In fall, we prepare for turning inward, taking in what is of value and eliminating that which no longer serves us. It is a time when our energy begins to move down and in.
It can feel really hard for some people to transition from the social, frenetic pace of summer to the slower pace of autumn—a more introspective season. Feelings of melancholy, sadness and fatigue can arise, as the natural world around us begins to prepare for hibernation. That said, fall can also generate a lot of excitement. No matter how old you get, you still feel the thrill of a fresh start and back to school vibes.
Chinese medicine correlates autumn with the lungs and large intestine—the organs of inspiration and elimination respectively. This organ system rules the skin, respiration, body fluids, metabolism, blood circulation, immunity, bowel movements, the appreciation of beauty and the emotion of sadness. The lungs allow us to breathe in what is fresh, new and inspired, while the large intestine encourages us to release waste material at all levels of our being.
Seasonal changes can cause stress on the body if we don’t adapt our habits to our new environment. If we take steps now to support our bodies as we prepare for colder temperatures, we can preserve health and wellness even throughout the harshest parts of winter.
Wherever you land in your feelings about fall, these tips will help you maintain balance and prep for fall as we transition into this new season:
Autumn emphasizes the cycle of dormancy and preparing for rebirth. This allows us the opportunity to release old thoughts and negative patterns. Through this process of letting go, we can grow and thrive with fresh perspective. This season is also associated with grief and nostalgia. The energetic direction of fall is down and in, and this can cause melancholia and depression in many people. Our thoughts can turn to how things once were and cause us to mourn times and people that are no longer in our lives. Be aware of this tendency to want to hold onto thoughts of the past and actively release them to make way for new experiences.
Breathe Deeply & Smoothly
The lungs and large intestine are the organs associated with the fall season. Our lungs connect us to the external world with each breath and represent inspiration and an internal, introspective quality. They enable us to exhale carbon dioxide and other impurities, literally and metaphorically releasing what we no longer need in our lives. The large intestine has an additional function of purging toxins from our body. Nourish a breath practice this fall, even if it’s just a couple of minutes a day. It will clear your mind and calm your spirit.
Enjoy The Fruits of Your Labor
Summer was a season of high creativity, drive, energy and socializing. Now, this is a time of harvest, when we gather the colorful, abundant fruits and vegetables that are all around us. We may stock up on goods or pull out our warm clothes, just as animals grow their winter coats, store food and prepare in their own ways for winter. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and settle in for the cold. Ask yourself: What have you learned this summer? What experiences have you collected? What do you know now to be true about life and yourself that you didn’t know three months ago?
Go Within, Reflect and Focus
Fall is the season associated with the metal element. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the metal element governs the mind, organization, order and stability. We tend to be more reflective, turning inward to consider our work, our families and our homes at this moment. Autumn is a time to organize, prepare for the winter season ahead and reflect on our lives. Spiritually, it may be a time to go within and evaluate ourselves. Spending more time indoors may give us the opportunity to quiet the mind, meditate, do yoga and contemplate where we are and where we want to go.