How to stay strong, healthy and well-balanced in autumn? The season is changing, the colorful trees lose their foliage and the mornings start to get freezing cold in the northern hemisphere.
In the 5 Element-Theory this is the time of the Element Metal and the Meridians Lung (Yin) and Large Intestine (Yang).
The Lung-Meridian governs our ability to keep healthy boundaries, to establish strength also in our communication and create structure in our life. We all know the importance to say clearly "NO" and mean what we say in difficult situations. Our ability to create space for ourselves is indispensable to stay healthy and well-balanced. There is also the other side of the same coin, when we create high walls around us, overly protecting our space, we end up in isolation and depression.
In TCM the Lung-Meridian is also called "the Minister, who controls the well-organized Rhythm" in everything.
Indeed when you have well-established daily routine and healthy habits, you create a strong foundation for your health. "Habits of daily living create a type of body chemistry, that provides the foundation for consciousness. Good habits create elixir, that is secretion in the blood steam which is present in bliss." - Joseph Baxter
The most important thing is, how you start your day. When do you wake up? What is your morning routine?
For me the most important habit is to wake up early, clean the body and the intestines. In doing so I make myself a clean vessel for the new day. Practicing yoga asanas and meditation prepare us for the sunrise. It is powerful to be in deep meditation as the first sun-rays enter our atmosphere. Pranayama, breathing exercise also supports good body chemistry for the entire day.
In India I learnt about Swara Yoga, the yoga of breath cycle. It is about how the dominance of the right nostril influences the left hemisphere of the brain and how the left nostril is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain, which is dominant and how we can influence them. Breath is mind in action. I will write a new blog post about this topic soon.
But why is the breath so important? In Shiatsu we speak about Qi / Ki, in India it is called Prana, that we take in as life force as we breath in and out. In TCM it is said, that there are three sources of Qi, the first is "yuan-Qi", which is transmitted by parents to their children at conception and it is stored in the Kidneys. The second source is "gu-Qi", which is derived from food through digestion. The third is "kong-Qi", which is extracted by the lungs as we breath.
The function of the Lung Meridian is to take in oxygen and Qi, create contacts and healthy boundaries. It gives the ability to create and take space, draw boundaries and gives you structure.
The Makko-Ho exercises from Japan for Lung - and Large Intestine Meridian, that you can practice every day, are simple. Standing position, interlock your thumbs behind your back, inhale deeply, back straight, lean back a bit, on the exhale bend your torso forward and at the same time raise your arms outstretched behind you as high as you can. On the next inhale lower your arms to the floor, exhale. On the next inhale slowly straighten up, making sure to slowly straighten each vertebra one by one. Then alternate thumbs as you hooked them into each other behind your back. Repeat the exercise. If you feel dizzy, pause and repeat both sides again.
"The Lung Meridian originates in the middle portion of the body cavity, where the Lungs (organ) are and runs downward internally to connect with the Large Intestine. Turning back, it passes upward the diaphragm to enter its pertaining Organ, the Lungs. From the internal zone between the lungs and the throat, it emerges to the surface of the body under the clavicle. Descending, the Lung Meridian runs along the medial aspect of the upper arm and reaches the elbow crease. From here it runs along the anterior portion of the forearm, passes above the major artery of the wrist and emerges at the radial side of the tip of the thumb. An another branch from the wrist runs directly to the radial side of the tip of the index finger to connect with the Large Intestine Meridian." - Ted J. Kaptchuk
The Large Intestine Meridian begins at the tip of the index finger and runs upward along the radial side of the index finger, through the depression between tendons of the the thumb, upward along the lateral side of the forearm, to the top of the shoulder. From here the first branch enters the body and passes through the Lung, diaphragm and Large Intestine. The second branch ascends from the shoulder externally along the neck, cheek, upper lip and crossing to the opposite side of the nose, the side of the nostril.
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The function of the Large Intestine Meridian is to provide energy to eliminate what is consumed, was took in, through the nose, skin and intestines. Here the word "LETTING GO" is capitalized, "allowing" instead of holding on. Here you can let go, clean out your closets, sort out, give away, throw away. But also detoxify, fast, purge (cupping, moxa or enema) of course under professional guidance, might help to activate the energy of the Large Intestine Meridian. A warm soup fast over a week is excellent to reignite the fire of your digestion and eliminate a large amount of toxins from your intestines.
How does a imbalance in the Large Intestine Meridian manifest? Psychological signs are lack of decisiveness, excessive dependence (or co-dependence in relationships) and lack of positive thinking. On the physical level it is stuffy nose, weak bronchial branches, constipation, tendency to shiver, no strength in the thumbs and tendency to inflammation.
What does someone who has a harmonious Metal Element look like? These people have no problem with letting go things and people, making room for new ideas, projects and the future. They can set healthy boundaries. They think clearly and are well structured. A healthy skin, lively facial expression complete the overall picture.
How do you define the space you need to feel good? Maybe it is a space in nature where you like to walk, meditate or do breathing exercises. Maybe it is your room or workplace, where you keep order and can work in a structured way. Maybe it is your aura, your energetic field, which you keep clean daily with yoga exercises, visualizations, positive affirmations and smudge incense with dried herbs (for example sage or thyme).
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy a shiatsu treatment, yoga and cleanse, or simplify your room and smudge to clear it, all steps lead to better health, increased vitality and a harmonious and well-balanced life.
If you would like to join me on one of my online yoga classes or you might want to book a private consultation with me, visit my homepage and browse in services. I am happy to hear from you.
Stay healthy and happy! Enjoy the beautiful autumn days!