Autumn, Season of Harvest

Fall is the time of transition between the extremes of summer and winter. We should be preparing for winter and enjoying the fruits of our labors as the year closes. Thinking this way attunes us the patterns of nature, easing our way through the world. In health maintenance and spiritual cultivation this calls for a combination of releasing the excesses of summer through relaxing movement and preparing to settle down, conserving energy for winter. How smoothly will you transition to winter this year?


Autumn stresses the Lung and Large Intestine, together known as the Metal Element in the 5-Element theory of traditional Chinese philosophy. This is why your lower back, neck and shoulder pain returns at this time of year. Constipation, asthma, and recurrent bronchitis is more likely. The lung dominates our body’s energy. It is the “commander of our qi” in the classics of traditional Chinese medicine. As we breathe so shall we live. The Chinese have an aphorism, “The true man breathes from the heels”. Qigong or Chinese yoga helps us understand the meaning of this. Conversely, they say “A man on his deathbed breaths from his throat”.


This is a time to tend to relationships. When metal is imbalanced, intimacy can suffer. This because metal relates to attachment. Weakened, it manifests as depersonalization and interpersonal distance. The drive to bond can diminish. Too strong and zealous behavior can result.


On the emotional plane grief is associated with metal. Observe people mourning at a funeral. They hemorrhage energy from their nose. The nose is the sensory organ (eyes, ears, nose, tongue) that is associated with the lung. Grief is due to ruptured attachments. The goo