Chinese Autumn by Mary Irvine


‘Ancient Chinese philosophy says humans should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment.’

A preparation for winter, a time to reflect and organize your life, a time to pay attention to the lungs and large intestine, for they deal with the process of purification and elimination. The lungs take in oxygen.

We expel carbon dioxide through breathing. Meditation with controlled breathing is beneficial. Protect the lungs against the wind and increasing cold by wearing warm clothing. As the nose is the opening to the lungs it and the sinuses must be kept clear. Acupuncture can alleviate any blockage here.

The large intestine absorbs water from indigestible food, passing this waste from the body.Metal is Autumn’s element so we must keep this in balance. As we prepare for the cold ahead eat warming food. Eating cold foods or too many dairy products can lead to a build-up of phlegm which is stored by the lungs. Root vegetables, meat, fish, flavoured with ginger, cayenne or curry, thick skinned fruits help a healthy digestion and elimination.

We should also assess our sleeping habits. As metal is associated with late afternoon and evening this is when we need to relax, a winding down in preparation for sleep. The old idea of going to bed at sunset and rising at sunrise may have more to do with awareness of the health benefits of natural light than with the lack of electricity!

Chinese Winter

Ancient Chinese philosophy says humans should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold darkness of winter tells us slow down, a time to think about health, restore our energy, reserve strength. Winter is Yin, inactive, cold, damp. Be quiet. Build up your Qi ready for the new life of Spring. Winter is ruled by the water element, associated mainly with kidneys and bladder. Our body energy comes from the kidneys. They store all the reserve Chi in the body, to be used in times of stress and change, to heal, prevent illness and age gracefully.

During winter it is important to nurture and nourish our kidney Qi, a time where this energy can be most easily depleted. Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter – rest, reflection, conservation and storage.
Winter is a time when many people tend to reduce their activity so it’s wise to reduce the amount you eat, to avoid gaining weight unnecessarily. Avoid raw foods as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body.

Winter is for warming foods: Soups, stews, root vegetables, beans, seaweed, garlic and ginger. Eating warm, hearty soups, whole grains and roasted nuts help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished. Sleep early, rest well, rise late – after the sun’s rays have warmed the atmosphere a bit – stay warm, and expend a minimum quantity of energy.

Above all keep the kidneys warm.

Mary Irvine
(Mary Irvine’s Blog: Writer and Philhellene)

Corn Dollies by Mary Irvine
The Last Leaf - a poem for Autumn by Catriona Malan

This section: Poems and Stories for Autumn, stories and poems

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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