At its core, Chinese Medicine emphasises living in natural synthesis with the seasons to remain balanced, both mentally and physically. Our mainly urban, online, 24/7 lifestyle can wreak havoc with our bodies natural rhythms, but connecting and ‘noticing’ nature can have a dramatic effect on our health.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn is here and as the Yang energy of summer begins to wane, the rising energy of Yin encourages us to flow into this season and embrace our own natural instinct to hibernate. Just as nature reaches its peak and gently begins to decline, we feel an urge to slow down, don our woolies and prepare for the months ahead.
Autumn encourages us to asses our intentions for remaining part of the year, prioritise what’s important in our life and think about those elements that aren’t. This is a beautiful time to appreciate the natural change of Yang into Yin, of movement into stillness; a time to release anything we don’t need and any negative emotions or patterns of behaviour that we are holding on to.
The dominant element of Autumn is Metal and the organs governing this season are Lung and Large Intestine. The Lungs are responsible for bringing life into our body and together with our Large Intestine, helping us let go of what we don’t need.
When these organs are in balance, we have a good relationship with our breath. We can grieve healthily and let go with gentleness and acceptance, yet hold on to memories that are dear and important. We have boundaries and we are organised. Out of balance you will find that you suffer with lingering coughs and colds. You may also struggle to resolve grief and may feel heavy with sadness.
Nuture your Metal
- Learn breathing techniques. Simply sitting quietly and breathing is beneficial. Imagining the lungs filling with white light will strengthen them and allow a healthy Autumnal transition.
- Cover your neck and chest with scarves and collars. Protect yourself from any invasive wind.
- Use eucalyptus. This fabulous plant helps strengthen our whole respiratory system. Hang the stems around your home, in the shower, use the oil in a burner, crush the leaves, pop them in a muslin bag and place in a drawer or in your car.
- Practice yoga or exercises that open your chest. Work to support and release the muscles surrounding the Lungs.
- Try dry skin brushing to help the body feel invigorated and able to breathe.
- Clear out any stale corners of the home/house/room. This time of year is a good time to have an Autumn Clean!
- Drink lots of water. This is important as Autumn can be particularly dry.
- Eat warm food. Begin transitioning to soups and stews instead of salad and cold meals.
- Incorporate lots of organic vegetables, and protein into your diet. Walnuts, white mushrooms, onions, beans and white meat are all great Lung tonics. Root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and parsnips are good too.
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
John Donne, The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose