It’s Autumn which means several things in my world. Autumn is a wonderful transitional season. The mornings begin to have a nice crisp in the air once again that just screams to the lungs...Wake up! And as soon as I take in a deep breath, my body responds with AAAAH!
Oh Autumn, how I love thee.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Autumn is correlated to the element of Metal. For all you non-TCM geeks, without even having to try to figure out what that means just consider what the qualities of metal are. Don’t give yourself an aneurysm thinking about it. Just consider. Let me get you started. Metal is ___(fill in qualities here)______________. Voila! Now you can begin to relate to the season of Autumn more personally. Consider how these qualities apply to your own life, your relationships, mental state, habits, or more importantly how you can use these qualities to bring more balance in your life, i.e. cutting things out of your life that no longer serve you or help you to be the best you can be.
Yes, Autumn, as metal, is more sharp or cutting than the playful energy of summer. Things all around us begin to show their life’s cycle: wilting, withering, changing colors, falling off trees. Woah woah waoh, not to get you depressed. This is a natural cycle and part of your own nature of being. Asian Medicine (Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda) is all about celebrating the nature of things and since YOU ARE A PART OF nature, this means celebrating YOU! This is the perfect time to allow what needs to naturally die away, go. Let go. The nature of Metal. AND when we let go, that creates space allowing for the opposite to occur...receptivity or filling.
More TCM geeky stuff that you should know is the metal element is connected with the Lungs and Large Intestine. The yin and yang organs of receptivity and letting go. These images and connections become the perfect guidelines for the natural processes in our own life, no?
In Ayurveda, Autumn is associated with the dosha, or imbalances, of Vata. Vata is represented by the elements of Air and Space just like the Lungs and Large Intestine. In fact, the house of Vata is the...drum roll please...Large Intestine. Coincidence? Never is. More like Divine connection! At this time of the year, it is natural for things in our lives to become irregular, mobile, quick, dry, cold, light, and rough. Not just on a physical level (lungs and large intestine) but at the mental/emotional level as well. Both TCM and Ayurveda give us guidelines of how to live with the seasons and not allow these qualities to take over too much and create dis-ease or illness.
During the change of the seasons, Vata, the energy of movement, is predominant. It’s important to avoid excesses in all areas of your life at this time. Breathing exercises and meditation are important to practice every day. Begin packing a scarf or top-layer with you every time you leave the house, just in case the weather shifts. When the weather gets windy, protect your neck. Most importantly, nurture moderation and stress-free living to keep the immune system functioning at its peak performance.
General food guidelines to follow at this time of the year include: Eat foods that are sweet (whole grains, not cookies), sour & salty (rock salt, not potato chips)
Limit the intake of spicy, raw, cold, and light foods. i.e. cold salads, sushi, and cold bean salads.
Enjoy warm, cooked foods, a variety of proteins, and healthy fats.
Consider, sipping on the following Vata Balancing Tea throughout the day to help make the transition of the seasons easier on the mind and body.
Ingredients: 1C water 3 deep breaths 1 Intention of "Balance" 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp ajwain (available at most local Natural Food store) sweetener (optional): turbinado, rice syrup
Directions: Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add spices. Cover and steep, or use a coffee/tea press, for 3-5 minutes. Sweeten to taste & serve. Serves 1.
Enjoy with balance and the intention of letting go those things in your life (thoughts, habits, relationships) that no longer serve you while being more receptive, or filling your life with things that DO serve you. This is Autumn! Enjoy.
To learn more specifically about your personal constitution and what foods, spices, beverages, breathing exercises and physical exercises or yoga asana are best to bring your body and mind into balance, call or e-mail Haunani today to schedule your private 1-to-1 session. You can also check out Haunani's Asian Medicine Seasonal Wisdom bundle for continued support in aligning and living with Nature's rhythms.
Originally published October 8, 2012