Autumn is the Metal Element and has the power of condensing and purging — bringing things together, deciding what’s valuable, combining individual parts to create a more valuable whole, and letting go of what you no longer need.  In this way, I often feel that Autumn is the season of Alchemy — transforming something into something else.

The organs we focus on in Metal Element Qigong are the Lungs and Large Intestine, which also happen to be the two internal organs that directly interact with the outside world. 

  • The lungs bring in the air from the world around us and transform it into usable energy (oxygen) before returning what we no longer need (carbon dioxide) back into the air where trees (and other plants) use it.  
  • The large intestine absorbs water from digestion and consolidates what the body couldn’t use from food, transforming it into fertilizer that can be returned to nourish life growing in the Earth.
  • The Metal Element also focuses on your skin, which touches the outside world acting as a protector, but also sensing or “touching” the world around you.

In order for these transformations to occur, though, we must let go of what we no longer need. So our Qigong sessions this season will include more Purging movements like shaking, shrugging, and dropping.  

Here at the beach on vacation, I find myself naturally engaging in many of these purging movements.  Perhaps it’s because of the Autumn season, the wind, and the cooler temperatures.  But perhaps it’s also because I find myself letting go of the habit to be on my phone or computer, of checking emails, of watching TV.  At first, it feels anxious and disorienting, so I stand and shake.  And shake.  And shake.  And as I shake, I twist too (it’s my way).  It feels good, so I keep going.  My breath deepens.  My mind quiets down.  My body relaxes.  A smile spreads naturally across my face.  My forehead and jaw untense.

After 10 minutes (or longer) of shaking, I feel renewed with a deep sense of calm.  I look down expecting to see my tensions scattered around my feet, but the sand, surf and sun have already whisked them away so that I’m free to enjoy my qigong practice or meditation, which subsequently have been deeper, more calm and rejuvenating as a result.

INVITATION:  This week, if/when you feel scattered, anxious, worried or tense, I invite you to find your structure, take a couple of deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, and shake. 

Let your body shake as light or hard, as fast or slow, up and down or left and right, in whatever way feels best for you, for as long as feels good for you.  Perhaps you will let go of some physical, emotional or mental tension and find a deeper sense of stillness and calm afterwards.