To really fold into the slowing down of the season of Fall, try to take as many walks in nature as you can muster. This will help you truly tune in to the Autumn energetics and reap some health benefits to boot. Recently, researchers have started to look at the physical and psychological benefits of nature-based walking. Studies have shown that walks among the trees helps to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease heart rate
- Lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory agents
- Improve mood and cognitive abilities
- Improve immune function
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, a walk outside is one of the best things we can do to strengthen the Lungs, which just so happens to be the corresponding organ of Fall. And what better time to walk in nature? The ground we walk on is now a carpet of Mother Nature’s confetti (fallen leaves), creating a satisfying crunch with each step. The trees are beginning to burst with vibrant color. And perhaps most importantly, the air has become clean and cool, the smells are warm and intoxicating. It’s almost as if the season itself is enticing us to breathe in deeply and slowly – to inhale not only an abundance of air, but also the beauty all around us. Those deep breaths are a treat for our lungs.
Fall: The Season of the Lungs and Large Intestine
The Lungs, considered a yin organ, are associated with taking in the new. Emotionally, the Lungs coincide with grief, sadness and attachment. When these emotions are left unprocessed, they can stagnate the lung channel. However, when lung energy is flowing and balanced, one can experience enhanced clarity of thought, positive self-image and allow inner peace and joy regardless of circumstances.
Consider breathing in deeply on your walk, taking in every detail of your environment and embracing your current state of being. To help process your emotions: on the inhale, notice how you feel without judgement. On your exhale, release and let it go. You can even bring a bit of intentional thought to your breath with a mantra.
The other organ associated with Fall is the Large Intestine. This yang organ helps to release the old and is associated with how we flow with what life delivers. When the Large Intestine channel is blocked, we may notice an inability to let go, uptightness, stubbornness, stagnation and a negative outlook. However, when the Large Intestine energy is flowing and balanced, there can be an increased sense of relaxation, an ability to release what no longer serves and better flow and flexibility with life, in general.
With each step of your walk, allow yourself to let go of the stresses of modern life, embrace the gift of nature’s beauty, and release any tightness in your body and mind. To connect with a sense of flow and calm, try a walk near water.