The three months of autumn and called contained and balanced. The qi of heaven quickens and the qi of the earth becomes illuminated. Retire early and rise with the waking of the rooster. Allow the will to be calm and peaceful in order to moderate the punishing energy of autumn. Gather and collect the shen qi, to balance the prevailing qi of autumn. Do not extend the will outwards. Clear and purify lung qi. Nourish that which is gathering to act in accord with the qi of autumn. Going against these principles will harm the lung. In winter, there will be diarrhea with undigested food. The storing power of winter is diminished.
- Go to bed and rise early, with the rooster. It is essential to get enough rest to obtain optimal health and longevity. During this time of year, it is ideal to sleep when the sun goes down and rise as it rises, or as close to this cycle as you can logistically achieve.
- Nourish and cleanse the lung and large intestine. The energetic nature of the fall season is associated with the metal element, which relates to the lung and large intestine organ systems in the body. These organ systems, particularly the lungs, are often affected during the fall with symptoms of wind cold invasion, such as nasal and chest congestion, sore throat, stiff neck and body aches, sore throat, etc. It is also not uncommon to experience constipation or diarrhea when the body is having a difficult time transitioning between summer and fall. Energy can get stuck in the channels and lead to stagnant heat, which is why some people have symptoms every fall. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are a great way to help with seasonal transitions whether you are having symptoms or not, and support these organ systems.
- Eat foods that are light, easy to digest, and slightly pungent and sweet. Eating this way will be beneficial to the lung and large intestine and will help prevent symptoms due to the stagnation of summer heat energy. Gentle cleanses are a good idea during this time of year to help the body get rid of excess waste products via the lungs and large intestine. (Check back for a favorite recipe of mine for lung and large intestine nourishment.)
- Stay warm and always have a scarf handy. We are starting to notice an increase in the cool fall wind qi. Protecting the neck and body from chilly gusts wind is a good way to help prevent seasonal colds. This is especially true if you are already feeling run down and fatigued or tend to get sick a lot.
- Spend time self reflecting and pulling your energy inward, do not extend the will outward. The energetic movement of the fall is descending, which is the opposite of the expansive quality found during the spring. It is beneficial to spend some time reflecting on the past year and on future goals and less time exerting yourself outward into the world, as the energy of the season supports inward motion. For those of you starting a business or big project, it would be more beneficial to reflect and prepare during the fall and winter, and execute those plans during the spring, which supports expansiveness and growth.
- Practice forgiveness and letting go of grief and resentment, in order to moderate the punishing energy of the fall. The metal element is associated with the emotion of grief. This is a time for there to naturally be more feelings of grief and resentment in people who have stagnant energy in their lung and large intestine organ systems. Working with this energy of letting go in the fall will be of great benefit to your emotional and overall health. Holding on to these toxic feelings does nothing but disrupt the natural flow of energy in the body and will eventually make you physically sick if you are unable to release them. I have recently learned that in the Jewish religion, the two important holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are held during the fall season. This is very appropriate, as these two holidays are all about self-reflection, atonement of previous sins, and forgiveness of yourself and anyone else that may have wronged you, which are naturally practices to have during the fall.
- Spend time out in nature enjoying the beauty and illumination of this season. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The weather is cool, the leaves are decomposing and turning beautiful colors, and there is a stillness in the air that comes over me when I spend some time in the woods or near any body of water. Relaxing and reflecting in nature is a great way to bring some calmness and quietude to minds that are often constantly racing with thoughts, are over worked, and under rested.
I hope you all have a happy and healthy fall. Please feel free to share any questions or comments you may have and any tips you have to stay healthy during the fall season!