There’s no denying it now. It’s autumn. This time of year ushers in a burst of bright colors, cooler days and waning daylight. According to the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine, we are in the season of Metal. The organs associated this this element are the lungs and the large intestine. On a practical level, this is a time of letting go.
You can feel this in the release of a big exhale and the extremely important work that your large intestine does. We may also be experiencing it on a more personal level as relationships or jobs may be ending. You might be moving from one place to the next. You might be working on releasing some patterns that no longer serve you mentally, physically or spiritually.
When we let go of things, we grieve. To paraphrase Gail Reichstein, the author of Wood Becomes Water (a great book for anyone who wants to learn about the fundamentals of Chinese Medicine), the grieving process is a healthy and a necessary part of life. It gives us the opportunity to connect with our humanity and recognize how things (jobs, homes, relationships, seasons) have had an effect on us. And, when we let them go, we are not losing the object of our grief completely. We do not erase it from our lives. On the contrary, we are left with the recognition that we will forever be changed by it, and that we can choose to move forward holding in our hearts its gifts and lessons.
There are many ways to honor this powerful and magical time of year. My personal favorite options are yoga, acupuncture and meditation. These three healing modalities work together to move energy through the body on a physical, energetic and mental level. We’ve been working through this season of letting go at Yoga + Acupuncture at the Water Bar & Public Studios in Northeast Minneapolis. If you can’t make it or you’re feeling a little apprehensive, below you will find a yoga pose, acupressure point and meditation you can use to test the waters and get some of this seasonal healing at home.
Yoga for Letting Go
This pose works to open up the lung and large intestine meridians in the body. Throw on some comfy clothes and a roll out a yoga mat or a blanket. Heck, you could even do this in bed. If anything feels uncomfortable or painful, don’t do it.
Lie flat on your back and stretch your arms overhead, with your palms facing up. Walk your feet and legs to the left and cross one ankle over the other. Similarly, walk your shoulders and arms over to the left and grab on to your right wrist with your left hand. Doesn’t make sense? You’re doing it right if your body is in the shape of a banana. :)
Acupressure for Letting Go
Large Intestine 4
Sometimes letting go can freeze us in our tracks. But letting go can be freeing. LI 4 is a great point for moving qi (energy) through the body. It also helps with pain in the whole body. Locate the web between your thumb and forefinger with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, and massage that space until you find a tender spot. Apply firm pressure for as long as you feel comfortable anytime you need to let things go.
Meditation for Letting Go
Our exhale is a perfect example of our ability to let go. During moments of high stress or anxiety, full exhales seem impossible, but with a bit of practice, they can become the perfect coping mechanism.
Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes or stare softly at the floor. As you breathe, consciously shift your exhales to be twice as long as your inhales. It may feel a little unnatural at first, so be patient with yourself. If you like, you can visualize tension and (or anything you need to release) leaving your body with each exhale. Do this for 1-10 minutes as often as you’d like.
If you’re ready to try Yoga + Acupuncture in the flesh, you can learn more about that offering here. If you’re looking for some more personalized instruction, contact Tatum Fjerstad for a private session or you can listen to her meditations on Insight Timer here.
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