Autumn is a time of transformation, from play to study, from outward to inward, from life to death. Nature does a lot of shedding during autumn and likewise, the lungs and large intestine are responsible for releasing, cleansing, letting go of stuff from the body.
If we look after these organs effectively during autumn, they can do their job properly and we can eliminate toxins promptly.
Organs: Lung and Large Intestine
Emotion: Sadness & Grief
Autumn is a time when we settle back into routine. The summer’s ease and freedom give way to school schedules, more formal relationships and a sense that life is getting back to normal. This sense is a key theme in the Metal element, as the metal element feels comfortable with the maintenance of boundaries and a return to the norm.
Autumn is also a time of harvest, where fruit separates from the tree and vegetables are dug up to be stored for winter. In a sense, the Metal element brings us to a place of harvest as the sunny summer experiences are gathered and stowed in preparation for the long cold winter.
We innately feel the need to scale back energetically as the Yang energy begins to fall. Just like the harvest where abundant life now begins its transformation towards death and a return to the earth, so we begin the journey inward, the death of active summer recreation leading us to a more studious and quieter existence.
The emotion associated with the Metal Element is grief and indeed we often grieve the end of summer and the passing of those long sunny days. We mourn the loss of the carefree times, knowing long nights are ahead and there is a sadness that pulses with the thought of the approaching winter.
The Lung meridian encourages us to feel the grief, but also move on, recognizing that the abundance of the summer only shifts to a deeper place within. We gather what we need and release the rest, as in harvest and death.
The Metal element, when imbalanced, creates dryness in the body. The skin, hair, eyes all feel dry and scratchy. Of course, any dryness speaks to a need for better hydration, and plenty of water should be drunk to alleviate and flush out autumn’s challenges.
The Large Intestine is the Yang meridian to the Lungs and as the lung’s partner, it also is affected in autumn. Being a Metal element, the large intestine also deals with separation. The large intestine’s job is to separate the impure from the pure and extract the liquid from the matter so it can pass out of the body as a solid mass. It removes substances our body no longer needs.
Often when we are feeling intense emotion such as grief, our bowel movements become irregular either resulting in diarrhea or constipation.
The Lung and Large Intestine dynamic encourages us to remember that life is a continuous cycle of taking in and letting go, celebrating the harvest and storing away.
Here are 5 ways you can look after yourself in preparation for winter:
- Drink plenty of warm fluids: start with a cup of hot water and half a lemon when you wake up to wake up your insides
- Fibre up: eat greens, eat greens, eat greens.
- Don’t stress your digestive system: limit your refined carb/sugar/processed food intake.
- Avoid dry skin: nourish it by rubbing your skin with olive, jojoba, or almond oil.
- Come to yoga and practice twists, diaphragm openers and breathing techniques to support intestinal and lung health.