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Fall is the time of transition between the extremes of summer and winter. We should be preparing for winter and enjoying the fruits of our labors as the year closes. Thinking this way attunes us the patterns of nature, easing our way through the world. In health maintenance and spiritual cultivation this calls for a combination of releasing the excesses of summer through relaxing movement and preparing to settle down, conserving energy for winter. How smoothly will you transition to winter this year?

Autumn stresses the Lung and Large Intestine, together known as the Metal Element in the 5-Element theory of traditional Chinese philosophy. This is why your lower back, neck and shoulder pain returns at this time of year. Constipation, asthma, and recurrent bronchitis is more likely. The lung dominates our body’s energy. It is the “commander of our qi” in the classics of traditional Chinese medicine. As we breathe so shall we live. The Chinese have an aphorism, “The true man breathes from the heels”. Qigong or Chinese yoga helps us understand the meaning of this. Conversely, they say “A man on his deathbed breaths from his throat”.

This is a time to tend to relationships. When metal is imbalanced, intimacy can suffer. This because metal relates to attachment. Weakened, it manifests as depersonalization and interpersonal distance. The drive to bond can diminish. Too strong and zealous behavior can result.

On the emotional plane grief is associated with metal. Observe people mourning at a funeral. They hemorrhage energy from their nose. The nose is the sensory organ (eyes, ears, nose, tongue) that is associated with the lung. Grief is due to ruptured attachments. The good news is that healing is possible. Healing in this sphere involves letting go. The large intestine meridian is the channel of “letting go”. It releases old trauma of all kinds. Release of attachment is the path to freedom. Freedom is the personal evolution of recovery from dysfunctional attachment whether it is personal, philosophical, religious, or racial. Anything to which the mind can bond. It is also the coming of peace as grief is supplanted by recovery.

Understanding the dynamic of Metal assists us in reducing our bondage. Internal freedom from self-imposed limitation is the result.

Movement The postures of metal are geared toward release of the lung and large intestine, their associated spinal, cranial, organ, and limb correlations. The rib cage and upper extremity are the keys. Opening the chest and breathing well are the hallmarks of metal function within our bodies. Mantra The vocalized breath of the lung is the ‘ah’ sound. ‘Shang, shang, shang’ has this ‘ah’ sound imbedded within it. The inherent vibration is palpable in the lung. Feel your chest and vocalize ‘ah’ or ‘shang’. The vibration signifies activation of qi in your lungs. Mudra A mudra, or hand gesture which unlocks the wisdom within the body involves connecting the pad of the thumb to the thumb-side fingernail of the index finger. Feel your chest expand as you make the connection. Imagery The color of the Metal Element is white. Envisioning white energy filling the lungs and large intestine while engaging in breathing exercises enhances the function of these organs and their related body-framework areas.

Look to the West as you practice during the Fall. West is the direction of the Metal Element.

Updated: Oct 19, 2022


We are wrapping up our Spring Curriculum of Meditative Exercise. In June we begin slowly transitioning to the Heart, the Fire Element. Summer shifts our environment into full bloom and eventually maximal heat-stress. Within our body and mind we must meet the evolving demands. This requires more from our hearts than the other organs in our bodies. Heat, perspiration, a major function of the heart and one which reveals dysfunction. In addition to the familiar concerns of vascular disease and rhythm problems, night sweats, inability to perspire and cold or sweaty palms and feet are within the province of the heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

While preparing for the stresses of Summer we address the transition between seasons. Each season has an unstable interval between the apogees of the seasons. These transitions destabilize our stomach and spleen-pancreas. In TCM this is the Earth Element. Between each season we will cushion the transition with some Meditative Exercise centered on stomach.

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

The spirit of spring is renewal. It is the Wood Phase of the 5-Element theory of traditional Chinese philosophy. This is the natural time for cleansing and reassessment in the light of life reasserting itself around us. The principles of our practice in spring involves dredging, draining and cooling to combat stagnation of our energy. Stagnation leads to heat in the acupuncture channels. It is the time to be aware of the liver and gall bladder and their relationship to the heart, kidney, stomach, and spleen/pancreas. Developing, refining and balancing the Wood Phase energy involves taking care of the liver, gall bladder, and the tendons and eyes upon whose health they depend.

The liver is many things, from the sea of emotions to the gatekeeper and reservoir of blood. It moves our energy. When obstructed we feel tight. The gall bladder is an important organ. It ‘decides’ where the blood is distributed and filters the outside world to our internal experience. Work in this way to secure physical health. Then your focus can shift to the spiritual dimension, renewal.




The answer is in your hand! Palms down, connect to the earth. Earth has the qualities of greatness and compassion, nurturing all things without thought of reward. Now imagine you are holding a balls of light. Turn your palms heavenward and connect to the sun, moon and stars. This imagery is very powerful. Use the mind to exercise the body and energetic conduits. “Squeeze” earth and then heaven, coordinating with your breathing. Inhale, squeeze and hold. Exhale and relax. Finish by bathing in imagery of green light. A sense of renewal will be yours. You are undertaking a great journey of self-exploration. As your sensitivity increases you will first learn to avoid trouble, later turning weaknesses into strengths.


We spend most of lives bouncing from one thing to the next. For this activity we must take a different tack. As with learning any complex task we slow down, generating space to learn.

Multitasking gives way to cultivation of singular focus. This alone provides the rich rewards of changing bodies, minds and the way others perceive you. You will appreciate Meditative Exercise as the highlight of your day. In stillness we can gain control of how we feel, rejuvenate, recover and gain insight. With perseverance we can become balanced, centered, and stronger, as well as more compassionate and inclusive. Insight and clarity naturally follow. The slow way IS the fast way, in learning to take care of oneself or others.

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