What’s the best type of exercise to stay healthy this autumn? Is it walking outside? Strength training? Meditative breathing? While all of these forms of exercise and many others are helpful to maintain health and prevent illness, the answer to this question may have been provided thousands of years ago.
Around 240 B.C., humans discovered ways of harmonizing with each season to prevent illness, maintain health and achieve longevity. In so doing, they documented several of these keys, principles, and philosophies to support the preservation of health and healing that are still relevant, and sometimes neglected, today.
The documented insights of the ancients took the shape of the essential text of Chinese Health and Healing called the Neijing Suwen or Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine. This classic text reveals many insights to health and longevity and some of them touch upon the importance of adapting to seasonal changes.
With autumn approaching, I’d like to share an excerpt (translated by Maoshing Ni, Shambala Publications ISBN 1-57062-080-6 © 1995, further edited by Paul Farago) that may offer some healthful tips for you this coming fall.
Here’s the brief excerpt:
In the months of Fall all things in nature reach their full maturity. The grains ripen and harvesting occurs. The Heavenly energy cools, as does the weather. The wind begins to stir.
This is the changing or pivoting point when the active phase (yang) turns into its opposite, the passive phase (yin).
One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn.
Just as the weather in Fall turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from excess sadness 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 full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance Lung qi. Also, one should refrain from grief, the emotion of the Lung. This will prevent 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 Winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in Winter.