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The Last Turn of the Wheel: AUTUMN – the element METAL

According to the 5 Elements Principle - also thought of as the 5 phases of underlying energy patterns that flow through and leave their imprint on all the other energy systems – providing a lens for understanding and working with our health issues, behavioral patterns and emotional challenges:

Autumn is the end of the cycle before we move back into Water (Winter) and it all starts again. Autumn being the time of harvest, of reaping what we have sown. It is also a time of death, when the last leaves fall from the trees, leaving it bare and empty during the winter cycle, before Spring (Wood) springs into life.

The challenge of metal is LETTING GO. This can be the hardest lesson for us to learn as we go through life and let go of our loved ones and ultimately our own life. The challenge is for us to live fully and richly and not be destroyed by our losses, but rather be inspired by what we’ve loved so much. So, the transmutation of grief from loss is not easy, but none of us are immune from it and somehow, we must find ways of manoeuvering through it.

The meridians (energy pathways) that govern metal are Lung and Large Intestine. They are both organs of release, letting go of the toxins from the opposite ends of our body and specifically for the lungs as they hold grief. The core of our yoga practice is to breath properly and the benefits can be enhanced by the powerful pranayama practices – which is the key to the entire body-mind connection.

Our Physical Asana Practice

During autumn time, we use postures that help support and balance the metal qualities - these are primarily back-bends and twists in a way that opens and closes our bodies. Twisting is excellent to squeeze out toxins (physical and emotional) and bring the body-mind into equilibrium. The metal style of back-bends is softer and more supported that the ones we practice in the Fire practices that focus more on opening the heart to joy. The focus is on our breathing to unite each movement with your breath, increasing lung capacity, opening the chest and finding the space to be with yourself. Here we open the heart to loss, heartache and sadness so we can let the joy flow back in. During/after grief, there can be a natural tendency to shut down, the gentle back-bends helps us to open out, to have courage to live again. The sound that helps us release grief and balance the meridians associated with it is ssssssssss.

Finally, in fact my personal favourite part of the practice, when the teacher says, lie down in Savasana (corpse pose) for final guided relaxation. This is the moment you are given permission by your teacher to completely let go. With practice, you can give yourself permission to let go – I say this because sometimes we can feel guilty when we relax on purpose - so this ability becomes more natural with practice. So at the end of the asana/breathing practices, we get a moment of pause (10-15 minutes actually), to unburden ourselves of what we carry - a time to let go of the doing, the goals, the efforts and let the natural unfoldment of being to happen in this priceless time. The corpse pose is the practice of the ultimate letting go. It’s a precious time when all the benefits of the practice can sink in, leaving you feeling rejuvenated, and ready to face the world again!

Judith Lassiter (Relax & Renew) says the antidote to stress is relaxation.

Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well.

When relaxation is practiced regularly, you will help to heal the effects of chronic stress in as little as 5 minutes a day.

Interested in hearing some good news stories - instead of all the doom and gloom you here on the news - there are other good will stories that happen around the globe - have a look at these websites:

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