Autumn Wellness Practices

Autumn Wellness Practices

In the early phases of learning Chinese medicine, I was taught that our bodies are integrated with nature and to adapt our behaviors in response to the seasons. As the weather grows colder in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to embrace more yin practices for a healthy autumn.

During this time, we shift from the yang energy of summer into a slower yin space that calls us inward. Autumn is about accepting what fortifies us, processing grief, letting go of what no longer serves, and deep nourishment in preparation for the winter. 

Here are several restorative autumn practices that we can lean into:

  1. Unwind and settle in for the evening at sunset and wake up at dawn. Living according to the seasons is widely emphasized in East Asian medicine. Fall is considered more yin, so naturally, we crave more rest in preparation for a more active spring and summer. Honor the needs of your body. It’s okay and right in tune with the season to feel more indrawn and take breaks.
  2. Organize your home and establish routines that encourage focus and ease. This time asks us to develop practices around having regular meals, sleep, and exercise. In doing so, the body’s constitution is supported, giving way to a more robust immune system.
  3. Engage in daily movement and exercise to increase the strength and function of the respiratory system.
  4. Let go of what no longer serves – household items, habits you no longer wish to engage in, or relationships from which you are ready to move on from. Make a date to intentionally clean your space, donate items, or discard what is in excess. Express appreciation for these items, practices, or relationships and reflect on lessons you have gained.
  5. Create space to process grief and sadness. Gently explore these states with curiosity rather than resisting or ignoring them. More ease, courage, and understanding can become available when we create this space.
  6. Breathe more consciously. Observe breathing exercises like box breathing, deep belly breaths, or pranayama to enhance lung qi, open the airways, and allow oxygen to flow freely to stimulate the vagus nerve, reduce anxiety, and increase clarity.
  7. Enjoy yin-nourishing, hydrating, and seasonal whole foods such as cauliflower, onion, parsnip, mushrooms, apples, pears, and honey.
  8. Opt for warm beverages, soups, and stews as the weather grows colder.Gradually transitioning from cooling summer salads and iced drinks to heartier dishes can help nourish and fortify our bodies.
  9. Drink plenty of warm fluids such as bone broth and herbal teas like ginger, cinnamon, and hibiscus. Fall is associated with dryness in Chinese Medicine. Keeping our bodies well-hydrated supports our lung yin, decreasing susceptibility to coughs and allergies.
  10. Keep your neck, low back, and feet warm. To avoid catching a cold this season, dress in layers and carry a sweater. Fall is prone to fluctuating temperatures. The shifts between warm and cold can strain our immune system and lead to muscle tension, headaches, or the common cold.
  11. Come in for a series of acupuncture appointments or an herbal consultation to boost your immunity, improve your mood, and decrease stress for the upcoming winter and holidays. Yu Ping Feng San, or Jade Windscreen, is an essential formula for this season, especially if you are prone to catching colds. This herbal supplement has been used in East Asian medicine for centuries to support and enrich our immune system.

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