MENTAL ELEMENT OF QIGONG: Autumn Practice for Maintaining Wellness
The autumn equinox starts on September 23rd this year. It’s time to know a little bit about Autumn and the Mental Element. The Metal Element is one of Five Qigong Elements from the ancient Chinese exercise- healing techniques that incorporates meditation, controlled breathing, movement and theory.
Metal Element The Mental element in Qigong is associated with the lungs and large intestine as well as the skin and nose. This is a time of the year to purify, tonify and circulate the lung Qi (Chi) to boost the immune system. Movement, fasting and changing our diet to help keep us healthy as the season is becoming dry.
The lungs bring the body needed nurturing Qi into the body with the breath. The act of breathing helps to move the large intestines and release toxins and emotions. Practicing Metal Qigong movements focuses on increasing the lung capacity through breath-work and polishing our metal element.
Metal teaches to find value within yourself and others. We can learn to conduct ourselves with grace and virtue.
Metal corresponds with the color white, the West direction and the emotion of sadness, and inspiration. At this time of the year the emotions are sadness grief verses courage. Power of sound can help us please sadness and grief. Try saying the sound: Sssssssss. Placing your tongue behind the teeth. It should sound like a vibration in the belly and will activate the lung Chi (Qi). You are working towards the virtues of courage and righteousness for your own personal growth. Both in your spiritual and physical body.
Your sense of smell (nose) and your touch (skin) will be more sensitive and miss time of the year because the season is becoming dry. The cold weather does not get a person sick as this is a popular belief. Changing the way we dress and the way we eat, helps us when the seasons change. As the days become colder in Autumn leading to Winter, a good combination of maintaining fresh air, body movement, hygiene good and fasting at the change of the season are some good practice to continue. Keeping the moisture in the air of your environment and your skin can help in the dry season.
You can practice your Mental Qigong anytime of the day. If you can wake up and practice between 3:00a.m. -5:00a.m. deep breathing would be beneficial for the lungs. If you are sleeping at this time, it’s also good for the lungs. The large intestines is working the most between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. this is a good time not to eat. Allow your system to process without additional intake of food, if you can.
At this time of the year, we tend to think about all that we’ve done in the summer. All the seeds that we planted in the form of our goals. Now it’s time to let go once again and turn a new page.
The metal element is associated with the Autumn season for harvesting. This element also teaches us about receiving (letting in) and letting go. We can look to the repeated actions of nature as the tree let go of their leaves, we too must learn to let go of the past weeks. Letting go of things we don’t need at the end of the summer season to welcome what Autumn has to offer once again. Whatever we learned this summer, we can harvest for our mental abundance. These days we don’t have to be farmers but when it comes to harvesting food, we can still partake in some jarring recipes, and eating what’s available in our location seasonally. We can share and trade with our friends and community. Mind and body can both benefit from the harvesting spirit.
If the practice of Qigong is new to you, the most important thing is to see how it can help you this Autumn. Find a class near you today and enjoy the journey.
Autumn Ayurveda Body Types, Tea and Fasting
Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic healing systems developed in India over 3,000 years ago. It’s based on the belief that our health and wellness depends on a carefully blend between mind body and spirit. Ayurveda works on the concept that our body’s constitution (prakriti) Has its only universal interconnectedness. The life forces (doshas) are the main basis Ayurveda medicine. There are 3 doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). These 3 doshas benefit from different spices. The main goal is not to fight disease but to start and maintain a diet that suits your body.
So it’s up to you to find out which dosha you are and what spices are best for you.
Some people are a blend of two doshas. The best way to find out what dosha you are is by doing an easy ayurveda dosha test. You will then find out which is the strong this “bioenergy” that makes up your body. The test would be on paper or online and it will ask you several questions. In answering each question the more you pick one answer for each question, the better it will be to determine one main dosha for you. If you find that 2 or more answers to one question suit you then you can do the test again and pick the 2nd choice. Once you complete the test you will then learn your personal Ayurveda type. You will then receive tips on your health, nutrition, yoga and meditation that will suit you.
Fasting is very important for our body and to do it correctly for our body type.
If there’s overeating and choosing poor quality food this only makes our digestive system suffer. You are what you eat and fasting is very important to do 4 times a year. When your digestive system (digestive fire or agni) is slow, instead of it clearing out the food you have eaten you begin to create and accumulate toxins (ama). Your undigested food (ama), is believed to be the cause of all disease. We want our digestive system or strong agni. When you start to develop ama, You will have cravings, fatigue, fogginess, sluggishness, mood swings, anxiety, body odor, coating on the tongue and bad breath. The best thing to do is to stop the bag eating habits. This is all a person in the tourney for the individual to take on.
Once you become more informed on your dosha by taking a free online question test and understanding your dosha. It will be a good time to consult a Yoga and Meditation Teacher who is also a nutritionist and or trained in Ayurveda. You will receive it tailored practice of Ayurveda and the best Yoga and Meditation for your current body and mind.
It’s important to consult an Ayurveda professional to get the best tea for your seasonal fasting or to know if fasting is right for you. For some people just drinking this tea or a similar tea before eating is a better option. It is always recommended to have something lukewarm or warm to drink before eating. This helps the digestive system process food.
Fasting is not only done for weight loss, it’s also good for heart health, improving blood sugar control, brain function and cancer prevention. A fun fact to know is that some animals will stop evening at the change of seasons. They do this naturally to prevent themselves from getting sick when the seasons change.
Fasting Tea – Warm Tea
- Ginger and Fennel tea.
- Ginger with squeeze lime and a pinch of salt.
- ¼ teaspoon: Ginger, cardamom (ground), ajwan (carom) seeds.
Vata Should have a 12 to 24 hour fast is best to start as a beginner. It’s recommended to only fast for 2 days and only at the change of seasons. If you can fast once a month but it’s not necessary for your dosha type.
Use bitter and astringent vegetables juices from leafy greens. You can use diluted prune, pomegranate or grape juice. Pitta has a fast digestive system because they are active people. They shouldn’t fast on water alone, no more than 3 days at a time, fast at the change of seasons and they can consider fasting one day a week for the year. If you find yourself getting a regular when you fast you can fast on fennel tea and kitchari.
¼ teaspoon for all spices
1 cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon: dry ginger, dill seed, fenugreek seed,1 clove , 1 cup boiling water.
If you are in good health you can fast on a regular basis up to 3 days a couple times throughout the year. Having good health you can fast one day a week throughout the year. Mother drink you can do is: Hot water with Apple cranberry juice honey and lemon. This is a good friend to have before you eat lunch or dinner.
There is more information on each dosha regarding fasting for people in good health or with health conditions. See what works best for you.