Yin and Yang: Fade into Autumn

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Posted by Debi Phillpotts

Here on the east coast, summer is winding down its final moments with some days resembling summer weather while others are a chilly preview of what lies ahead. Visually we see the changes occurring in our external world with the leaves changing colors and falling off trees. It makes for a beautiful backdrop mirroring what you’re most likely experiencing within your own internal landscape.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Chinese adopt the Yin and Yang philosophy along with the Five Element Theory as it’s most fundamental concept. The Five Element theory was developed centuries ago (about 500-200 BC) in The Warring States Period by Tsou Yen, founder of The School of Naturalists aka The School of Yin and Yang, which promoted the idea of living in harmony with the natural laws. In short, Yin and Yang are constant opposites striving for balance in relation to our ever-changing cycles of seasons.  Yin constantly changes into Yang and back to Yin again. One might ask how does that translate to our state of being?

Autumn is a three-month period of harvesting, reaping the fruits of the summer, a time to prepare for the protection of winter when energy reaches a state of yin (dark, dense, cold, and rest are characteristic of yin energy). This is a time when Soul and Spirit should be gathered together in order to make the breath of Autumn tranquil. As it is true in nature, it is also true within each of us, a kind of harvesting takes place in our own energies. Consolidation and strengths as well as fragmentations and weaknesses become clear. When the leaves turn vibrant colors that is the signifying point of a cycle where all things begin to conserve and store themselves inside for nourishment while externally life seems to be fading.

Autumn represents the metal element in the Five Element Theory, which tends to be a difficult transition to experience as metal gives the impression of being cold and hard, and not very nourishing. Metal provides us with strength, structure, substance and is the basis for communication. An imbalance in any one of these aspects of metal in the human body could translate as problems in structure itself and the strength within the body-mind-spirit, rigidity of the vertebral column, rheumatic pains, frozen neck or shoulder, specific kinds of headaches, spasms of throat, the esophagus, the limbs, or lack of emotional strength. With that in mind its no wonder that most of us naturally seek out therapies and certain foods and colors in order to ground ourselves during seasonal changes. So be kind to yourself, take notice and acknowledge these changes, align yourself by spending time in nature, calm the mind and spirit with conscious breaths, get more rest and schedule a “tune up” with massage or energy work so you too may enjoy the celebration of Harvest time!

* Excerpts from The Law of the Five Elements/Dianne Connelly, Ph.D.

Photo Credits // 1 Bodi Science // 2 Body Devine Yoga // 3 Blue Butterflies and Me