Autumn is a time of establishing a rhythmic order. There is a downward energy, grounding our bodies, minds and even our food into the earth. It is the ideal time to focus on the colon as life energy contracts and will prepare for a dormant state in the winter. Autumn is associated with white, and also the time of year our ‘white’ foods are at their peak. They are the digestives and immune boosting foods such as: apples, pears, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and leeks. – Kate Kennington, Cleansing with Kate
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the energetic season of Fall has begun and will run until October 20. Now is the time to gently immerse ourselves in the quieter, more introspective energies of the season. It’s a time of harvest and of preparation for the upcoming energetic Winter.
In keeping with the theme of preparing for Winter, we will want to get ourselves more organized at this time of year, establishing more order in our lives. Throughout Summer, we’ve feasted and “fested.” We expressed ourselves more physically as we enjoyed vacations and social events and holidays, but in the season of Autumn, we’ll want to come more inside our body and mind and reflect on our lives in positive and productive ways. What can we learn from the past two seasons in a way we can constructively apply throughout Fall and Winter?
If we have unfinished projects begun in Spring and Summer, now is the optimum time to complete them. (See our blog post of last Fall for a number of tips on completing unfinished projects.) The energies of the Fall season will now support and encourage the beginning of indoor projects that involve more mental and introspective processes.
The lung and large intestine are the internal organs associated with Fall and the Metal element. Lung is associated with the emotion of letting go. The very act of conscious breathing enables us to let go of the unwanted as we fully and deeply exhale.
There are many people who so love the Summer that Fall may be a challenging time since they have no choice but to give up longer days, warm weather and certain kinds of outdoor social activities. Utilizing the lungs to practice slowing down the breath can assist to maintain our physical vigor throughout the Fall and Winter and also bring us mental clarity and a nicely balanced emotional state. (Check out our blog post entitled, “Six Breaths a Minute…” at our sister Ageless La Cure site for a simple breathing technique anyone can do and which can transform your life.)
Soul and spirit should be tranquil to keep lungs pure… – The Neijing Suwen
TCM finds the lung to be the "tender organ” since it is the uppermost organ in the body making it particularly susceptible to wind and cold. As the temperatures change, be proactive with your health by dressing appropriately for the weather even though we’ve become accustomed to habits of Summer dress. (On a related topic, be sure to read our former blog post on the importance of wearing a scarf in Fall.)
Fall vitality is also encouraged by proper sleep. The ancient medical text, the Neijing Suwen, advises we should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during Autumn.
Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine E-Book: A Comprehensive Text. 3rd ed., Elsevier Academic Press, 2015.
Kennington, Kate. Cleansing with Kate: A Whole Food Guide to Nourishing Your Whole Self. 3rd ed., Kennington, 2014.
There was temperance in eating and drinking. Their hours of rising and retiring were regular and not disorderly and wild. By these means the ancients kept their bodies united with their souls, so as to fulfill their allotted span completely, measuring unto a hundred years before they passed away. – The Neijing Suwen
The wise man will surely conform to the changes of the four seasons, adapt himself to the cold of winter and the heat of summer, neutralize joy and anger and live a regular life. – The Neijing Suwen