5 ELEMENT SERIES
METAL ELEMENT - AUTUMN - LUNGS & LARGE INTESTINE
Metal phase externally is related to the season of Autumn - phase that initiates descent, ending of cycles and letting go, decay and composting, an impulse to harvest, gather and preserve.
Within our bodies, Metal element is related to the organs of Lungs and Large intestine - the receiving of what is pure/essential and the letting go of waste/excess.
The emotion of Metal is Grief - teaching the inevitability of loss and to discern what is essential and precious.
The spirit of Metal element housed in Lungs is called Po - the "soul of the body" or flip it around "the material aspect of the soul"- it stands for our embodied knowing, our "animal wit", instinctual and unconscious drives.
The 5 elements are alive both around us and in us;
they describe the movement of all life and all energy and
embody all the qualities we encounter in Nature.
Through understanding the five Elements
we may begin to understand both Nature and ourselves" J.R. Worsley
Below are listed some Metal element themes that we can draw inspiration on for self-reflection (or as themes for you Yin classes if you are a teacher):
- Discernment, distilling (of wisdom), condensing, cutting through
- Contraction, interoception, gathering, descent, decline, slowing down
- Consolidation of experiences/ observing / reflecting. Looking back at ones experiences and reflecting on what have you learned / what is the wisdom / what is coming IN
- Letting go / composting / decay / death / endings / entropy / downward pull / breaking apart/ breaking down / disintegrating / shedding. Letting of of excess/clutter
- Lungs (the Yin organ of Metal element) is often called the seat of Wisdom symbolising the hidden treasure at the heart of hardship, learning from our past experiences, being able to see through bs
- Embodied knowing - wisdom connected to the body (the spirit housed in Lungs called Po)
- Coming and going of life, impermanence, preciousness of life: Metal spirit PO not only relates to the underworld, death and disintegration, but also to renewal, replenishment and resurrection.
- Spirit housed in Lungs called PO - animal wit, embodied knowing, sensation and appreciation, “soul of the body”/”material aspect of the soul”, the "animal body's" instinctual and unconscious drives (that which is beyond our conscious awareness). In some modern interpretations Po is thought to relate to our autonomic nervous system, “the aspect of our unconscious that speaks to us through our desire obsessions, psychosomatic symptoms and the wordless stories of our bodies.”
LONGER TALK ON METAL ELEMENT & YIN YOGA
EMBODIMENT OF METAL ELEMENT through
the sinew and primary channels of Chinese medicine
As you can see, the Sinew Channels and the Primary Channels (popularly called "meridians") run along very similar pathways, it is believed that in our Yin practice we are primarily targeting and affecting the Sinew Channels. Yet, of course, everything in the body is connected, so the Sinew Channels have connections with other channels and to the Jing Luo network (this is the Chinese name for what often gets translated as meridians, JING as I mentioned above means to go through, a thread in the fabric and Luo something that connects or attaches, a net.
When connecting to an element and discovering how to move with that element, it cab be beneficial to map and trace the channel pathways, and then try to sense them during the practice. It also can help to uncover which poses or movements to bring into your practice.
LUNG AND LARGE INTESTINE CHANNELS
where ancient wisdom meets modern understanding of the body
Largely, like the concept of Qi, the meridian theory was dismissed by Western science until quite recently, when the fascia research began to reveal similarities and overlaps between myofascial pathways and Chinese meridian maps. There are a lot of things Western science still cannot “prove” or understand about the inner workings of Chinese Medicine, but the wide-held belief is that the anatomical basis of acupoints and meridians is the fascial network distributed throughout the body.
By one of the definitions fascia is an uninterrupted viscoelastic tissue, which forms a functional 3-dimensional collagen matrix that surrounds and connects every muscle and organ, forming continuity throughout the body. Fascia surrounds and penetrates all structures of the body, extending from head to toe. This description is very similar to how energy channels are described in Chinese Medicine.
(excerpt from our Yin and Fascia Teacher Training manual)
UPPER BODY YIN POSES
that will target the Lung and Large intestine channels
SAMPLE YIN SEQUENCE FOR UPPER BODY