The Autumn Season is here and moving through. Crimson red maples dance with the light and wind. Gingko leaves vibrant, look-at-me yellow. Soft, gentle cooler afternoon breezes move into earlier, darker night views. And just like nature our bodies also experience ‘seasons’, are our seasons. There is no separation.
As the leaves start to wither, die and fall, I am reminded of the impermanence of it all, once again. Reaping the last of the summer harvest, and then letting go, shedding my summer skin, preparing for the colder winter ahead.
We have an opportunity to move further with the season here, letting old habits, feelings, beliefs and attachments fall with the leaves. Thus creating fresh space for new inspiration, creativity, wisdom and compassion.
In Yin Yoga and Chinese Medicine the Meridians of Autumn, the lung and large intestine can help us with this process. They are our prime organs of elimination. When these organs are working well, the body can let go of toxins efficiently giving us the chance to slim down, physically, mentally and energetically. What do you want to let go of this season? An old stuck unconscious habit? An unhelpful emotional pattern? A few extra kilos?
With each new breath healthy lungs can inspire and refresh letting go of the old and making way for the new. If our large intestine is healthy and functioning, it helps us to keep what is needed and let go of what is not, as it digests our food, thoughts and emotions. If these processes are not working well we may literally get too full in all aspects. This depletes our energy and leaves us feeling confused, cluttered, heavy and unfocused. So how do we help? How do we harmonize with nature, inner and outer?
As the lungs are extra sensitive during Autumn, due to the cooler, dryer weather, I try to keep warm and well hydrated with warming herbal, lemon and ginger teas. Japanese brewed habu tea is also a favourite at the moment, as well as warmed spiced milk. I also try to massage my feet with warming oils like sesame oil to moisturize and nourish the body externally and internally, counteracting the dryness of the fall air.
To keep my intestine healthy I fill my shopping bags with seasonal fruits, especially apples, kaki (pomegranate), mikan (mandarins), lemons and yuzu. I make lots of warm comforting soups with seasonal grounding root vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, onions, gobo (burdock), and all the leafy greens available.
I try to focus on setting good boundaries for rest, meditation and mindful movement. I do a yoga practice that detoxifies (through movement and twists), builds heat to balance the colder weather, grounds (standing poses and hip openers), and relaxes. I go for walks enjoying the fresh air, warming colours, and the feel of the earth grounding me under my feet. As I go about my day I remember I am not separate from nature but a part of it, my own body and mind going through the same process that is happening all around me. Letting go, I move with and release into the beauty of the fall.
Want to learn more? Fall deeper? Come and join one of my yoga classes for the season, or one of my “Seasonal Retreats.” In the retreats we look at Yoga and meditation practices, as well as Ayurveda (Indian Natural Medicine) and Chinese Natural Medicine principles for harmonizing and healing with the seasons. The next retreat is focused on winter. It’s at a beautiful temple in Kyoto on Sunday, December 21st. Please contact me directly if you are interested. Wishing you a lovely spacious Fall.