of tuning into the essence of each season. The teachings of Seasonal Yoga and TCM inspire us to live life in flow with the seasons, to live harmoniously with the ebb and flow of life and in turn to find peace and balance. Autumn itself bursts into the year, unapologetically and effortlessly providing a feast for the eyes with the stunning array of colours it produces, dark browns and burnt orange hues fill our world right now. I don’t know about you, but cosy scenes of dark evenings, chunky jumpers and a warm fire fill my head when I think of Autumn.
As the year has progressed, we’ve seen the creation of Spring, then the embracing of joy in Summer and most recently the slowing down of Late Summer. Autumn sees the end of this cycle, time to shed and let go of the abundance we’ve cultivated through the year so far. As the trees start to draw their energies back to their centre, their leaves effortlessly dancing to the ground beneath, with an almost poetic sense of surrender. This season is associated with the coming and going of life, the ending of cycles and the deep sense of letting go.
From Late Summer we began our journey to slow down and to ground, in Autumn we continue the descent into the Earth to find the element of the season, Metal. Metal is heavy, downward drawing and projects a stillness and slowness. Connotations of strength and structure come to mind when we think of metal. However, Metal rejuvenates the Earth, as the leaves fall to the ground and decompose; the earth absorbs the nutrients providing richness to the soil and nourishment for new plants. Metal is a malleable material which can be transformed over and over again, without losing its integrity or innate properties. Similar to the valuable minerals and metals found deep within the Earth, when we start to travel inwards we can unearth our own self-worth and values, as well as the values in others too.
The Metal element inspires Autumn, by asking us to consolidate, set boundaries, refine ourselves and to create routine. A balanced Metal element can maintain healthy boundaries and easy routine. If we don’t have enough metal within us, it can lead to sloppiness and feelings of numbness. If we are excessive and have too much of it, we can become overbearing, unable to express emotions and become rigid in our thinking. Just as metals give value to the Earth (Gold, Silver and minerals), the Metal element within us gives us our sense of self-worth.
The energy of Autumn is gathering yin with the organs associated with the season being the Lungs and the Large Intestine. The Lungs allow us to invite in the purity of the air we breathe and transform it into the oxygen necessary for our bodies to function, and also to regulate water passages by circulating body fluids and controlling the metabolism of water in the body. The flow of energy through the Lungs is essential for life, the movement of the Lungs as we breathe provides warmth for the organs of the body and the healthy overall movement of qi (energy) in the body. The upper respiratory system often becomes compromised during the Autumn and Winter months, with chest infections and coughs rife at this time of year. Strengthening your Lungs in Autumn will boost your immune system and their capacity. Regular exercise, practicing pranayama techniques and a healthy balanced diet, will all help to strengthen the Lungs and also improve circulation and your energy levels as we approach the colder months ahead.
Meanwhile, the Large Intestine eliminates the waste that our bodies no longer need. The Large Intestine works together with the Lungs, drawing in the pure and letting go of waste and materials that are toxic. We are more than our physical bodies, inspired by the function of the colon we too can give ourselves permission to release toxic relationships, thoughts and the things that block us from our true nature. By letting go of these things and surrendering to the moment, we free ourselves to be able to experience the pure and the beauty of Autumn that surrounds us.
The emotion that correlates with the Lungs and Large Intestines is grief and sadness. A time of loss in nature, as we let go of the heavy burdens and of the high energy of Summer. This phase of the year can be a challenging time for many, especially with longer evenings and less sunlight during the day. It becomes really important to stay nourished, take time to reflect and to be kind to ourselves so that we can maintain a sense of balance.
As nature moves into the period of rest through Autumn and Winter, we too must be cautious not to overexert. To live with the feels of Autumn, is to drop into the yin energy of the season and to slow down. Nourish yourself with spice-infused soups and warm drinks. Emotionally, this season of releasing and perhaps grief clears the pathway for self-discovery as we shed the seasons beforehand to rediscover ourselves and reflect on the teachings of the year. In our yoga practice, Autumn is the time to approach a slower-paced flow and to spend time in the quiet nature of long-held yin like postures. Incorporating a solid pranayama practice into your day will help boost your immune system and strengthen your lungs too. Interested in flowing through an Autumn inspired yoga offering?
Join me here to practice letting go, breathing deep and coming home to yourself this Season.
Varrie is a 200hr Yoga Teacher who loves nothing more than sharing her passion for this practice. Varrie brings a spirit of playfulness to her teachings, combining creative sequencing, compassion-centred philosophy and a gentle nature to encourage students to find feel-good movement in their practice. Her classes are a blend of thought-provoking meditations, breath-led movement and guided relaxations, combining elements of Vinyasa Flow and Seasonal Yoga.
Find out more by visiting her website: https://www.yogawithvarrie.com