Breathing in Autumn

Autumn is the season where days slowly get shorter and colder. The leaves begin to change, showing off their beautiful shades before they fall off the trees to prepare for the winter. The chill in the air reminds us to bundle up in our cozy sweaters and scarves so we don’t get sick. It’s the time of year that we change from our relaxed, carefree summer attitudes to a more serious and introspective mindset.

In Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with the lungs. The energy of the lung is “letting go”, just as the trees let go and shed their leaves. In the same way, during autumn, we need to be mindful of anything we may be holding onto, so we can shed our own leaves.

This is especially important because anything unnecessary or harmful that we’re holding onto will affect us physically. When we’re upset, our first reaction is to hold our breath or have rapid, shallow breaths. This keeps all of that built up tension contained in our lungs, which not only affects us physically but psychologically.

Long, deep breaths allow both our bodies and minds to relax, letting go of the tension that was building. Breathing deeply in this way also strengthens our lungs so daily breathing exercises are incredibly important.

Taking walks in autumn allow us to breath in the fresh, cool air while letting us reconnect with nature. Simply being in nature is healing and relaxing, especially with the leaves changing into their beautiful, warm shades.

To continue that healing, it’s important to organize and let go of the old so we can make room for new experiences so we can learn and grow. This means autumn is the perfect time to donate old clothes to a local charities, cleaning out your computer of unnecessary files, and organize our homes. These activities are liberating for our physical space as well as our emotions. They are strengthening to the lungs function of letting go.

However, lungs are still considered to be a delicate organ in Chinese medicine, because of their close relationship with the outside of the body. Due to their fragility, wearing a scarf during the fall season is necessary to protect us from colds, which are said to enter most easily at the neck.

Knowing about the nature of autumn, allows us to know and prepare for our own vulnerabilities during the season. The strengths and weaknesses of our lungs are amplified during fall so we have to slow down and pay close attention to them. Otherwise, we invite in all the sicknesses that people so commonly suffer from during this time. So during this season, try to give your lungs an extra awareness to keep yourself well.

Ginger Tea Recipe to Soothe the Lungs and Throat

  • 1/4 cups grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 teaspoons honey


  • Put the grated ginger into a teapot and pour in the boiling water.
  • Allow the mixture to steep for 4 minutes.
  • Strain and serve the tea with a teaspoon of honey in each cup.
  • Stir and enjoy.

3 thoughts on “Breathing in Autumn

  1. My husband introduced me to it; his family made the ginger & honey tea when he was feeling under the weather. It’s delicious and it really works!

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