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An Invitation From Nature

May 17, 2023
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Taoist Metal Element in Yin Yoga

There's a sacredness to autumn, a blessedness. We witness autumn’s golden sunlight shifting lower on the horizon. Ethereal sunlight streams as though through cathedral windows in the sky. This time of year, it’s easy to be awestruck by the deep beauty of the heavens and the earth and our astonishing place in between.

Autumn is a time of extraordinary transformation, when nature lets go of summer’s abundance and begins to turn inward. We see animals building up stocks of food and warmth to prepare for the long, cold winter months. We see deciduous trees dropping the leaves that gathered sunlight and fueled growth all spring and summer. The branches let go, allowing the leaves to become soil for new seeds. This is a life-long process for the tree…growth, release, growth.

How can we invite nature’s wisdom to shine its light on our internal wisdom and embody the gifts of the season?

The Taoist Element of Metal

The Taoist Element of Metal rules the season of autumn. The Metal Element multiplies everything that's good for us and helps shed what subtracts. We transform metal into tools that peel vegetables and carve wood to help us cut free what's not needed from what is - a dropping away in order to preserve.

Metal helps us let go of unhelpful habits, old and painful wounds, busy-ness, grief, and fear to create space to bring into our lives more of what benefits us and keeps us thriving. I think of Metal as the master of letting go of that which isn't needed, and keeper of everything precious. It helps us reclaim our preciousness and self-worth, honoring our inherent beauty and value as a spirit on this earth.

Because Metal rules the Lungs, it rules the breath. Our breath is energy. The better we breathe, the more we build up our internal energy stores, and the better we feel.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Lungs oversee our immune system. Autumn is an especially potent time to practice deep breathing techniques to fortify the energy of the Lungs and help strengthen our ability to defend against illnesses. We know also that deep breathing nourishes the tissues of our body and soothes the central nervous system. As we replenish the energy of the Metal Element within us, we strengthen our natural ability to stay present for each precious moment of our lives.

The following technique is one I share in my book to deepen the breath and help to renourish the Metal Element within.

To try it out:

Place your hands lightly over the lower abdomen and on top of the navel with one stacked on top of the other.

Bring your awareness to rest behind your hands and into the reservoir of the low belly.

Let your attention reside there as you breathe naturally through the nose.

With a slow and steady pace, bring the breath into the lower belly.

Feel the breath filling and expanding the belly in all directions, sending the air of your breath to the front, the back, right, and left of the lower abdomen.

Breathe out effortlessly through the nose, feeling the circumference of the belly soften and contract toward the spine as the air slowly releases.

Again, inhale and feel the low belly expanding, lifted by the in-flow of the breath.

Exhale easefully and feel the low belly softening and falling with the out-flow.

Stay with this breath practice for a bit of time, watching and feeling the breath at the belly as you build your internal energy stores and nurture the energies of Metal within you.

After a minute or two of this relaxed deep belly breathing, notice if your breath naturally smooths and lengthens.

Continue with this practice for 1-5 minutes, then release the exercise and pause with curiosity to sense the effects of your breathing practice.

In Yin Yoga & Meditation: A Mandala Map for Practice, Teaching, and Beyond, I guide you on an experiential journey to your Yinside to engage with and harness the energies of the Taoist Five Elements within you and around you…We use the inner eye to investigate the Organs and to travel the Qi channels that chart through your body. We reflect on the mental/emotional aspects and effects of harmony/disharmony and how you can help support balance. We explore using Taoist energy cultivation techniques and healing sounds to resonate the Elemental energies within you and play with visualization to help you embody them. Enjoy ready-to-use Yin Yoga sequencing to support the energetic harmony in the Organ systems and basic guidance in pose selection and variations as inspiration to create your own.

Whether you are brand new to the yoga mat or are a seasoned practitioner or teacher Yin Yoga & Meditation book looking for fresh inspiration, Yin Yoga & Meditation invites you to embark on an experiential journey of this transformative practice and into yourself with the insightful mandala map as a guide. This comprehensive 300+ page book will take you on a deep dive into the core elements of a safe, effective, and inspiring Yin Yoga & Meditation practice rooted in compassionate awareness. Equal parts science and spirit, you'll encounter countless pathways to nurture body, mind, energy, and heart in support of your whole-self wellbeing.

Yin Yoga & Meditation book
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