Lì Qiū: The Ancient Chinese Autumn

 In The Seasons

Preparing for each season is one of the oldest forms of preventative medicine, and once they have arrived, well-being and inner peace come from harmonizing with them.  The 13th term in the Ancient Chinese Solar Calendar begins on Saturday, August 7, 2021. Lì Qiū 立秋, marks the end of the solar term Major Heat and the beginning of autumn.

It does not however mean that the hot weather is finished with us. In fact, the next 30 day period of hot days are referred to as the “Autumn Tiger” and are typically more sweltering than those in Major Heat.

While according to Chinese records this time is said to have extreme heat, it also means that the harvest season approaches, and for this we can be grateful. Let us look at the meaning of Lì Qiū:

立 Lì : Begins or Commences
秋 qiu: autumn; consists of two parts, he (禾, rice) and huo (火, fire) – the ripening of rice.

 

Lì Qiū (Autumn) According to the Ancients

“Go to bed early and get up with the chickens. This will cause all mental faculties to become calm and peaceful, and moderate the downward blow of autumn. Reel in your mental energy to be in harmony with the condensing quality of autumn Qi. Do not disperse your energies, and the lung Qi will be clear. This is the way of nourishing life in accordance with the nourishing and constricting Qi of the autumnal harvest season. Going against these principles will harm the lung network, eventually causing diarrhea in winter, when things should really be in a state of storage rather than leakage. The Qi of Autumn is dry, and so it is advisable to consume some moistening sesame to counteract the dryness. Avoid cold drinks, and do not wear damp and cold clothing close to your skin.”

黃帝內經 Haungdi Neijing Su Wen

“This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy free, full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of lung. This will prevent the kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in the winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.”

黃帝內經 Haungdi Neijing Su Wen

Lì Qiū (Autumn) Indications

In Ancient Chinese Medicine, autumn starts the phase of Yin energy.  It corresponds with the Metal element which represents the lungs, the large intestine and the skin organs.

During this time, slowing down, focusing on what we have accomplished and unburdening ourselves by letting go of that which no longer serves us is recommended. Just like processes are happening in nature, we should also begin our gradual transition from the expansive growth of spring and summer to the introspective expression of fall and winter.

The Metal element is associated with the nose, the emotions of courage and sadness, the color white, and the sound of weeping. Likewise, the climate is dry, the season is ripening and ready for harvest, and the taste is pungent.

According to Ancient Chinese Medicine, autumn and winter are for the nourishment of the Yin Qi. Focus on self-nurturing and maintain your inner peace.

Common symptoms associated with lung and large intestine imbalances are respiratory issues, sinus infections, as well as, constipation, and dry skin problems. Now is the prime time to put prevention in high gear and focus on boosting your Zheng Qi as well as safe guarding your emotional wellness!

Make sure you step outside and breathe in the fresh air as well as get your daily sunlight during the SAFE hours of the day. Remember that the moment your body feels thirst, it has already entered into a dehydration stage. Prevent that from happening by drinking water.

“Remember, you are basically a houseplant with complicated emotions.”

Strengthen and enhance your overall endurance with coordinated breathing and Dao Yin principle based exercises from ancient times. Breathe!

And remember, sleep allows your body time to repair and heal.

Yíngyǎng (营养) Nutritional Corner – The Ancient Chinese Autumn

It is recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine to transition from cold and uncooked foods to more warm and cooked foods during the autumn months.

If you are a Yang Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:

 

  • Pomelo
  • Loquat
  • Kumquat
  • Star Fruit
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Olives
  • Grapefruit

If you are a Yin Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:

 

  • Pumpkin
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Grapes
  • Bell Pepper
  • Butternut Squash
  • Acorn Squash
  • Pineapple

A Note From Jiao Shi

As we transition from the time of dà shǔ 大暑 (Major Heat) into the qiū fēn 秋分 (Autumn Equinox), the days will still get hotter and hotter. It is very important to protect yourself from the increasing heat and make sure that you hydrate with the fruits that were covered in the last few episodes of Jammin’ with Jiao Shi.

These cycles have been ebbing and flowing for the last 6,000 years, so this being the hottest point of the year is nothing new. May you continue to balance and harmonize yourself as we transition from late summer to autumn.

Jiao Shi

 

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