Autumn follows on the tail of the harvest, signaling that it is time to prepare for winter. The sap of trees settles into the interior, sinking down toward the roots. With fall comes a sense of gathering in, stocking up, mingled with a sense of loss as the light begins to fade and the air chills. It is a time to eliminate what is unnecessary and become aware of what is essential. In our human body we find that our “Qi” dives deeper; for preservation of cold weather ahead. We are more likely to want to “toast” in our beds each morning rather than jump out of bed to start our day.
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to get in touch with the energy of the fall. Moistening, softening, and nurturing foods for this time include white rice, white beans, pears, radishes, sea vegetables, potatoes, cabbage, turnips and parsnips. Transition into eating warmer, cooked foods and keep the salads and raw foods as by until the summer months
The organ system that shares the power of this season is the Lung. Corresponding to the temperament of autumn, the Lung pulls in and refines the Qi, (energy) sending it downward to nourish our roots. Ruling the skin, the outer limit of the human body, the Lung protects against bacteria and virus and safeguards internal resources. Since autumn is a dry season, we need to protect ourselves from cold air evaporation of moisture from our skin.
The importance of the seasons comes up specifically in chapter 2 of the Huang Di Nei Jing, an ancient Chinese medical text dated to the era of the Holy Bible:
“In the 3 months of autumn, the shapes of all living things on earth become mature naturally and are ready to be harvested. In autumn, the wind is vigorous and rapid, the environment on earth is clear and bright, so during this period, one should go to bed early to stay away from the chilliness, get up early to appreciate the crisp air of autumn, keep the spirit tranquil and stable to separate oneself from the sough of autumn by means of restraining the spirit and energy internally and guard the mind against anxiety and impetuosity. In this way, one's tranquility can still be maintained even in the sough of autumn atmosphere, and the breath of the lung can be kept even as well.”
Courtesy of the ABORM fall newsletter.