Outside it is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. Leaves are turning to red and gold before falling from the trees. We are harvesting the bounty from summer and storing up for the winter ahead. Nature is letting go of what is unnecessary, clearing the way for the next cycle of growth.
From yang to yin
At this time of year the abundance and yang of summer transitions into autumn, a more yin state. This transition can be difficult for us, as we may want to hold on to summer. We may feel time passes too quick and can feel sad and depressed at this time of year.
Chinese medicine shows us how we can live more harmoniously with the seasons, as the forces that govern nature also govern us. Practicing Tai Chi, Qi Gong or yoga and focussing on breathing and meditation can help us remain calm and peaceful. This helps us deal better with difficult emotions.
In Chinese medicine each season has an associated element and Metal is the element of Autumn. This is also the time of the Lungs and Large Intestine, both organs belong to the metal element and are in charge of respiration and elimination. Both Lungs and Large Intestine expel waste material we no longer need from our body. Letting go in life is not always easy and can bring up sadness and grief. Grief is the emotion associated with the Metal element.
This is a good time to reflect on what is important to us as the metal element also gives us the ability to let go of old ideas, beliefs and attachments. So we have room for new ideas to grow.
Common Autumnal Ailments
Common problems in Autumn often affect the Lungs and Large Intestine, such as frequent coughs and colds, asthma, shortness of breath, indigestion, constipation and lower back pain.
The cold and dryness of the wind can cause dry cough, dry, cracked skin and constipation. Wrapping up warm against the autumn chill with a scarf, and also keeping our lower back wrapped up and drinking warm drinks can help.
Metal is the element of Autumn. We can think of the imposing iron ore mountains but also the salt and minerals we find in our soil. Metal provides strength and structure and is used as building material to create good foundations and structure for our buildings. It also creates structure and foundations for our body through the minerals in our food. Eating fresh, seasonal and cooked food, during this season helps our digestion and nourishes us deeply to keep up our strength.