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Autumn Equinox: The Yin Deepens

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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.

Understand 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.

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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.

Appreciating Emptiness
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.

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Weathering The Seasons: Late Summer—Early Fall

Autumn Road

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.

Swirling Energy

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.

Swirling Energy

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 ...

Swirling Energy

Summer Solstice: Being in Rhythm With the Season

Hawaiian lava flow

Summer Solstice marks the time of year when days are long and temperatures rising.

From our Western, astronomical point-of-view, June 21st marks the first day of Summer. And since we’re cultivating an understanding of ‘seasonal energy’ or ‘Chi,’ now is a good time to point out that ‘energetically’ — as Eastern thinking goes — the Summer Solstice marks the mid-point of Summer rather than its beginning.

Whether or not this idea seems a bit unusual, just for the sake of exploration let’s consider what it might mean if Summer Solstice does mark the midpoint of Summer rather than its beginning.

What difference would it make in your life: besides being just a day on the calendar reminding us to wash the deck furniture and get ready for vacation?

Seasons Affect Your Organ-ization

We all know that each season of the year has its own unique characteristics and requirements.

In our minds, we know we need to change our wardrobes; that different kinds of events find their way onto our schedules; and (to some extent) we change our diet and the food we eat. At the same time, your body is making its own adjustments.

According to the 5 Element Theory used in Oriental Medicine, the major organ systems in your body also change with the seasons. Each season a specific organ system goes into ‘energetic overdrive”: Heart in Summer; Spleen/Pancreas in late-Summer; Lungs in Autumn; Kidneys in Winter; and Liver in Spring.

Getting Organ-ized

If you’re trying to manage your health in accordance with these natural rhythms, then finding out that Summer Solstice marks the midpoint of Summer, rather than its beginning, could be a problem.

It means that right now we’re way further into the ‘Fire’ energy of Summer then you thought, and you probably have not been making the necessary ‘lifestyle’ adjustments your body needs to stay ‘balanced’ in Summer. These adjustments are needed to offset the stresses Summer places on the Heart, and by association, the Kidneys.

Knowing Is Technology

Did the ancient Chinese think and act ‘seasonally’? Of course they did; they had to. They didn’t have any choice. They had no on-demand electrical lighting, no refrigeration for their food, or air-conditioning to keep cool in Summer. When it was dark, it was dark; when it was cold, it was cold. Knowing how to be in synch with the energetics of the season was their technology.

In the 21st century we have astounding technologies which enable us to disregard natural cycles and their rhythms. And to the extent we’ve lost that rhythm, to that extent we’re out of balance. And when you’re out of balance you stumble, and too much stumbling leads to falling down.

Increasingly that’s what’s happening to the general level of health these days; it’s falling down.

Uplifting Health

The message I want to end on is an uplifting one. Today we can enjoy the benefits of both Western and Eastern technology: the technical accomplishments of Western science and the intuitive knowing of Oriental Medicine.

As we see it at BIOM, the goal of healthy living is reached when we balance both approaches and thereby live a balanced life.

Happy Summer.

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.