Metal & Vata
In Chinese medicine and 5 element theory the energy most dominate in autumn is an expression of Metal energy. Metal energy describes the part of the energetic cycle that occurs in the space between expansion transforming into contraction. It is the energy that drives transformation by letting go, deconstructing, releasing boundaries and surrendering. It is also the energy of quality, sharpness, judgement, purity and grief. In Chinese theory Metal energy manifests our lungs and colon and is home of the Po, the part of our soul that is specific to this lifetime. The power of Metal has a radical and radiant beauty that can take us deep into our core penetrating every cell, thought and emotion with the profundity of our Humanness. Metal energy and the way of the Heart are very closely linked and often described as spiritual.
There are also 5 elements in Ayurveda. These elements are understood to be the energetic building blocks for life. These building blocks are understood slightly differently than the Chinese five elements. They are Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, whereas in Chinese theory the five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal. We might be tempted to say that Space and Air are the same as Wood and Metal, but that is not the case. While these two worldviews- Ayurveda and Chinese theory- describe the philosophy and science of life, they do so in languages and ways that are resonate yet distinctly different.
In Ayurveda, the dynamic of how the elements manifest is due to which dosha most dominate. There are 3 doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. The energy dynamic most dominate in autumn is Vata. Vata is described like the wind; it is the energy of movement, it can be turbulent, changing, and swift. It is the energy that gives us a swift thinking and flexible mind. And, like the wind, it can also leave us feeling ungrounded, difficult to make commitments, and dizzy over many thoughts, tasks, or possibilities.
Both systems of medicine understand the benefit of first observing what is arising and then responding to it. Both systems of medicine begin this way, with a pause and observation of what is arising. Whether it be looking at the experience someone is having as they resonate with the dominate Metal and Vata energy present in nature, or whether there is a deeper imbalance of Metal or Vata in the physiology or constitution, first we watch to see how things are unfolding then we can begin to inquire as to why. From there we can take actions to inspire more harmony and health.
We can do the same for ourselves. Begin by observing what is happening and how you are experiencing your thoughts, your body and your emotions. Use your intuition. If Vata describes what you are feeling, you want to look at your routine. If you don’t have a daily routine, try to create one. Routine, warm foods and drinks (tea and water) and time sprinkled throughout your day to be still are good ways to balance an out of balance Vata energy. Receiving oil massage or applying oil to your body is another remedy that is deeply nourishing for a Vata imbalance.
You can also apply these practices to balancing Metal energy. However, if Metal energy is resonating most with you, you may wish to more directly address the emotional or spiritual expression of Metal. This kind of inner work can take many forms. In general, you want to focus on practices to help you soften, expand and ground.