Posturing for Your Month - Moving with the Seasons!
As the calendar and the seasons change, so do our external and internal rhythms. Different routines, schedules and levels of energy can threaten to sabotage even our best healthy intentions.
Drawing from the Traditional Chinese Medicine* seasonal associations (see here and here for an overview), from qigong, from restorative exercise, and with an eye on how crazy-busy most of us seem to be, we will present a package of 'posturing' resources every month to help you stay balanced and healthy, no matter what the calendar (and Mother Nature) is throwing at you.
(Note: this is coming from the perspective from a temperate climate zone in the Northern Hemisphere. Please adjust accordingly.)
(*Another note: in TCM, Organ functions are a bit more, um, encompassing, that the 'western' physiological descriptions. For that reason, you will find TCM Organs capitalized, to differentiate them, as well as the word "Organ".)
Traditional Chinese Medicine | Autumn
"Energy draws inward, as the earth's face loses her blush.
Take breath in to our lungs, and let it go with the full trust that there will be another.
Grieve the loss of warmth, but remember it's all part of the cycle.
We have all that we need - mental precision and clarity will help us to let go of what we don't.
Spicy taste will keep the grief from becoming stagnant in the body."
Organs: Lungs/Large Intestine
Emotion: Grief, Melancholy
Sound (vocal): Crying
Lifestyle | Pruning and Planning, Cleansing and Clearing
The lungs and large intestine may seem like an odd pairing, until you consider that they both play a role in taking in and letting go.
Autumn, as with spring, is a great time to declutter. In spring, this is for the purpose of allowing for new energy and all that brings to come in; in the fall, it’s to pare back to the essentials, so you have space to rest.
~ Pruning the calendar. While summer is expected to be filled with activity, our lives nowadays are no less hectic… between school activities, seasonal festivals, and family gatherings for the holidays. This is a time were we would do better to do less … reserving our energy to stay strong and healthy during the months of decreased movement, fresh air, and sunshine.
The element of Metal is associated with autumn - the element of clarity, precision and sharpening. Use your gift of discernment to carve out space where you are free to breathe and digest.
~ Spice up the diet. As our food preparations may get a little heavier, and digestion and sinuses a little more sluggish, adding in a bit of spice - ginger, garlic, horseradish, wasabi - can support digestion, break up mucus, and give a little boost to the immune system. (But, don’t go overboard… spiciness that opens up the pores can deplete your internal fire that you’ll need in the winter.)
~ Take care of your third lung. In Chinese Medicine, the skin is considered the ‘third lung’. It breathes, and is affected by our breath (or, the air we find ourselves in). Skin conditions can be reflective of poor digestion or other internal imbalances, so be cautious of what you apply topically to treat your skin. It may be tempting to slather on oils and lotions as the air gets dryer - just choose ones with natural and perhaps minimal ingredients. Stay hydrated (and this includes a regular breathing practice); let your body sweat on occasion; wear clothing that lets your skin breathe; try self-massage routines to promote healthy circulation.
Movement Challenges | October
We’re heading into autumn, but still have some delicious, warm days left to us.
Take this time to get out for walks in the fall sunshine, breath deeply, and use any ‘clean-up’ chores to get more movement in!
Choose one (or more!) of the practices below, and tell us how it goes!