As Yang Moves to Yin


As the summer fades into memory, we move from the Late Summer to Autumn. Nights lengthen as we ease into a cooler season. The transition from steady warm summer heat to autumn cool- down is an important one: Honoring this season of transition means caring for the self, body and mind.

Late Summer is a time to relax, share nourishment and laughter, and enjoy the support of family and friends. It is a time to strengthen the system physically, emotionally and spiritually, a time to focus on prevention over reaction. In Chinese medicine, it is considered a time of Earth Element. Earth is associated with routine and the notion of “home.”

Late summer is when gardens need help to prepare for fall. It’s time to remove spent flowers and foliage in order to stimulate new growth and set the stage for late blooming plants. All Chi moves toward the middle, toward Earth and home and center.

At this time of year, the nights become clearer, exposing a beautiful canvas of evening skies. The Celestial Sea is filled with autumn constellations; as we move into winter, the Milky Way unveils rich fields of distant stars.

Our gardens are metaphors, with the vegetables taking nourishment, growing and preparing for harvest. Seasons fade into each other, bound in a cyclical dance of endless movement. Yang is at its height in summer, while Yin is the embodiment of winter. In autumn, Yang shifts to Yin, as spring Yin blooms into Yang.

Autumn prepares us for winter by encouraging Yang to slow into rest. And like a stubborn child, Yang doesn’t always want to slow down. But it must, so we can begin to prepare and plan for the future and allow time and space for thoughts to mature. Winter is a time of stillness and reflection—ideal for contemplation, meditation and gathering and storing energy.

I wish for all of you a good rest as we prepare for autumn harvest and winter stillness.

A walk, yoga practice, or diving into a good book can be good daily routine to get grounded. Every day is a journey, so go feel the Earth under your feet for a bit longer before the weather cools into dark, dense Yin nights. And take a moment to bring your heart home to itself.

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