The seasons in Taoist practices (Qigong and Chinese Medicine)
Qigong and the Traditional Chinese Medicine considers autumn as the “Metal” phase in the 5 elements of nature; where the Lung meridian and Large Intestine channels take center stage.
It is also a natural time of year to switch from the more “expansive” spirit of summer (think travel, going out more, and staying up late), to a more “contractive” time conducive to going inward, staying home, and sleeping more.
When we are in tune with our bodies and how the seasons affect us, adjusting our lifestyles to coincide with the change in season is instinctual.
Thinking like this is simply not part of our cultural consciousness anymore.
But, despite our lost knowledge here, learning to honor the changing needs of your body within the cycles of the seasons is a powerful way to reduce risk of common seasonal concerns of body, mind, and wellbeing.
Let's have a closer look into:
How to strengthen and protect your health during the cold season
This fortifying approach will in turn create a reservoir of health to sustain you in the winter months. Staying in tune with the rhythm of the seasons brings harmony and well-being
The Emotions of the Lung and Large Intestine
As mentioned above Traditional Chinese Medicine associates the Lung and Large Intestine channels with autumn. They get special attention because they are also the most vulnerable during this season.
The Lung, considered a Yin organ, is associated with taking in the new
Emotionally, the Lungs coincide with:
- Grief and Sadness (unprocessed grief and sadness can stagnate the lung meridian)
- Attachment (difficulty letting go can stagnate the lung meridian)
When the lung qi is flowing and balanced, one can experience enhanced:
- Clarity of thought
- Positive self-image
- Surrendering to and allowing inner peace and joy regardless of circumstances
The Large Intestine, considered a Yang organ, releases the old
The Large Intestine channel is often associated with:
- Inability to let go, uptightness, stubbornness, stagnation, negative outlook (glass half empty vs. half full perspective)
- How we flow with life’s current
When the large intestine qi is flowing and balanced, there can be increased:
- Sense of relaxation
- Release of what no longer serves a person
- Flowing with life vs. resisting
- Focus on the day-to-day vs. big picture/meaning/purpose
A heightened awareness of these emotions can coincide with the change of season.
For example, grief or attachment issues can be associated with the loss of summer which affects some people greatly due to less light and warmth.
Since autumn is a natural time of letting go and getting organized (think of trees dropping their leaves and animals getting ready for hibernation), a lack of awareness in this regard can lead to feelings of stagnation and a lack of harmony with life’s flow. All of which can affect the health of your Lungs and Large Intestine channels.
Ways to Break Emotional Stagnation
All emotions are important and healthy to experience. The concern is more if you are having challenges moving through any emotional expression in a healthy way. Qigong and Chinese Medicine offer some suggestions for helping to keep the qi flowing in the lung or large intestine which can assist in healthy emotional expression.
Autumn offers us the perfect time to let go of those things which no longer serve us. This frees up any stagnant mental and emotional space to embrace those healing feelings of clarity, relaxation, release, focus, happiness, and flow.
Let go this fall:
Breathe - wind is a key element in fall. Therefore, take the time to focus your deep breathing techniques as you become aware of that which needs to be released. Big exhales.
Sleep - if you think about it, the act of sleep is the ultimate way of letting go. Thanks to a special type of lymphatic system in the brain called The Glympathic System, sleep facilitates the cleansing and organization of your brain. To keep things simple, aim to go to bed an hour earlier or, if your schedule permits, wake up an hour later.
Qigong - Within Qigong is a practice known as the Healing Sounds. The sound associated with the lung meridian is “SSSSSSSSSSSS.”
The Six Healing Sounds are especially helpful to release stagnation of any kind, excessive heat or cold. The Healing Sounds create a frequency which penetrates into the cells (here the cells in the lungs), and support to transform negativity into life-force. A very brief overview of the arm movements and the sounds are in the youTube click.
Download the lung exercise of the Healing Sounds here