The year of the Yang Metal Rat starts on Jan 25, 2020. What might this mean for you?

Yin and Yang, and the 5 Phases play key roles in Chinese Medicine. Yang is described as the  sunny side of the mountain and is a warming, active, drying energy. Yin is often described as the shadow side of the mountain and is a cooling, calming, moistening energy. The 5 phases (MetalWater, Wood, Fire and Earth) have many correspondences within the body, the emotions and the environment. These phases all work together to nourish one another or keep each other in check.

From this perspective, the Rat corresponds with the Metal energy and the year 2020 radiates the energy of Water. Since it is a Yang year and the metal phase nourishes the water phase there will be plenty of energy to work with, which is a good thing as this will be an especially important year for new beginnings. Not only is 2020 the start of a new decade but in Chinese astrology the Rat represents the start of a whole new 12-year cycle.

Since metal corresponds with autumn, and your lungs, you may need to let go of all that no longer serves you (breath it out) in order to make room for all the new possibilities and new opportunities coming your way (breath them in). Water corresponds with winter energy and your kidneys/adrenals, so this is a good time to go within and meditate on how to go with the flow so you can achieve all that you wish to in this new cycle. Make time to be still and listen closely to what your inner voice is trying to tell you. Rats are very clever animals, they are resilient, resourceful and relentless when trying to solve a problem, like finding their way out of a maze. Use this energy to be creative with all the changes that may come your way.

As this year is about newness, think of babies and saplings, and remember that all new things need special care and nurturing while they slowly grow into what they are meant to become. Rats are nurturing creatures so use this energy to gently tend to your new plans and ideas and don’t try to force them to run before they have even learned to crawl. Have patience and know that all is unfolding at the right time and in the right way. This is just the beginning, take it easy on yourself and remember that you have the next 10-12 years to allow things to fully blossom so you can harvest the fruits of your work.

This is a yang year so it is a good time to get started on creating a healthier and more active lifestyle. Admit it, there is always something that can be improved upon – a healthier diet, regular exercise, spending time in nature, or getting enough sleep.

The best exercise for your lungs is swimming. The action of swimming not only gets you breathing deeply but it stimulates the Lung meridians in your arms. With all the smoke in the air at the moment an indoor pool may be a good way to maintain your exercise routine and when the air clears go back to the ocean.  Let the salt water wash away all your worries or at least paddle your feet in the ocean and breathe in the salt air.

The devastating fires that have ravaged our nation are bringing up a lot of grief, stirring up both old and new emotions. Sadness, disappointment and grief are the emotions that correspond with the metal energy of the lungs. Once it is safe to go back to the national parks and the mountains it may help us all to heal if we can visit these areas. The people there need you and this is a good time to sit quietly and observe both the destruction and the new growth that is arising from the ashes. Let yourself have a good cry and allow the water energy of your tears help heal the metal energy of your grief.  Fear is the emotion often linked to the kidneys and the fires are equally triggering fear for a lot of people. However, the kidney energy is also about courage so go within and you will find the courage to ride the waves of change this year.

Start and end each day with at least 2 minutes of deep belly breathing, that’s around 10 slow, mindful breaths. Starting your day with mindful breathing will help oxygenate your blood so you feel more vital and alive and it will help you prepare for the day ahead. Closing your day with slow, mindful breathing will help you process your day, switch off any flight and fight responses that have arisen and help you rest and recuperate so you can have a good night sleep. Getting good quality, and sufficient quantity, of sleep will help restore your Kidney/adrenal energy and create plenty of energy for all your new plans.

From a dietary perspective the pungent flavour supports the lungs so add more shallots, onions, leeks and garlic to your cooking, especially if you are struggling with any respiratory issues.  The salty flavour supports the kidneys but only add a pinch of good quality Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt while you are cooking and avoid adding salt at the table. Additionally, you can enjoy the salty flavour by adding seasoning such as miso or soy sauce to your cooking rather than salt itself. It is also important to eat warming foods that are local, seasonal and organic (if possible) to nourish your kidneys – soups, stews, casseroles and bakes are great once autumn begins, and lots of steamed vegetables, stir fries or warm salads as we head into autumn.

If you want to boost your immunity, strengthen your lungs and support your adrenals consider a course of acupuncture treatments. Remember that if you tend to struggle with colds and flu every winter then have some acupuncture treatments during autumn and you will sail through winter more easily. Strengthening your kidney energy is like strengthening your foundation, and creating a strong foundation is an important way to start a new cycle.  In Chinese medicine the kidney energy also corresponds with your reproductive system so this is an ideal year to speak with local practitioner about supporting your monthly cycle, working with your fertility or having an easier journey through menopause.

Wishing you all wondrous new beginnings in this year of the Yang Metal Rat.

Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Wholefood counselling).  Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine located in Kingsford, NSW,  and is also a Contract Academic for the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.