Chapter 2 of the Han Dynasty Chinese medical philosophy & acupuncture text the “Suwen” discusses the essence of living in accordance with the four seasons. In this chapter titled ‘The Art of Living through the Four Seasons’ the energetics of the seasons are discussed and practical advice is given on how one can move and live in accordance with this timely universal energy. In doing so, environment and physiology are aligned and disease will find no abode to dwell.
Thus, in the following paragraphs I will share the legacy that the classical acupuncturists have left for us to interpret and implement into our everyday lives.
Let us begin with the season spring, the three months of spring bring with it the revitalisation of all natural phenomena. It is the time of birth, growth and rebirth. It is during the season of spring that the classical acupuncturists advise us to retire early and awake early. Begin the day with an early morning walk to gently engage and loosen up the body whilst absorbing the rejuvenating universal energy. In essence, we should endeavour to be open, unsuppressed, and flexible in both body and mind, as the universal energy of spring in conducive to this. Wear loose fitting clothing and engage in stretching exercises to loosen up the tendons and muscles. Emotionally, spring is the perfect time to develop equanimity and not to dwell in anger, jealousy and frustration, but rather cultivate flexibility & openness.
The three months of summer bring an abundance of sunshine, the heavens descend there virtue and the earth rises to receive. The interloping of these energies brings plant life to a state of maturity & entices animal life to appear in abundance. The classical acupuncturists stated that one can retire somewhat later in the summer months, yet still arise early. They encourage us to refrain from anger and to stay physically active and engaging to prevent stagnation of our own energetic flow. One should not over-indulge in sex, however due to the universal energies being in a conducive state, it is fine to indulge more than in the other seasons. In essence, be free and flowing and do not ‘hold’ onto anything that will cause stagnation of body, mind or spirit.
Autumn brings all natural phenomena to the peak of maturity with grains ripening and harvesting occurring. It is the point of transition where upmost yang begins to shift to generating yin. The heavenly energy begins to cool & the wind begins to stir. One should arise with the dawn of the new day and retire with the setting of the sun. As the weather begins to turn harsher to prepare us for winter, it is important to stay peaceful in ourselves so as our emotional climate does not enter into a depressed state. It is of paramount importance to keep the lungs clean and to practice breathing exercises to ventilate our desires and calm the mind. This will allow for an unhindered transition to winter.
Hibernation, rest, retire, wither… winter is the time yin is at its most abundant. Retire early and get up to great the rising sun. Do not over engage in physical activity and exercise, but rather conserve your energy as if holding a precious secret. Stay warm, avoid the cold and keep the pores closed. Conservation is the essence of winter.
Thus the ‘full’ cycle can be seen…
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Giancarlo Nerini – Acupuncturist (Melbourne CBD)