Everything in the Universe is energy, and energy takes two fundamental forms: Yin and Yang. The five seasons shift between these two states throughout the year. The recent Autumn equinox marks the beginning of the full switch over from Yang to Yin. Now the days become shorter and nights become longer. This change in the amount of light has a profound effect on the biology and reproduction of animals, plants and humans. The Chinese celebrate this special time of transition by taking off work to gather with their families, light lanterns, enjoy moon cakes and gaze at the light of the full moon. Their prayers and intentions are made to ensure a fruitful harvest, for tomorrow the moon will wane, and yin will prevail.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
-Lao Tzu

Autumn is the time of year when nature is letting go. Leaves are falling, earth is tilling and going inward preparing for winter. So it's a good time to support our own energy and fortify the immune system. Spiritually, it's a special time to ask ourselves who we are and release anything that is preventing us from expressing our authentic selves.

During this period, we can use the seasonal energy to support and focus our qi cultivation practice. In the Five Element Phases of Traditional Chinese Medicine, autumn expresses the metal element. The metal phase of energy is characterized by solidification, a descending energy. Therefore, the best qigong practices to cultivate during this time of year are those that balance and nourish the metal element.

Digestive system

Physically, autumn qigong practices focus on the organs of the metal element: the lungs and large intestine.

The lungs are the commanders of qi. Every vital system and tissue in the body depends on the lungs; they are where we take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide gas. Qigong exercises for autumn focus on building the qi in the lungs and respiratory system through breathing methods, opening the chest and nourishing the lung meridian. To prepare for the upcoming winter, it also important to boost the immune system and regulate the wei qi field. My new Qigong Flow for Happy Lungs is designed to purge, tonify and circulate qi through the lungs and support the immune system.

Emotionally our qigong will focus on transforming sadness or grief into inspiration and presence.

If you ever read Chinese poetry about autumn season it's always so sad and involves weeping. In fact, weeping is an expression of the metal element. Letting go is not always easy and requires release. During autumn, depending on our disposition, the metal element is more prone to move out of harmony. When our internal metal element is deficient, emotional energy moves towards depression and sadness. If our internal metal element is excessive, we become stiff, inflexible, judgmental, and even cruel.  A balanced metal element is like a virtuous warrior with a strong welded sword; full of courage, righteous, and able to act at any moment. Often emotional imbalance in the metal element arises from resistance to the flow of life, especially at times of transition or loss. Resistance to change commonly manifests this time of year in seasonal allergies, seasonal flu and moodiness. Maintaining a daily practice of self-love through our qigong and yoga is a perfect way to remind our soul that the present moment has everything we need. Suggested practices to transform emotional energy and cultivate loving kindness are the Six Healing Sounds and Qigong Flow for Stress and Anxiety Relief. 


Spiritually, autumn supports your ability to release and let go.

Life is a dynamic interplay of participation. Autumn teaches us how to "let go and go with the flow." When we resist letting go, the result is an accumulation of acquired qi. We acquire external qi from spaces, people, situations, sex and food. We also hold on to internal qi through our beliefs, judgements, experiences, traumas and emotions. Like old leaves falling from the trees, autumn's energy supports letting go of what doesn't serve us and letting go of acquired qi, so our authentic self can shine. 

The above is an excerpt from the DVD, Qigong Flow for Happy Lungs by Marisa Cranfill, YMAA Publication Center, Pub Date October 1, 2020, ISBN 9781594397011.