As we move squarely past the Autumn Equinox and head towards the change of the clocks, these seasonal hints feel familiar to us. Darkness drawing in, wind whistling around, an extra layer, a new hat.
In Ayurveda, Yoga’s ‘sister science’, we move into the dosha of Vata, and in TCM elemental theory, we have entered the Metal phase.
Ayurveda looks at the interaction of elements and how they create patterns of expressions in each of us, whilst Chinese Elemental Theory believes in the makeup of all things from five elements – Water, Wood, Air, Fire and Metal. Each element has its own unique characteristics and these are associated with seasons, weathers and symptom and disease status.
There are three Dosha’s in Ayurveda and the way these interact with one another is impacted by lifestyle and diet, giving each of us a unique doshic balance.
Vata is governed by the element of Air and Ether. In our bodies the energy of this dosha manifests in our breath, blood and muscles.
Pitta is ruled by Fire. We can usually see Pittas from miles off. Lovers of the heat, Pitta rules over digestion and our metabolism.
Kapha is the Earth and Water dosha. The kapha energy works in our bones, muscles and tendons.
Autumn’s energy is ruled over by Vata. Vata is the ‘Queen of Change’. Controlling the subtle energy of the mind and the body, finding balance of this dosha requires grounding, steady practices.
Paying greater attention to the breath and how the blood flows in our body are great ways of tapping into the vata energy, because when in balance, we hold a sense of creativity, enthusiasm and flexibility, mind and body. A great attribute indeed when tackling the change around us. When the balance starts to shift, Vata can create in us fear, we can become worrisome and prone to insomnia. These qualities are not helpful with so much external fear and worry floating around on the ether.
We can see Vata manifest in the world around us, when the wind blows and the earth becomes hard, dry and rough. Sometimes we can see this in ourselves. What better way to stave off the brittleness of Autumn than warm food like stews and soups, curling up with good books and warm blankets.
Routine is really helpful. Shifting your yoga practice towards a restorative nature, investing in your meditation practice and introducing other practices like Nadi Shoddhana and Agni Sara can really keep your energy balanced.
You can find Alice sharing her Agnis Sara practice in our video library.
Chinese Elemental Theory
Observing the cycle of nature helps us to find peace in a constantly changing world, letting go of unnecessary baggage to create physical and mental space.
In Chinese elemental theory we have moved into the Metal Phase, whose season is Autumn. Metal governs our self worth and self esteem and looks after our structure, both in our routines, our levels of precision and our structure to earth. When our metal element is out of balance, we struggle to let go.
The metal element is also the ruler of our Lungs. This time of year we are prone to respiratory conditions and keeping our metal element in balance is beneficial to our lungs.
The Lungs take in Qi, energy, from the sky and this relates to our ability to take in, process and filter out what we do, and don’t, need. Paired with the Large Intestine, which cleanses the body, mind and spirit.
I focus on balancing these meridian organ pairs in both my Yin and Yang practices, so if you are interested in learning more, you can join me online or in the studio soon.