Fall is the lung/metal element season in Chinese Medicine. Like the falling leaves, it is a time of letting go. As well as the lungs, the large intestines are most activated during this season. Both organs have the function of gathering in what is essential and letting go of what is not needed. After the growing of the summer/fire element and the centering and integration of the late summer/earth element, it is now time to soften and draw our energy back in. We are moving from a yang season to a yin season. The metal element being a time of self-reflection (think old fashioned mirror), it is a good time to get back on track and to lay the foundations for our health for the next year. Now is not the time to start running ten miles a day or to start dieting, as these are spring and summer activities. The appropriate response to this yin season would be to still our minds and hearts and to gather and collect the spirit and qi/energy. Just as the trees are drawing in and letting go of their leaves, it is time for us to let go of what we have been carrying around all year and of which is no longer of any value to us.
Breathing is a very powerful way to let go of our tension, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. It is one of the primary cycles of yin and yang in the body. After inhaling, we must let go before we can breathe in again. Just five minutes spent focusing on the breath each day can make the lung qi pure and can have an extraordinary effect on your health and peace of mind through autumn and winter season. The lungs are responsible for the distribution of the protective wei qi around the body and skin. The stronger the lungs are, the better our immune system and general vitality will be.
Just as there is yin and yang in everything, autumn is not just about letting go of what we no longer need or what is holding us back but it is also about gathering in that which nourishes and strengthens us. These two sides, letting go and gathering in, must be balanced. The reason many people fall sick in the autumn is because they do not adapt to the change of the season. Protect yourself from the cold and especially the wind and recognize the activities of the summer are now over. Rather than using up your energy, it is time to start saving it.