Find the Flow in Autumn

autumn trees

The flow of energy in autumn is from outside to inside and then downward to the center.


According to Chinese medicine’s Five Phase theory, Autumn is the “Metal Phase”. It’s the season to nurture the health of the Lung Network and to enhance the natural force of Descending Qi. The Lung Network is a group of physical, mental, emotional and environmental attributes that influence each other to form a fundamental aspect of your life. Some of the factors in the Lung Network are: lungs and their functions, the large intestine, the skin, gathering yin qi, sense of smell, the color white, the emotion of grief, the virtue of courage, autumn season, downward growing vegetables, pungent flavor, and more. If these diverse but interlinked elements are healthy and energetically balanced you will stride through this season with vigor, ease, good health and a sense of fulfillment.

Within the ceaseless recycling of yin and yang, the season when the Qi descends throughout nature is called Gathering Yin. After the climax and scattering of summer’s Yang Qi, nature retrieves the essential qi from the world and brings it downward for storage and gestation. We can purposefully gather the Yin Qi with specific qigong exercises, breathing meditations, and a diet emphasizing appropriate foods and herbs for this Phase.

The Metal Phase empowers us to cut through illusions of identity, to eliminate mental distractions, and rein in the hyperactivity of summer. As days grow shorter, you would do well to make decisions regarding the direction of your life. Are you happy, healthy and content with the way things are? Or do you have doubts about relationships, material things, jobs, locations, careers? Does there seem to be a sense that things could, and should, be better? The Metal Phase is the best time to consider choices and make changes that lead to a healthy and meaningful life. The Autumn Qigong practice combines specific qigong exercises, breathing meditations, and appropriate foods and herbs that will keep you in tune with the primordial energy of nature.