Ideally, Autumn is the season of the “glow”: in the sky with earlier sunsets; in the golden-red once-in-a-year foliage; and in you. The question is: How do you get it, that inner glow that speaks of clarity and vitality?
The answer: You work with the energy of Autumn, the season of Metal.
THE KEYS TO THE SEASON – emptying the “OUT” tray
Compression, contraction, elimination, shedding, exhalation, unloading, de-cluttering.
Expansion, space, release, renewal, clarity, purity, inspiration, optimism, vitality … glow.
These are your keywords for METAL.
Quality Metal is formed through contraction, compression, heat & expulsion of impurities: squeezing things down to pure essentials. This is the optimal time of year to be getting rid of any no longer useful (possibly toxic) stuff hanging around from your past. In this way, you create space for fresh, positive, inspiring stuff that is more appropriate to your present and immediate future.
“De-clutter” can mean many things and the meridians of Autumn, Large Intestine and Lung, have influence on all sorts of levels. Generally speaking however, the easiest and most effective starting points are our tangibly evident corresponding organs themselves: the large intestine and lungs. Get rid of the accumulated rubbish so that these organs become more effective at ongoing elimination (on the one hand) and revitalizing absorption (on the other).
- Your mind will become clearer and sharper when it comes to making more complex decisions on what to toss and what to keep in other domains – emotional, intellectual, spiritual.
- Your skin, the great unsung hero of our eliminatory system, (and closely allied with Metal) will no longer feel exhausted and dull from picking up the slack when the colon and lungs aren’t working well.
So, now that we have established the theory, let’s get practical.
FOOD FOR THE LARGE INTESTINE
Make the most of foods that (1) support the contractive energy of Autumn:
- The intense root vegetables – ginger*, radish*, burdock*, turmeric*, parsnip, carrot. (* These ones also generate heat in the body.)
Treat yourself with foods that (2) nurture the complementary eliminating and absorbing functions of the seasonal meridians and principle organs:
- Miso soup and other foods strong in pro-biotics. Try some naturally fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and umeboshi plum &/or quality yoghurt / keffir.
By contrast, feel free to cut back on any other sort of aged &/or fermented products (cheeses, alcohol for instance) – or even just “old” products – as well as anything that might clog up your large intestine. Baked flour foods – particularly sweet ones – are high on this list.
BETTER BREATHING – Bring on the GLOW
This exercise focuses on building eliminatory strength on exhalation and encouraging optimism and trust on the inhalation. It is most effective if done out in the fresh air with the rising energy of the early morning. Although simply doing it regularly – wherever best you can – over a week or so will still make a marked difference: 5-10 minutes a couple of times per day. You will be amazed at how much bigger your lungs will feel.
- Start by loosening your knees (if you’re standing – you could also be lying down) then your lower back. Feel the length in your spine and allow your shoulders, ribcage, pelvis and abdomen to hang softly.
- Send the breath down into your lower belly and stay with this breathing for a few gentle cycles. Relax into it and extend the exhalation.
You may find that this generates a little heat in the body.
- THEN (in your mind) reverse the “order” of your breathing:
* think (1st) breathe out then (2nd) breathe in – rather than the reverse.
Take a few breath cycles to establish this shift of focus and hold on to it.
- Then, start to really use your out-breath to get rid of absolutely all the (old, undesirable) air: engage the pelvic floor, lower core, abdominal and intercostal muscles to really squeeze out every last whiff (you should be able to get plenty of contraction out of all those muscles).
- When you think it is all gone, go for one last squeeze.
- For the 2nd phase, shift into passive gear.
- Gently allow the compression to release and allow yourself to be inspired so that the clean vital air – oxygen & KI – fills you out.
Experience the evidence and believe that the world will provide you with the essentials if you unclog the pathways, create some space and open yourself to receive.
- Repeat over for 5 breath cycles. As you get better at it, build to 10.
- Gently return – with enhanced capacity – to your calming lower belly breathing.
Be aware of the warmth and energy generated inside.
Feel the GLOW!
Your lung optimization project will also benefit from some good old Tarzan-style chest tapping – holding a big breath in as you tippety-tap with loose wrists. Make sure that you really get in to those key Lung points 1 & 2.