Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Autumn and the Metal Element
Today I walked in the forest. Surrounded by soaked verdant leaves I listened to the crows talk to one another and observed the earth heavy with dark soil and moss.
And now I'm here, at home, with the comfort of a hot teapot, wrapped in blankets as I listen to the rain. I can hear the leaves outside; brown, orange and red, as they're swept away by the wind into a fury of chaos and beauty.
Sometimes the land will speak to you -- if you listen.
The days become shorter and darker this time of year and if we look at the natural world we can see there's an organic slowing down and a turning inward happening all around us.
We can see release everywhere -- demonstrated by the trees -- their natural loss of leaves shows us that letting go is a natural part of our existence. The trees don't die, they simply draw their energy inward preparing for a period of growth where their inner resources become more important than their external expression.
The fall is a time for focusing, gathering, and collecting. After the height of summer which emphasizes activity and external connection we now have the opportunity to turn inward and move slower. This is also a great time of year to reflect on letting go both psychologically and physically. Just as the trees lose their leaves this time of year, we may also feel the need to let go of what is no longer serving us.
Check out the video to learn more:
In particular, autumn is an important time to do a cleanse. This is especially true if you know you have weakness in the Lungs and/or the Large Intestine. Doing a cleanse in the fall is different than doing one in the spring, as your diet will most likely be heavier and richer when you’re finished cleansing in order to support you as you move into the colder months.
Lung, Large Intestine and Vata
In the Traditional Chinese medical system, this season is related to the metal element, the Lung, the Large Intestine and the skin and hair. According to Ayurveda the medical system of yoga "vata" increases in the fall. Vata has a light, dry and cold energy so we can find ourselves more restless, dry or ungrounded this time of year.
The Lung is considered the most sensitive organ and is very closely connected to immunity. So working with practices and remedies that support immunity will be helpful.
The Large Intestine is also important this time of year so doing a colon cleanse or a cleanse that has a focus on fiber is a great idea. Something as simple as having warm stewed apples in the morning is a great start.
Constipation and other bowel issues can lead to many more health concerns. It’s very common for issues in the colon to show up in skin problems, mucus buildup, allergies, and mood concerns. If you want more info about those issues check out my other videos like how to heal and strengthen your digestion.
Food for Autumn
Autumn is a time to gather our energy and store up for winter. Its a good idea to increase heavier and warm foods and eat more nourishing healthy oils. It's a time to eat natural foods that are moistening, and have sweet, sour, and salty flavors. Aromatic and warming herbs and spices are great as long as they are not "outward moving". Root vegetables and sour foods like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, aduki beans, rose hip tea, vinegar, and yogurt are great options.
You can also use oils like sesame or sweet almond oil on your skin to pacify vata energy. I have a great post all about abhyanga which is a type of self-massage with healing oils that is particularly helpful and nourishing this time of year.
Most of all remember that energy is shifting now. Take time to slow down, spend more time in meditation and let go os what is no longer serving you.
Let me know in the comments below what practices you like to do in the fall. Wishing you a graceful surrender into fall and a deepening of self-awareness as we venture into this darker time of year.