In Daoist healthy living, we often say, "Go with the flow." Going with the flow is not just one thing; it is a lifestyle, wisdom, and a holistic way that helps our lives, health, work, events, activities, diet, leadership, learning, relationships, and seasonal changes.

We are happily saying goodbye to Summer, and we are happy to welcome Autumn.

Fall is the season of harvest, a time to pull inward, a time to store up fuel, a time to organize our life and our mind, a time to build our inner strength and inner peace, and a time to prepare for the stillness of winter. 

Our diet, activities, emotions, habits are built up in summer, and our mental attitude also goes with the follow of the seasonal change. By going with this natural flow, we stay healthy physically and emotionally when the harsh winter comes.

Lung Energy

Fall is associated with the lung organ and lung energy. Lung energy is characterized by its ability to consolidate, gather together, maintain strength, and unify against disease at every level, including cellular immunity.

The lung is the main pathway that air and oxygen go through to be distributed to all body parts through the blood vessels. In the human body, oxygen is so vital. Oxygen participates in every metabolic process of the body and energy production process.

Lung and oxygen are essential to maintain a healthy brain. When our lung function is decreased, it affects the adequate amount of oxygen in our body, including the brain.

The symptoms may be forgetfulness, offensive, misplace things, organ disease, poor recovery after surgery, poor recovery after infection, and so much more. Do you ever wonder, "Why do people still suffer from COVID or die even after having a COVID shot?"

The classic Chinese medicine book "Su Wen" stated, "The lung is the canopy of the viscera." The lung is associated with respiratory function, governs qi, and governs fluid regulation and the movement of the qi and blood.

Therefore, the lung has a close relationship with circulatory function. The lung controls the defensive exterior of the body, which protects us from infection of all kinds of viruses and other airborne micro-organisms.

The lung has a close relationship with immune function. The lung receives oxygen from breathing in; the blood carries oxygen to all body parts to maintain normal function and balanced immune system.

With poor breaths or short breaths on a daily basis, you may have low oxygen in your organ system. Your organ system may not work as efficiently or not support each other. You may feel tired, yawning, have brain fog, unable to focus, or develop organ diseases.

This was how qigong was invented: it started with deep breathing. Thousands of years ago, no one knew what qigong was, but one practice of deep breaths felt better, and some even recovered from infection from doing deep breaths regularly.

We modern people somehow lose this common sense from the ongoing stress caused by society, environment, social scheme, and ourselves. What I mean is, it is caused by ourselves. We lack inner strength, which allows our emotions to take over.

Emotional imbalance can also affect lung energy. You are vulnerable to virus or bacterial infection when you have an emotional imbalance. This is why you would catch a cold easily from feeling sadness, or grief after losing someone in your life. It takes a much longer time to recover unless your emotional balance is restored.

Food can also affect lung energy, such as overeating, not enough fiber in your diet, too much dairy, processed food, alcohol, drugs, etc. The symptoms can be weight gain, bloated, diarrhea, shortness of breath, low energy, etc. Starting to take care of our digestive system in the fall is a way to prevent weight gain, obesity, and emotional imbalance.

Here is some suggested practice: small portions, partial vegetarian, high fiber diet, which means eat plenty of vegetables (all kinds), drink enough water, eat warm food such as crockpot food, and use spices in your food. Periodically fasting can help the body get rid of excess toxins and allow our digestive organs to rest once in a while. Some of these spices may be Turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper, onion, hot pepper, cinnamon, cilantro, leek, basil, parsley, etc.

One of the six causes of disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the "Wind." In the fall, there are more windy days. For example, dress warmly during season change, avoiding wind and cold can help to preserve lung energy. Dress warm or in layers when outdoors for hiking or other events also helps maintain lung energy.

How to Catch a Cold

I once had a debate with a friend about how we catch a cold. He insisted it is the virus, nothing else. I point out it is more than just a virus; it is necessary to maintain our immune system and not give the virus a chance to make us sick. Both of us were right, and both need consideration.

It is beneficial to keep a good schedule habit in the fall—go to bed early and get up early. You have better energy for daily activities and work. Unfortunately, younger people are less likely to follow this principle. They may say, "I am tired," but don't know why.

The lung is associated with the nose and skin. Some people start with skin problems; some start with sinus problems, some are asthmatic or have bowel issues. People with these kind of issues should look into strengthening the lung energy through regular qigong practice.

Fall is an excellent time to nurture our lung energy and maintain a strong and balanced lung energy. This is a great time to prevent flu or COVID infection or at least it helps you to recovery much faster from the virus infection. The viruses are everywhere, and it is impossible to avoid. The only defense is our immune system. No matter how many times you had a vaccine shot, you may still be suffering even die if your immune system is poor.

Fall is an important time to start practicing qigong, tai chi, yoga, meditation, and other gentle exercises. These exercises fit perfectly with the season of the fall. You can feel the difference in your strength, balance, attitude, emotion, and the joy of doing these exercises. I highly recommend you start qigong or tai chi practice.

The heavy and fast exercises are good in spring and summer, but not fall season. If you do these exercises, I recommend you do it gently, do not over exert yourself. This helps to avoid injuries or cause harm to the body.

The Yin and the Yang

With a preventive approach, we find a way to live well by following the ancient wisdom of "Going with the Flow." Everything has two sides: the Yin, and the Yang. Going with the flow, we realize the Yin changes to Yang, and the Yang changes to the Yin. Everything turns out to be better eventually.

Maintaining harmony and immunity comes from the diligent practice of keeping our inner balance, smooth qi flow, and emotional stability.

If you have never experienced qigong, here is a simple qigong you can start your daily practice:

– Feet are at shoulder width.

– Slowly inhale, raise your arms in the front of the body above the head;

– Exhale slowly move palms down in the front of the body.

– Repeat this ten times.

Good luck with your practice of "qi."

The above is an original article by Dr. Aihan Kuhn, published in her Natural Healing Newsletter fall 2021.