Fall is in full swing, complete with falling leaves, pumpkins, and too much talk of politics. Everywhere you look around you, you can feel the changing season. Given all of this, it’s a good time to talk about metal. No, not noisy music, but specifically the Metal element.
Qigong is rooted in Chinese medicine and philosophy. Its paradigm seeks not only to understand the body, but also the universe and our place within it. If you’ve studied any Qigong theory, or ever taken one of my classes, you’ll hear me tie a lot of what we do into Five Element Theory.
The Five Elements are the most dominant elements in the universe: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. The theory of these elements seeks to describe the workings of the universe and humankind within it. Elements are associated with organs, sounds, seasons, emotions, movement of Qi, and much more.
An understanding of these elements helps us to live in harmony with nature and the seasons, and to thrive throughout the year.
Autumn is the season of the Metal element. The Qi of the Metal element moves down and in. Its nature is that of change. This makes sense when we see the reaping of the harvest, cooler temperatures, and perennials going to sleep for the year.
It is said in the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine, the first text of Chinese medicine, that autumn is a time for quieting, for reflection, for meditating. I especially love a morning Qigong practice session out in my yard this time of year. It feels deep, powerful, and incredibly grounding. When we honor this down and in energy with its reflective time, we prepare our bodies and minds for the season ahead, ensuring health in the winter to come.
Another aspect of the Metal element is its association with the lungs, whose associated emotion is sorrow. Reflection and meditation at this time helps us to wipe off the dust in our minds, find clarity, and let go of the limiting beliefs that no longer serve us. Contrast this with the blazing and active energy of the summer, which, while having its purpose, doesn’t necessarily allow us to slow down and examine our lives in a more holistic way.
Even the withering of the current season has within it the seeds of new growth to come. Take special joy in your Qigong practice during this sacred time for nurturing yourself throughout the year.