Aligning with Autumn
Today is the Autumn Equinox, which officially marks the beginning of Autumn! I don’t know about you, but Autumn is my all time favorite season, always and forever. The cool, crisp air, cozy sweaters, hot teas, stews, pumpkin flavored everything, and the beginning of holiday season just makes me so happy.
We live in a world that doesn’t necessarily support our innate way of living, but with mindfulness and attention toward our surroundings and daily habits we can recenter ourselves to live happier, healthier lives. Understanding the energy of the seasons and consciously living in harmony with their nature allows us to stay balanced on all levels of our being, all year round. Eating foods that naturally grow during each season is a perfect example of this, and will help you feel more connected to yourself and the world around you.
In traditional Chinese medicine, each season is associated with a particular element and organ of the body. The qualities of both are great indicators of the behaviors we can adopt during specific times of the year for balance and wellness in our bodies, minds, and hearts.
The element associated with Autumn is metal; downward moving, slowly contracting into a quiet stillness. We’re moving from summer, which is vibrant, extroverted, yang energy into an introverted, introspective season.
Autumn encourages us to move our awareness inward, gain insight from our summer season, and recollect ourselves. It’s the perfect time to reconnect to our deepest desires, recommit to our goals, and let any aspects of our life which aren’t nourishing our dreams fall away.
The main organ of Autumn is the lungs. When unbalanced, the lungs are associated with emotions such as grief, sadness, anxiety, and depression, and when balanced, we experience openness, joy, calmness, and positivity. The lungs are responsible for our overall health and vitality by assisting the heart with blood circulation, oxygenating every cell in the body when we breathe in and eliminating carbon dioxide, a waste product, when we breathe out. By refining our breath and breathing fully with purpose, we nourish our entire body on a deep cellular level, relieving ourselves of many lung ailments and other illnesses, stress, depression, fatigue, and so much more.
The large intestine is the second organ of Autumn. It’s considered the “Minister of Transportation" and is the final stage of elimination in the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the two organs are interconnected. The large intestine depends on the lungs for stimulation and movement. That means if the lungs are weak and weary, digestion may be effected as well, or vice versa. An imbalance of the large intestine can manifest in our life as sadness, worry, irritability, and an inability to let go. When the large intestine is strong and healthy, we experience clarity in thought and communication, inspiration, and joy.
We can physically facilitate balance in these organs through controlling our breath and practicing specific yoga poses that target these meridians. If you don’t already have a pranayama practice, Autumn is a good time to learn some traditional yogic breathing exercises to strengthen and purify your body from the inside out. (Stay tuned for an Autumn yoga and pranayama practice on the blog!)
On an energetic level, we can mirror the qualities of these Autumn organs by practicing detachment. Both organs are prime examples of the giving and receiving nature of life. They both take in what they need, utilize it thoroughly, and release what no longer serves them. Autumn is therefore a perfect time to let go of the old, stagnant energy in your life and embrace that which is nourishing and supportive.
Give yourself permission to slow down, breathe, and listen. Find time to dig deep within yourself and observe your mental and emotional states. Is your day to day life aligned your soul’s deepest desires? Assess and integrate. Do more of what makes you happy. ’Tis the season!
For love, with love.