How To Protect and Strengthen Your Lungs In Autumn
The forest rustles
Alive with surrendering leaves
— Lao Xian
Fall is the time of year when the Lungs and immune system are working hard to help your body adapt to the changing weather.
Working together, your body’s organs are a networked system that receives, transforms and transmits energy. A balanced system is a healthy system, and in Autumn, you want to make sure that your Lungs get tuned-up. Oriental Medicine does that.
Lungs Are Most Sensitive In Autumn
The Lungs are the focal point of your body’s energy network in Autumn. So now is the time to do some very simple things that will protect your Lungs from the forces that cause cold and flu, by preparing them to deal with the dampness and cold that come with Autumn and Winter.
Five Ways To PROTECT Your Lungs
- Use a scarf or collar to cover the front and back of your neck when you go outside.
- Avoid drafts and wind.
- Wear a dust mask, or other cover, when working around dust, spores or other airborne contaminants.
- Use Chinese medical herb formulas, or other internal protection, to guard against colds, flu and other contagious illnesses.
- Be mindful of any intuitive insights you may have regarding your health.
Five Ways To STRENGTHEN Your Lungs
- Eat foods that nourish the Lungs. These include: daikon radish, lotus root, maiitake mushrooms, and Chinese herb formulas.
- Get enough sleep.
- Reduce and keep stress low. (Easier said than done ... but doable.)
- Pace yourself. Make sure to save some of your energy.
- Begin developing—or maintain—an inner practice like meditation or deep breathing to help your body relax and rejuvenate.
So, as the days continue to shorten and the nights get longer, remember to slow down to match the deepening of the seasonal energy.
Conserve and enjoy!
Autumn Equinox: The Yin Deepens
As the days continue to shorten and the nights get longer, remember to slow down to match the deepening of the seasonal energy.
Autumn Equinox is a time of discernible BALANCE in Nature; where in the northern hemisphere the number of hours of daylight and darkness are about equal: then we gently tip into predominant Darkness ... DEEPENING YIN ...
Unlike the Spring Equinox ... when we rise up into the Warmth and luxious growth of Summer (YANG) ... we’re now going the other way ... sinking ... into YIN ... Winter ... Cold ... Darkness. Not a darkness of gloom or despondency ... not at all ... we’re sinking into the fecundity of YIN.
To be able to sink ... fluidly and gracefully ... into the Yin ... one must understand one’s own Yin, and the Yin of Nature.
Yin needs to be understood so we know how to moderate our ‘lifestyles’ during the Yin seasons we call Autumn and Winter.
YIN: A Time of Receptivity
In the Yin time of year—from Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice—to be in BALANCE, one must recognize and practice the dynamic of RECEIVING.
Interestingly, at this time of Autumn Equinox, as we ready ourselves to move deeper into YIN ... Emptiness ... we’re equally ready to Harvest the bounty of YANG ... Fullness ... that has been growing in our fields and gardens since Spring.
Conserve Your Reserve
Health-WISE, we have just received the bounty of Yang energy we call Summer. Our bodies have been warmed and strengthened, and are now better prepared to combat the microorganisms trying to infect us through our LUNGS in Autumn and Winter.
Like our ancestors, who understood the necessity of storing as much of their harvest as possible, we need to CONSERVE the Energy ... the Chi ... we’ve cultivated throughout Spring and Summer so that we have an energy RESERVE to receive from as the easy energy of late-Summer wanes and cold and darkness expand.
How can Emptiness, the essence of Yin, be appreciated and enjoyed? Emptiness waits, exists, until something fills it. Appreciate Emptiness for the opportunity it provides to be filled. How? Be receptive—ready to receive. Savor your capacity to be FULL-filled.
Don’t accept the negative connotation of emptiness. Emptiness is the precondition to being fulfilled. And fulfillment is a reason for being alive.
Weathering The Seasons: Late Summer—Early Fall
We know about seasonal energy from a common-sense point of view.
We know when to take out and put away our seasonal clothing. We know about spring cleaning. We know about winterizing our homes and cars. But we don’t normally connect our body’s needs to the season, except when it gets too hot or too cold.
By paying attention to seasonal energy, you can have more personal energy year-round—while greatly reducing your vulnerability to colds, flu and other seasonal discomforts.
Your Body In Late Summer and Autumn
Of all the seasonal changes of the year, the change from Summer-to-Autumn is the most complex, because there are more energy interactions occurring than usual.
Late Summer has a combined effect on your body’s Heart, Digestive, and Lung energies. With all these energies swirling around, it’s a challenging time for our bodies.
Rebuild Heart and Kidney Energy
Beginning to rebuild Heart and Kidney energy now is also important because their strength gets depleted over the course of the Summer. Hot weather puts a lot of stress on the Heart and Kidneys. So to the extent you’ve experienced very hot weather over the Summer, to that extent your Heart and Kidney energy has been depleted and needs to be replenished.
Late Summer is primarily the time of the digestive energy, so your Pancreas, Stomach and digestive absorption are the focus of the body’s attention now. And by the time we arrive at mid-September, the focus will shift again; at that time it will be to the Lungs.
So while the digestive system generally needs a boost at the end of each season, this is especially important at the end of Late Summer because your body needs to be as able as possible to digest and absorb nutrients as it prepares for Autumn and Winter.
When Autumn arrives, your Lungs will be doing the heavy lifting, so their energy needs to be kept in balance to ward off invasions of colds and flu.
Oriental Medicine can help ...