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The Element of Air - Grief, sadness & letting go

AIR is associated with:


The colour white

Time of day Lung 3-5am

Snooze peacefully

Actions: Early stirring and gentle breathing

Emotions being processed: Grief and sadness

The Air element governs the Lung and Large intestines and the functions of protection and purification. As our energy starts to move inwards and downwards in autumn, we need to release unwanted energy and emotions and protect ourselves from unwanted outside influences. The skin is our main organ of protection and purification, governed by the Air element and influenced by the work done by the lung/large intestines.

OUT OF BALANCE- Unbalanced, the energy in the AIR element reduces our capacity to let go and release what doesn’t serve us. It can keep us looking backwards into the past, grasping, holding on and manifest as symptoms of unresolved sadness, grief and depression.

These manifestations occur at a cellular level. They can cause a whole range of physical symptoms such a breathing problems, asthma, reduced immunity and intestinal problems. However, when we embody the higher aspect of this energy, that of ‘release and transformation’, the body can begin to reflect a whole different way of being.

It isn’t normal for us to resist change. Change is natural and normal. When we align ourselves with the correct way of flowing with the energy we begin to experience safety, joy and balance in our lives. This is normal!

Mucus and waste from your lungs becomes loosened between 3 to 5 am, and when you awaken, this can be why you experience mucus build up. Your lungs are trying to expel the loosened waste. If you are coughing in the morning, this indicates that your diet and lifestyle needs tweaking in order to reduce stagnation and mucus congestion. Feeling ill at this time can also be an indication of deep grief that must be dealt with.

Soft inhales and exhales are key during this time, which is good news considering you are likely already doing this as you sleep. During sleep, you’re processing your day and enriching your body with oxygen through gentle breathing; this process assists the body with the elimination of toxic waste and boosts immunity. If you’re often waking up during these hours, is can be an indication of sadness or grief that needs to be addresses. And if you’re jolted from a really good dream with coughing or mucus, you may have to make a tweak to our lifestyle or diet.

Time of day Large Intestine 5-7am

Actions: Waking up and releasing

Emotions being processed: Guilt and stagnation

To get the day off to a good start, give yourself enough time early in the morning to honour the normal elimination function of the large intestine. The morning is the most important time to drink plenty of water and the worst time to have caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and takes water away from your colon to the kidneys and bladder for evacuation, but your body needs water in the morning to keep up its repair and maintenance of the large intestine and colon. If you are feeling bad at this time, drink lots of water. Drinking plenty of water at this time keeps you from getting constipated, gaining weight, looking and feeling older and improves your overall health. From an emotional perspective, you may need to let go of guilt.

It’s best to start the day with warm water, as hydration allows the large intestine to begin its process of elimination....sorry but hot coffee doesn’t count. Caffeine in the morning is what leads to the midday crash and the release of too much cortisol throughout the day. You should also give yourself time upon waking up to relax and allow for your body to naturally detox. This helps to not only physically process but emotionally deal with guilt and stagnation, which are the emotions associated with this time. Physically moving and releasing internal excess assists with your emotions.

The Air element (Metal in Chinese Medicine), is related to the Lung (YIN) and Large Intestines (YANG), and the season of autumn. It relates to how well we are able to deal with the past, release what no longer serves us, and be open to new life and the present moment.

Through the lungs we take in life energy on the in breath, and expel old energy that no longer serves our body in the out breath. They are responsible for the distribution of Qi through the body, sending it down (from the lungs) and dispersing it though the body. The lung has a special relationship with the skin and its protective functions, helping the skin to work as part of our immune system; the lungs circulate Qi to just under the skin.


· Wearing white clothing

· Breathing with awareness

· Clearing away clutter

· Engaging in an artistic pursuit such as drawing, painting and dancing


· Who am I?

· What does my spirit cry for?

· Am I ready to let go?


Air relates to the season of autumn. This is the time when we begin to turn our energy inwards. We turn out focus away from the external world and begin to focus on our internal process. Autumn signals the time to begin this self-reflection and inward journey. In doing this, we need to build up our resources to sustain and nurture us through the autumn months and winter.

Pungent foods have protective and cleansing qualities and specifically affect the lung and large intestine. They help to disperse the stuck energy and mucous, that can build up in these organs.

Pungent foods include chillies, onion, ginger, cabbage, radish, daikon radish and white peppercorns, The white pungent foods are particularly useful as this colour especially affects the air element.

Other protective foods include all dark green and orange vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, wheat grass, and watercress. These vegies, because of their high beta-carotene content, protect the surface (skin) and mucous membranes of the body. They also protect the lung and large intestine from cancer.

To help cleanse the lungs and large intestine eat plenty of fibre rich foods as mentioned above, plus whole grains such as oats or rice and fruit.


Barley and vegetable soup-

1 Cup barley 1 onion (diced)

1-2 cloves garlic 2 carrots

2-3 potatoes 1 zucchini

1 sweet potato ½ cup button mushrooms

Put barley, potatoes, onion, garlic and carrots in a large saucepan, cover with water and simmer until barley is cooked and soft. Add more liquid or stock as needed while simmering. Then add the sweet potato and zucchini, season and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Toss in a handful of fresh parsley, stir and serve with some crusty bread.

Asian Pumpkin large butternut pumpkin 1 onion (diced)

2-3 cloves garlic 2cm fresh garlic (grated or diced fine)

1 cup coconut milk Soy sauce or tamari

Pinch of cumin

Fry onion, ginger and garlic in a little oil. Add chopped and peeked butternut pumpkin and cumin, and cover with water or vegetable or chicken stock. Simmer until the pumpkin is cooked. Puree with stick blender or food mixer. Add coconut milk and soy or tamari.

Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh coriander and a touch of fresh chilli if you like.

I teach Dance Your Qi in Northcliffe WA every Saturday morning. If you would like to dance the elements with me either live of future zoom classes please reach out.

Check out my website for more details if you wish.

Much love Cath xx

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Thankyou so much for this email today, as I have had a really emotional time recently, as well as dealing (or not as the case has been) with grief. I check me emails and the timing or this one could not have been more perfect. 🙏

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