Autumn Health Part Four makes some observations about the transition from summer to fall. It’s easy to lose track of the seasons living in the modern world. We sleep indoors, take our meals inside, travel encased within cars, busses, trains, and planes. We work inside offices, factories, hospitals, schools, and warehouses.
Days pass during the week, where we can not venture outside all day long. It’s no wonder so many of us have a Vitamin D deficiency. We don’t spend enough time outdoors in the sunlight. As a result, it’s easy to forget that seasons are evolving all around us, transforming all living things in a great, unstoppable progression from summer to fall, winter to spring.
In ancient times, people’s daily lifestyle naturally connected them to nature and the seasons. Their very lives and survival depended on an acute awareness of changing patterns and shifting climates. We would be naive to think that we don’t need this knowledge today, for we do. Although we don’t live as our ancestors did, our bodies are still affected by the weather and change of seasons.
In Autumn Health Part Four, we describe some classic ideas from Chinese medicine, values that are still relevant for us today. It’s good to reflect on them with the coming and going of the seasons.
Summer Work, Autumn Harvest
Farmers work hard growing their crops in the summer months, harvesting their bounty in autumn. Families have children and build careers in the summer season of their lives, getting to slow down and reap the benefits of their hard work in the autumn cycle of life.
Dynasties grow and flourish in the summer phase of expansion, ripening and maturing in the autumn era of maturity. In Chinese medicine, summer is ruled by the Fire element, a time associated with outward growth and development. Fall, in contrast, is a time of turning inward, collecting, receiving, reflecting, and organizing life in preparation for the winter season ahead.
Autumn Is All About The Lungs
Lungs are the internal organs most associated with Fall. The lungs reflect many things, including the emotion of letting go. This process may be challenging for those who love the summer. They may find it difficult to leave behind the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and blooming flowers. Others are glad to escape the summer, with its high humidity and mosquitoes. They can’t wait for the crisp, cool air of autumn, brightly colored trees, and college football.
Tai Qi & Qi Gong
In Autumn Health Part Four, we’d like to promote the breathing techniques found in meditation, Tai Qi, and Qi Gong. They are helpful at any time of year, but especially during the transition from summer to fall. Walking and hiking are also good for the lungs and will help prepare your body for autumn. All of these activities strengthen the lungs, preparing your body for the challenges ahead. These challenges include staying healthy during cold and flu season and keeping your spirits up when days get darker and colder.
These self-mastery systems teach that you can achieve and maintain physical strength, mental clarity, and emotional peace by controlling your breath. In ancient times, Daoists performed Qi Gong to increase vitality, extend lifespan, and prevent disease. Both Tai Qi and Qi Gong are valuable skills to learn.
Nothing Beats A Good Night Sleep
Good sleep hygiene is also essential for staying healthy in the Fall. Our ancestors advised people to go to sleep early in the Fall and rise when the rooster crows. Early to bed, early to rise. Furthermore, autumn is a time to nurture tranquility. To keep our lungs pure, we should practice moderation and not give in to impulsive desires. Living moderately is more easily said than done, but it’s good to set lofty goals!
Autumn Health Part Four was about sharing some insight from Chinese medicine beliefs about season changes, particularly regarding the transition from summer to autumn. If you have health questions, feel free to contact us.
Autumn Health Part Four
Next week we will wrap up our series on autumn health with a more in-depth exploration of the lungs. Our lungs are an essential source of Qi energy in the body. How do they work? What makes them tick? Why are they so important? And what makes them so vulnerable? We will find out next week!