October 21st - December 20th
Welcome to the Autumn season, where the energetic yang energy merges into the cooler, calmer yin; when leaves change colour, daylight is shorter and there is the sense that the earth’s energy is gathering inward and preparing to ‘let go’ for winter.
It is time for us to let go of things that we may be holding on to, remove the old and focus on the things that we truly value.
Autumn is related to the Metal Element, which governs transformation, organisation, setting boundaries and re-establishing limits.
Autumn Organs - Lungs & Large Intestine
Each season is related to a pair of organs and for Autumn these are the Lungs and Large Intestine. The organs which deal primarily with absorption and expulsion - the drawing in and letting go within the body.
The lungs take in new, fresh oxygen and expel stale carbon dioxide - we can not survive without this process, so it is vital to look after the health of our lungs.
In the East the lungs are associated with clear thinking, openess and positive thinking. The emotion associated with the lungs is grief, so make sure to focus on dealing with loss or grief in a healthy way in order to stay balanced and keep the lungs and mind healthy.
The meridian lines (energy pathways) for the lungs, run from the outer collarbone, along the inner arm, ending in the thumb.
The large intestine is the final stretch of the alimentary canal. Its main function is to re-absorb water to help the body’s fluid balance and help with elimination of waste products.
In the East it is called ‘The Drainer of Dregs’ - a phrase that implies the removal of unwanted parts/emotions. By letting go we can stay balanced and keep the large intestine in check.
The meridian lines run up from the index finger, up the back of the arm into the V of the shoulder, ending in the opposite side of the nostril. The only meridian that crosses the midline.
The focus for your yoga practise in Autumn should be on breath awareness, pranayama and gathering energy inwards. Work with postures that open and close the body, open the chest and side body to increase space for deep, long breaths. A focus on arms, shoulders and hands, which will stimulate the meridian lines of the Autumn organs. Give yourself big hugs and keep the connection to your breath as you move.
Poses to practise that will stimulate the meridian lines for the lungs and large intestine and also give you a sense of openness in the chest allowing you to increase your breath: Warrior 1; Flank stretch; shoulder stand.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to drop, make sure you keep warm and nourished with seasonal foods, such as vegetable stews, soups, adding some pungent spices. Nettle tea is good for your digestion, and adding spices such as ginger and turmeric will aid with keeping your immune system in check.
Autumn, like in spring, is a great time to have a clear out before Christmas and the new year. De-clutter, home and mind and let be all that no longer serves a healthy purpose.
Allow your manta for Autumn to be: “Breathe it all in, let it all out “.