From maximum Yang to Yin, adapt to the new season .
Did you know that in oriental traditions, adapting to the energy of each season is essential for health?
And although in the West we do not have it so present, if we think about it, it has its logic!
In autumn, the hours of sunshine begin to decrease and nature invites us to a more introspective state (or cave as I call it). Therefore, continuing with the same routine as in spring or summer is going against the current.
In Chinese Medicine, autumn is the time when we move from the peak of Yang in summer (energy related to action, heat, impulse, the desire to do things, expansive energy) towards the maximum Yin energy that occurs in winter (related to withdrawal, nutrition, self-listening, the ability to stop).
In autumn/winter: more sleep, less to do
In Eastern philosophy, this transition translates into prioritizing rest. Do less and more slowly, increase the hours of sleep (it is recommended to go to bed early and get up late). That is to say, keep more in mind the slow rhythm that is so much advocated in these times. And we are a hyperactive society by definition. Excessively accelerated, physically and mentally, who considers rest, stopping and not doing (wu wei) as a waste of time. From other traditions connected with natural rhythms, they interpret these periods as a seed that will germinate in later stages.
We need to come to terms with the benefits of rest.
And you will tell me, and Marta, but my work schedule is the same in summer and in autumn and so are my family obligations. Indeed, trying to fully adapt to these proposals may be something utopian for some people. But then it is necessary to stop and observe how to apply these precepts within your possibilities.
How can I introduce the slow movement?
Define what is priority and what is secondary. This is a very interesting personal work. At first you will tell me "everything is a priority" , but if you spend a few moments reflecting on it, you will realize that there are things that you can leave for later (sometimes I even recommend that you tell other people about your routine and that they help you discern between "essential - not important" ).
"Praise of slowness, reconciliation with stopping and rest, as a revolutionary act."
Spoon dishes, goodbye ice cream!
The reduction of external heat energy also translates into the need to provide this warmth internally. Forget about ice creams, cold drinks, salads at night, smoothies (and if you consume, better in the morning and add spices like cinnamon and ginger that heat up). Give more space to more cooked dishes such as:
- Soups: miso, ramen, peanut and rice soups that tonify the Kidneys and the spleen/stomach)
- Creams: pumpkin, mushrooms, carrot and red lentils, millet, leek and spinach...
- Pot-like stews with orange and brown colored foods. Earth element - spleen/stomach: sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, cooked or baked nuts, mushrooms, legumes, buckwheat and cereals such as millet, orange juice with kuzu...
- White foods. Metal element - lung/large intestine: pear, apple, leek, radish, turnip...
It does not mean that you only take these foods, but that you consider including them in your diet. Obviously they are general recommendations, if you have any pathology , consult your nutritionist.
Here I leave you an Autumn survival kit to survive it and not die trying.
1. Do less and do better . Prioritize your rest and your hours of sleep!
2. Make a list: what can I save for later?
3. Cultivate the slow rhythm : a conversation with a loved one, an infusion looking at the rain through the window, a pleasant reading, a walk in the woods...
I propose a challenge: for one minute a day, walk extremely slowly and pay attention to your steps, your breathing and if you stay present in what you are doing or if your mind flies like a free bird.
4. Conscious breaths : Autumn is linked to the lungs. So, although I recommend this throughout the year , (breathing revitalizes us) in autumn it should still be more present if possible. If you practice yoga, do pranayamas, otherwise, simply sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Continue to watch the air in and out, the rhythm, etc.
Spoiler alert: a lot of thoughts and emotions will appear, keep watching your breath despite it. Reserve for yourself at least 5 minutes a day.
5. Eat more cooked dishes , reduce or forget about cold foods.
6. Stretches to open the pectoral area and relax the diaphragm.
Example: inhale and open your arms in a cross and exhale bring your hands towards your heart. If you know Matsyasana or yoga fish posture, you can also practice it with blocks to maintain it for 2-3 minutes in its Yin Yoga version.
7. Help yourself with aromatherapy! Diffuse essential oils of Atlas cedar, ginger and tangerine (or bergamot or sweet orange, depending on your olfactory tastes). It is a magnificent synergy for this season. You can also make a mixture with base oil (almond, jojoba, sesame, etc.).
8. On an emotional level , work on the ability to "let go, to deliver" . Let go of what consumes a lot of energy (sometimes we cling to projects or relationships that lead nowhere). It is time to review what you do have for this winter and what leaves, which deciduous tree, should you allow to fall.
9. Meditate. If you still don't practice meditation or mindfulness, I invite you to do so.
“You must get up early, with the rooster. Leave the mind calm and at peace, so the influence of autumn is lessened. Do not direct the mind outward, so that the Lung Qi is clear. Su Wen, Chapter II.
I wish you a pleasant autumn transition,