Here in Australia, we just went through the hottest Summer on record! It seems that we want this weather to continue, so without realising we continue wearing shorts and singlets & drinking fresh juices and iced smoothies.
One of the things that is taught by the Dao in Chinese Medicine is to live in accordance with the seasons. We notice how the days become cooler and the nights become longer. It is important that we adjust our bodies to our surroundings. We can do this through our diet, lifestyle and exercise.
Autumn is associated with harvesting, which is the time to prepare your body for winter. The diet should mostly consist of richer, denser and more warming foods. For example, cooked vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnips, cabbage & Brussel sprouts, dark leafy greens and warming soups and stews.
It is also important to remember to avoid any raw or cold foods like salads, cold juices and smoothies.
The element of Autumn is Metal and the organs are Lung and Large Intestine. The Lung is associated with taking in the new and the Large Intestine with the ability to let go. It is interesting because Autumn is a natural time of letting go (like the leaves falling). In Autumn, we want to finish any tasks we set in Spring and Summer and resolve any emotional issues we may have built up with someone. We want to let go of the old and take in the new.
Sleep is another important factor to focus on in Autumn. As we know, the days become shorter and the nights become longer. It is vital we adjust our bodies to this new clock. Sleep will facilitate in letting go and taking in the new, decrease cortisol levels and stress, increase immunity and brain function.
Autumn is the transition from yang Summer into yin Winter. Summer was a time of hyperactivity and fire. As we move into Winter, we want to be slower, more settled and calm, to preserve our energy and immune system for the cold months. Exercise during Autumn should focus on slower movements like Yoga, Meditation and Qi Gong. These exercises are largely focused on breath work, which is obviously controlled by the Lung. So ultimately, you will be tonifying and nourishing your Lung to prepare for Winter.