Ancient Chinese practioners believed that certain daily practices align with the natural cycles of the seasons to keep us healthy and balanced. In Autumn, the leaves begin to change colors and fall to the ground. The last remaining harvest from summer’s bounty is collected. Everything is going back to the earth and the energy is pulling inward. In chinese medicine, Autumn is the season of grieving and letting go so we too can pull our energy inward and prepare for the winter ahead.
Here are five practices for letting go this season:
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathing in its very nature is a constant cycle of letting go. Need a breathing exercise to bring your energy back to your center? Practice Ujjayi. This breath, known as the victorious breath to yogis focuses on the equanimity of the inhale and exhale. Inhale slowly through your nose. When you exhale, open your mouth and make the “HHHAAA” sound. On the next breath, concentrate on making the same sound with your mouth close. It may sound like a hiss as your vocal cords rub together. Focus on the breath and eventually the inhale and exhale will be balanced and of the same duration.
De-clutter your space
Clutter disrupts our energy and can drain us. Stacks of paper, clothing we don’t wear and “stuff” we don’t need or use can make us stagnant. But the process of de-cluttering can be an emotional and overwhelming experience for some. That is why it is important to begin small. Start with a drawer or a shelf in a closet. Or, if you like a challenge, then challenge yourself to get rid of five things per day for one week. Donate, repurpose or dispose of items you simply do not need. Begin to let go – of the stuff and the emotions we tie up with it.
Devote some time this season to physical health! Now is a great time to focus on clean eating. A cleansing diet can help remove toxins from our body. Eliminating waste and detoxifying allows the energy to flow through the body uninterrupted; enhancing our immune system, increasing balance within and improving one’s overall quality of life. Perhaps eliminating sugar or caffeine will be enough for you or maybe you want to do a more rigorous detox. Before beginning, contact a trusted professional to see what program might be right for you. Fall is also a great time to eat warmer foods like soups, stews or streamed vegetables.
Try this recipe as part of a detox diet:
Warm Kale & Squash Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 people
- 1 large purple turnip, washed, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
- 1/2 acorn squash, washed, seeded, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
- 1/2 small butternut squash, washed, seeded, diced into 1/2″ cubes w/ skin
- 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil (for baking)
- 1/2 head of kale, spine removed & sliced paper thin crosswise
- 1/2 head of Lacinto Kale, spine removed & sliced paper thin crosswise
- 1 Tbsp. each, raw pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, crushed pecans
- 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
- 1 Tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced small
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the diced turnip, acorn and butternut squash in a large baking tray.
- Cover with 1-2 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil, mix until coated and top with sea salt and pepper.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking and turning over halfway through. When the veggies are baked, place them in a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, mix well making sure everything is coated with the fresh olive oil.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
Buddha once said, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Does the anger or resentment you’re holding onto serve a purpose? If not, let it go. Are you carrying a negative emotion with you on your journey? Let go. This is easier said than done for most but ask yourself- does this emotion serve a purpose in allowing me to live the life I want? Sit with your feeling. Understand why it is there. If you cannot change the circumstance surrounding it, then let it go. For some, this may be a tangible exercise. Write your feelings on a piece of paper and then tear it up and throw it away. For others, forgiveness may be the way to let go. Whatever your circumstance, find a way to grieve and move on.
If our energy is blocked, we may hold on to emotions that do not serve us well. Get a tune-up! Acupuncture can help redirect that energy to help us let go.