Autumn and Chinese Medicine: Ancient Wisdom for Nourishing and Cultivating the Metal Element
September 22, 2021 marked the Fall equinox, the solar balance point of light and dark, yin and yang. As nature’s late summer season shifts into autumn, the human energy also shifts. The sunlit hours of the season’s days wane and the times of darkness extend. As goes the shift from nature’s yang energy into the yin.
Our own energy follows the season and begins to wane. We begin to slow down after the busy spring and summer seasons. Just as the leaves turn from green to golden and fall from the tree, our being also calls us to begin to conserve our energy as we approach the Winter season.
Attune your body, mind and soul to the qualities of the Autumn. InTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are five elements and each are connected to the seasons of the year – the season of Autumn is associated with the color white, the metal element and the Lungs.
TCM is founded on the belief that human beings and nature are One and that the human being’s body, mind and soul composes the whole of each of us. From this perspective, we can honor the energy that is shifting within us by nurturing our lung organs/energy channels on all levels: physical, emotional and soulful potentials.
Here are some tips for how you can nourish the energies and qualities of this season to bring more balance into your life and Being:
The lungs are in charge of the body’s defensive energy (“wei qi”). So take care of your immune system to keep your immune defenses strong. Here are some tips: Try elderberry syrup, drink ginger tea and have your vitamin D levels checked (low levels are associated with weakened immunity).
Be aware that your body is moving into a more restful period. Make time for plenty of sleep so your body can recharge your immune system and make repairs.
Honor and make space for grief. Grief and sadness are the emotions associated with the lung organ and without movement through these emotions, the lungs can lose energy. Reach out for help if you need to. When the lungs are balanced, they will empower you with forgiveness, compassion, dignity and grace.
Limit the amount of cold and raw fruits and vegetables you consume for it is now time to shift into eating warmed and cooked foods. Try incorporating more stews and soups. Also, eat more pears, they are moistening and nourishing for the lungs.
Exercise helps the body circulate the vital energy which keeps us energized, less stressed and breathing deeply.
Breathwork and qigong: one of the best ways you can take care of your lungs is to use them! Take time several times per day to check in withyour breathing and if you are a shallow breather, take steps to re-establish a healthy breathing pattern. Qigong, a type of moving meditation is a fantastic way to re-set your breathing and nourish your lungs.
I hope this post has helped you feel more in tune with this special season.
Follow these tips and build your energy, knowing you are creating a reserve of strength and health for the fall and future months to come.