Chinese medicine believes that we are a reflection of nature. The Chinese medicine system ties together man/woman and nature and when we live in harmonious communication with nature we find health. In autumn it is essential to find a balance of outward focused activities and inward focused activities helps to maintain a healthy body and mind.
The Chinese five element system relates all energy and substance to one of the elements-Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. In this system the time of autumn relates the element Metal, and represents communication and the workings of the mind… The organs associated with the Metal element are the Lungs and Large Intestine and autumn is a good time to focus on keeping these organs strong and healthy.
Here are some tips to staying healthy in the autumn and preparing for the winter season:
Breathe deeply: Breathing is one of our most vital functions. A practice of breathing deeply helps to keep the lungs and other organs healthy. Pranayama yogic breathing is a great practice to begin in the autumn. Many yoga studios offer pranayama classes to help you get started.
Meditation: The metal element and the mind are closely related. The state of our minds can be reflected in the freedom of our bowels and in the ease of our breathing. Breathing is the basis of meditation. Much has been written on the subject of meditation and there are a multitude of different definitions and practices. One simple way to begin is to focus on the breath or a simple mantra, such as om, to clear body tensions and open the mind. And remember that meditation is a process, not a goal.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a branch of Chinese medicine that involves inserting hair thin needles into acupoints on the body. Acupuncture can help to keep the lungs and large intestine healthy by treating colds, coughs and constipation. Acupuncture can help to tone the large intestine and lungs and support them in the time of autumn.
Diet: When the weather starts to turn crisp and cooler a nice warn bowl of soup is comforting and warming. Vegetable barley soup is a great soup for the autumn. Pumpkin or squash soup is also a good choice. As you eat less and less fruit, you can turn more to vegetables and whole grains. Whole grains are high in vitamin B which helps with energy production. They also have a high fiber content to keep the intestines healthy. Turn to more body builders and less congesting foods, such as bread and cheese. Good body builders are fish, meat, nuts, beans and seeds.
As we turn towards winter, autumn is the period of preparation for winter’s resting time until spring’s rebirth. Have clear thinking, openness to new ideas, and relax with the above ideas and you will have a strong mind and body through autumn and winter.