The Spirit of Fall in Chinese Medicine

A Time of Letting Go and Going Inward


Upon the turning of summer into Fall, we start to gather and collect, harvest and store what we may need in order to stoke the fire for Winter. Though Winter may be still a few months away, in Chinese medicine we always prepare for what lies ahead seasonally, emotionally and physically.

Fall governs the organs of the Lung and Large Intestine in Chinese medicine, as well as the element of Metal. Metal’s elemental nature is for precise perfection, shining like a diamond and emanating self-worth. This is the time to organize, create order, plan, communicate, set boundaries and harvest the growth from the seeds that were planted in Spring. Checking in and meditating on the dreams that were cast and ideas that were created in Spring + Summer, manifesting in their fruition. The expansive Yang playfulness and freedom of sweet Summer starts to fade, as our schedules become more set and we begin to establish our routines and become more grounded and settled, slowly moving into the internal Yin contractive nature of Fall. Fall is the time of taking inventory on the spiritual and physical self. It is a time we begin to go inward. The sun starts to set earlier, we feel the air change and our emotions too.

Grief and letting go are two very important emotions that are energetic undertones for Fall. Both grief and letting go are connected with the Yin organ – the Lung and Yang organ – the Large Intestine. Allowing to take in the “pure Qi of heaven” is the Lung's main function, as well as processing grief. As each breath comes in, it also needs to be allowed to leave. We cannot hold onto our breath or anything permanently since all that might nourish us, also needs to be allowed to nourish others. Just as the leaves on the trees in fall are let-go by the tree, they fall down to the earth and decompose, feeding the soil for the abundance of Spring’s fertile nature.

Letting-go also allows us to shed the unneeded and what may not be serving us, giving us the openness to take in the new. Let this Fall be a time to create new beginnings that empower, uplift and nurture you.  


Tips for incorporating Fall’s Seasonal Wisdom





  • A List of Things to Let Go Of : In your journal or on a piece of paper you can put somewhere special or safe, write a list of things you want to let go of. Before you begin your list, try and sit in mediation for a few moments, setting an intention and maybe even visualizing yourself as a tree, letting go of each thing in the form of a leaf falling to the wind. Try and focus on what may not be serving you, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Visit this list again in Spring and see what grew out of it and what space it opened for other beautiful things to come in.


  • Breath Focused Meditation :  Fall is when the Qi of the Lung is most activated and when we need to connect more to the lungs and breath. It is when they can go out of balance more ( i.e allergies, colds, flu, cough) and it is also the best time to nourish the lungs, to help prevent imbalances both emotionally and physically. Meditations that focus on the breath are very beneficial during the Fall months since filling the lungs with renewed air, while focusing on the breath and calming the mind can help regenerate Lung Qi and aide in deep inner relaxation and healing.


  • Walking Meditation in the Woods : There is no better way to connect with the beauty of Fall, than going for a walk or a hike in the woods. A walking meditation can be just when you focus your mind and awareness to nature and your path. Each step you take, you take with awareness. Taking in the air, the rainbow of colors in the forest, the sounds and smells of nature. We are truly mirrors of nature and when we are in nature, it is easier to attain both balance and free flowing Qi. Go to your closest forest, inhale and let go!



Happy Fall!


Dr. Lauren Dulberg, L.Ac DACM