As the Yang Qi of summer gives way to the growing Yin Qi of winter, it is a time of harvest and storage. People who protect their inner vitality, descending and storing it within, will reap the benefits of a strong mind and body that will last the cold long winter months. Those who maintain or increase their activity, go against nature and run the risk of sickness in the winter and spring.
Autumn is a transitional season. Nature shifts from outward dispersion to inward constriction. This is necessary in order to safely store potential energy for use next spring.
To adjust to this change, one should change their sleeping pattern so that one goes to bed and rises early. Getting up early promotes good circulation of the body’s Lung Qi; going to bed early adheres to the principle of gathering, harvesting, and storing one’s vital energy for proper nourishment.
Because the early morning air is so fresh and the wind blows gently, it is the optimum time for people to take a walk, practice Tai ji, and do some calisthenics. This will activate every organ in the body and make for a more energetic, resourceful person during the day.
During September in this area of the world, cold wind and excessive rain can make the temperature drop lower and lower. Take care not to be caught out without proper clothing as it is easy to catch cold. This is especially so for those over 50 and people who have a slow metabolism and poor circulation. Keep your hands and feet warm, and make sure to keep a consistent and comfortable body temperature.
In the Chinese Five Phase Correspondences, the autumn season is related to the Lung function and its emotion is grief. As the weather becomes cooler and grasses begin to wither and leaves fall, it can easily strike a chord in the hearts and minds of people, leaving them feeling sad, depressed, dreary, or old and feeble.
Therefore, it is said that we should develop optimism and be thankful for a fruitful harvest both mentally and physically. By keeping the mind tranquil and emotions stable, we can create a good atmosphere within ourselves to gather and store our vital energy for the winter ahead. Falling to do so will bring on melancholy or anxiety and will negatively affect our Lung function and immune system.
Due to the dry nature of fall, one should eat more foods that are moist in nature and refrain from too many spicy and pungent food. Incorporating sesame this time of year can bring many much needed health benefits. Local fruit like apples are also great in small quantities.
Drinking more liquid such as boiled water, weak tea, small amounts of fruit juice, soy milk etc. will help keep the body moist. Consuming rice porridge regularly will strengthen the stomach and spleen and nourish the lung. Adding pear, carrot, sesame, or lily bulb is a great way to enhance its effectiveness.
Eating pears will clear any residual heat left in the body from summer and moisten the body. Cooking pears even enhances this function. Adding some honey to them makes for a great nourishing food for autumn and can be a great remedy for a dry cough that often shows up this time of year.
Take care to have extra layers around so that you can clothe yourself properly. Make sure to avoid sweating in the cool air to avoid catching cold this time of year.
Because of the delightful weather at this time of year, it is the best period for physical training. Exercising outdoors is a great way to acclimate the body to the cold and prepare it for winter. To enhance the body’s resistance to the cold, take early morning walks, swim, go on hikes, and wash the body with a cold wash cloth once per day. Gathering friends together for a climb up a mountain is an exercise that has been practiced in China every September 9th since ancient times. It is a great way to exercise the body and cheer people up.
Incorporating these ideas of living with autumn will bring your body and mind into correspondence to this season and set the stage for an enjoyable fall. Take care to avoid becoming to dry and be careful of being caught out and about without some extra clothing. Rest and wake early. Take advantage of the most ideal weather for physical and energetic cultivation of the year, and get out of the house in the morning. This early morning air will revitalize your spirit.
all good medicine,