September’s Equinox marked the beginning of autumn and a change in daylight throughout the northern hemisphere. This gradual reduction in light and temperature affect every organic system on our planet so it’s no wonder that it implements a physiological and emotional shift in humans. In contrast to the expansive nature of the summer, autumnal energy moves us towards a more inward, contractive phase where we can focus on quiet, introspective personal goals.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) each season is paired with various body systems and organs, autumn is paired with the lungs and large intestine. The energy of both organs is about clearing and ‘letting go’ so this autumnal phase is ideal for becoming conscious of anything we’re holding onto unnecessarily. When the lungs are under pressure there may be an ongoing sense of grief or an inability to process and let go of people, objects, or past experiences. When functioning well, vibrant lung energy promotes clear thinking, communication, and openness to new ideas. Similarly in the large intestine, where there is constipation and holding there will be a build-up of toxicity both physical, energetic, and emotional. Autumnal energy presents us with a chance to cleanse and release in preparation for the winter phase.
Luckily, there are many practical and enjoyable ways to support your body through the autumn phase and indeed harness the beneficial aspects. October and November are excellent months to support the large intestine and lungs, though clearing out our personal space, breathing deeply and eating seasonally. Simple steps are to reorganise and declutter our home, workspace, and devices. Remove any broken or unused items including clothes and shoes. Refresh and rearrange furniture and decorations to better suit our changing needs. Take several mini breaks throughout each day to breathe deeply, holding the breath in for a few seconds before exhaling deeply. Do this 5-10 times, three times a day.
Experientially, cooking is an amazing way not only to feed our body but get creative and rejuvenate the spirit. Each season nature provides us with a bounty of supportive fruit and vegetables and its autumn delivery is packed with key nutrients to support the lungs and large intestine. Heartier, warmer dishes are encouraged throughout the autumn/winter season and key ingredients nourish the body and support the immune system. Happily, these are also super tasty foods such as sweet potato, garlic, onion, chilli, leeks, beans, walnuts, asparagus, broccoli, the list is quite long. Instead of using a pre-set list why not head to a local farmers’ market where only seasonal foods are available and then get creative with recipes.
While your autumn stew slowly cooks, take a break outside to engage with the earth, observing how nature releases with grace.