When autumn arrives, it brings with it cooler weather, colorful leaves, and a comfort that the exuberant bustle of summer has come to an end.
Autumn is the time for us to take a look at both our environment and inside ourselves, identify what we should cherish and keep, and what we need to let go of.
Just like a tree hangs on to it's branches, but decides it's time to let go of it's leaves in preparation for winter.
Autumn is associated with the metal element in Chinese Medicine. The metal organs are Lung and Large Intestine, the color is white, and the emotions are grief and sadness.
It's helpful for our health and well being to be in tune with the sun, the moon, and our planet and it's seasons.
Here are 7 ways to nourish your body, mind, and spirit this autumn.
1. Do an Autumn Clearing... Externally.
Scraping away the dirt and clutter reveals the gems and metals, the precious elements.
Go through your home and office and get rid of things you no longer have a use for, find beautiful or inspirational. With the only pause being a moment of gratitude for the purpose an item did serve us, and then letting it go gracefully.
You're left with only the essentials and beautiful items that inspire you.
2. Do an Autumn Clearing... Internally.
Complete a number of journal sessions focusing on emotions, particularly try to identify any emotional patterns that are negative to you or your relationships.
Are we holding on to any grudges? Do we have any habits that we started with good intention that just are not healthy or producing good results?
Also try to identify all things that are not useful or contributing to your life or your health and create new patterns and agreements in it's place.
3. Add Pungent Foods and White Foods
You've heard "eat the rainbow." This also goes for white foods such as daikon radishes, turnips, and cauliflower.
Add pungent foods such as herbs and spices. Garlic (also white!) onion (also can be white!), ginger, thyme, rosemary, sage, mustard, and radishes. These foods are especially good at supporting the immune system, which is always a good idea when the weather changes and as we approach winter and colder weather.
Also enjoy foods in season such as fresh figs, apples, pears and winter squash.
4. Do as the Sun Does
The amount of daylight decreases... it stays darker later in the morning and gets darker earlier at night. This is a sign from nature that slowing down after the summer and resting more is what our bodies need to stay balanced and healthy.
If you can, sleep when the sun sleeps and rise when the sun rises. Stay in most nights after the sun goes down and spend time resting and connecting with your loved ones.
5. Breathe Intentionally
The lungs and large intestine are the organs of the season. Take time to do intentional breathing exercises daily to support the lungs.
My favorite is done lying on the back with one hand on the belly and the other on the chest.
Follow a square breathing pattern of 4-4-4-4: 4 seconds inhale through the nose, hold for 4, exhale through the nose for 4, hold for 4.
A really nice alternative is to follow this pattern, but extend the exhale to 8-11 seconds out pursed lips. The bonus of this is you'll be activating your parasympathetic nervous system which is always a healthy thing to do (also activates the immune system!).
6. Get a Colonic
Since autumn is the lung and large intestine time of year, it's the best time of year to support your colon with colon hydrotherapy (which I talk more about in the blog post Methods of Natural and Alternative Medicine I Love: Part 1). Colonics are safe when done sparingly.
7. Find Balanced structure... either from chaos or rigidity.
We all have one dominant characteristic of each of 5 Elements (Metal, Earth, Fire, Wood, and Water) but we also have characteristics of all of them.
The metal element in balance is fair, has integrity, and is structured. The metal element out of balance turns into authoritativeness, hypocrisy, and rigidity. (from AgelessHerbs.com).
Have you lost balance with the structure of your life, your day, or your work? Have you become too rigid or controlling in certain relationships? Now is the time of year to forgive yourself and get in touch with the metal element.
To your health and healing,