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The Energetics of Fall

by Gretchen Belenchia

The Energetics of Fall, Cloud Gate Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Broomfield, ColoradoToday I’m going to share with you a basic truth, and the truth is this:

Living with the seasons will make you healthier and happier.

And I don’t just mean eating with the seasons (which is also very important), but also living energetically with the seasons. This is a huge topic – one that cannot possibly be addressed in a short blog.

But I will seek to provide you with the basic energetics of Fall, which officially began on Sunday, September 22. If you are able to grasp the general flow of energy during this time, it may positively influence your day-to-day activities and how you interact with nature and your environment. Thus making you healthier and happier.

The beginning of Fall is important in Chinese Medicine because it signifies the beginning of the Yin part of the year. If you are unfamiliar with some of the general characteristics of Yin and Yang, I’ve listed a few Yin and Yang relationships below:

Cloud Gate offers Acupuncture in Broomfield, ColoradoYang                Yin
Brightness         Darkness
Activity             Rest
Heat                 Cold
Expansion        Contraction
Restless             Quiet
Fire                    Water

So when I mention that we are moving into the Yin part of the year, maybe it will make more sense to you now.

During Fall:

  • The days are getting shorter (darkness is growing)
  • Nature generally has a contracting quality as the energy moves inward and down into the roots (as seen when trees lose their leaves)
  • The days get colder 
  • Fall and winter generally tend to be more quiet and still

Now, keep in mind the general qualities of the yin part of the year. Let’s take these qualities and describe them in relationship to our lives – because we are, after all, a part of, not apart from nature.

When nature goes through cycles, we too are a part of these cycles and they impact our lives, whether we are aware of them or not.

In Chinese Medicine, Fall has an inward-moving or contraction-like quality in its direction of energy flow. Spring and summer both have an expansion or outward movement of energy.

Once you are aware of the general energetic pattern of the year, you can use this energy to your advantage.

Most of us actually do this everyday. We get up with the sun, accomplish our activities and generally sleep during the most yin time of the 24-hour cycle. The sunset and nighttime correspond to fall and winter in the larger context of the year. Now ask yourself, how many of us are resting or decreasing our activity levels during the Fall and Winter time of year? 

Right now we have the contraction of energy. This is not a bad thing. There are appropriate times to be more active or less active during the course of the year.

My philosophy is one of wanting to work with the energy of nature and the cycles of nature. I believe that working with and respecting these cycles can make us healthier and happier.

This contraction of energy in the Fall provides the framework for harvesting, nourishing, and introspection – a time to store up for the stillness (and even more yin time) that is winter. Tend to yourself; tend to your home and hearth. Make sure everything is in order after the relative chaos of summer.

Check in with yourself – if you still feel as if you’re being pulled in 100 different directions, it may be time to look closely at all of your (and your family’s) activities. Pick the ones that are most beneficial to all of you and let go of the other ones for now. Summer is the time to pack a lot of activities into your schedule.

Now is not the time to use up all of your energy. Now is the time to start to store it so that it will last through the winter. Don’t exhaust yourself during the yin part of the year.

Going back to the 24-hour cycle: those of us who stay up all night doing various activities may find it very difficult, especially as we get older, to find the energy to get up the next day. This corresponds to the yearly cycle as well.

If we don’t change our activity level during the fall and winter, we may find that we eventually develop year-round fatigue.

We may be so full of yang when we’re young that we can pack a lot into fall and winter and run around like many of us do. But as we get older, it may be wise of us to look around and follow nature’s example.

Slow down, conserve your energy. Embrace the chance to be still for a while. Live with the seasons – if only resting in the hope that you’ll be healthier, happier and that much more of an energetic badass come spring.