Energy of late fall
“In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and
the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony…” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of
Fall is the beginning of the yin cycle when the daylight lasts less than twelve hours. It’s a time of harvest when we gather the colorful fruits and vegetables for winter storage. Pumpkins and squashes are our symbols of bounty. We also store wood for the fire and get out our warm clothes for the colder, darker days of winter.
During the fall we ready ourselves to go back into stillness and receive guidance, rest and rebuilding of our energy to create life again as a wiser, healthier, more whole human.
According to Oriental medicine, the season of autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries.
The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall and the Metal element. Lung is associated with the emotion of “letting go.” This process is difficult for those who love the summer. They find it hard to give up the long days of sunlight, warm temperatures, and open windows. Others feel differently and love autumn, from the crisper air to the vivid red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees. If letting go of summer is hard for you, extra support practicing yoga may be in order to help you make the transition. Letting go is also about old beliefs, ideas and habit that hold us back.
Lung is considered by Oriental medicine to be the “tender organ.” This is because the lung is the uppermost organ in the body and especially susceptible to wind and cold. During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather! Many people still dressed for summer at the beginning of autumn, which is an open invitation for coughs, sore throats, and the common cold.
The lungs control the circulation of the defensive Qi that protects you from the invasion of flu and colds. If the defensive Qi is weak, people tend to feel cold when they’re sick. A weakness in the lungs can lead to a weakness, making a person prone to frequent colds. The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus.
What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products,
such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.