Traditional Chinese Medicine promotes the idea of living simply and in harmony with nature to assure optimal health. Much of the practice is based on The Five Element Theory which describes the natural world as well as the human body, as comprised of 5 universal elements: fire, metal, water, wood, earth. Each element has unique properties and affects the mind/body in different ways.
Autumn is the time when the element of metal is most dominant. In nature we feel coolness in the air, observe trees losing their leaves and see animals intensely preparing for winter. In our own psyches, metal energy challenges us to focus and turn inward, gain clarity about what is most important, and come to terms with the reality of impermanence. The lessons of metal are not always the easiest, but they offer some of the deepest & most valuable gifts.
Our personal relationship to metal energy impacts how we deal with change, loss and the emotion of grief. When we are able to accept that all things are impermanent, we begin to truly appreciate what is here in the present moment. We are less likely to take things for granted or become consumed with petty worries. It is often only when we experience a deep loss that we gain the clarity of what matters most to us. Those with strong metal chi have typically weathered a few storms, but as a result, have developed courage, resilience and a deep appreciation for life’s beauty.
A Yin yoga practice can help strengthen internal metal chi and encourge the release of energetic blockages due to unprocessed loss and grief. Yin poses can target specific meridians (energy channels) associated with metal and the corresponding organs that are governed by this energy - the lungs and large intestine. Because yin poses are held for a significant time, the energy has the opportunity to pool, strengthen and gain fluidity. This can also help with physical symptoms associated with weak or stagnant metal chi such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, rashes, rheumatic pain and constipation.
The quiet, meditative nature of yin yoga also helps to build strong chi. Meditations & guided inquiries can be incorporated into the practice to work through psychological issues that may result in blockages. With metal energy, the focus would be on releasing thoughts, emotions & habits that are no longer serving a healthy purpose, especially those associated with long held grief. This can free up energy to more fully appreciate and enjoy what is here, right now.
Metal energy will often requires us to surrender control and release into the unknown. Although never easy, it is through this process that we ultimately experience true peace and freedom.