As the days grow shorter and autumn moves closer, most of us start to feel the energetic shift that comes with the changing seasons.
For me, autumn is a time to release things that no longer serve me. As the leaves turn colour and start to fall, it feels like the right time to see what I can let go of in my own life.
But September is also a time for fresh starts. The shifting seasons give us a new lease of life. Even as adults, we can get that back-to-school feeling that has us embracing new things.
To help you get the most from the energetic changes that autumn brings, I met with Gua Sha expert, Katie Blake, and Chinese Medicine practitioner, Katie Brindle, both from Hayo’u Method, on Instagram to share our favourite wellness tips for this time of year.
If you’ve been around for a while, Katie Brindle and Katie Blake will be familiar faces. They share my passion for empowering others through their knowledge of holistic health and wellness. Whenever we get together, you know there will be plenty of wonderful advice to help you on your own journey.
If you missed the live, you can catch up with our full conversation via my YouTube channel.
Katie Brindle explained that autumn is the season of the lungs and large intestine in traditional Chinese medicine. She and Katie Blake shared some of their favourite Gua Sha techniques for this time of year. And we also talked about some more general wellness tips you can use to embrace the energy of the autumn season and take care of yourself, inside and out.
1. Switch Up Your Skincare Routine
As the weather grows colder, our skin usually needs more moisture. Plus, as Katie Brindle says, autumn is the season of the lungs, and our skin acts as a second lung. So, this is an excellent time to review your skincare routine and change things up for the new season.
Exactly what you need will depend on your unique skin type. But autumn and winter can be very drying, so most people will want to take extra care to moisturise.
Face yoga and Gua Sha are brilliant at any time of year, but especially in the autumn and winter as they help products to penetrate more deeply into our skin. If you aren’t already using these techniques as part of your daily routine, now is the time to start.
For those who are already practising Face Yoga and/or Gua Sha, you might want to use the new season as an opportunity to try new techniques. Even just one or two small changes to your usual routine can benefit your skin and help you gain confidence in using different methods.
2. Gua Sha for the Lungs
During the colder months, Katie Blake says she likes to slow her Gua Sha moves right down, helping products penetrate more deeply into the skin. She works a lot with the chest area and acupressure points relating to the lungs and large intestines, the organs associated with autumn.
She shared a gua sha technique that targets the chest and lungs. Use the longer concave edge of your tool to work with lymphatic drainage. Take the tool down one side of your neck and then the other in a long, smooth movement.
Then, move to your chest area. Smooth the tool outwards from the centre of your chest to the acupressure point at the start of the lung meridian, just below where your collarbone meets your shoulder. When you reach this point, give the tool a little wiggle.
Repeat this several times on both sides of the chest.
3. Gua Sha for the Large Intestine
In traditional Chinese medicine, the organs are paired. While the lungs are the Yin organ associated with autumn, the Yang organ is the large intestines.
One of Katie Brindle’s favourite gua sha techniques for this time of year focuses on the last acupressure point of the large intestine meridian, located just to the side of your nose.
Use a Gua Sha tool for this if you have one. If you don’t, the tips of your index fingers will work too. Take the tool to the acupressure point and use a small circular motion to massage the point. Energy moves in circles, so this helps to get it unblocked and flowing freely.
Ideally, use two gua sha tools so that you can massage both points at the same time.
Move down from this point along the nasolabial fold, still using the same tiny circular movement. Then, come along the line of the lips too.
Of course, I couldn’t talk about wellness tips for the season relating to the lungs without reminding you of the importance of the breath. It is amazing how many of us go for days, weeks, or even months without taking a full, deep breath.
This autumn, focus on spending at least one to five minutes a day concentrating on your breath. Take a deep, long inhale through your nose, filling your lungs. Then release the breath through your nose or mouth.
As you breathe, have a sense of letting go of the things that no longer serve you. Whatever you have been holding onto, autumn is a time of shedding, so you can let it go to make space for new things.
5. Shift Your Bedtime Earlier
At this time of year, the best routine is to get up late and go to bed early. This is a shift from the summer when we should be getting up early and going to bed a little later (not past 11 pm though!)
Realistically, few of us can manage to get up any later. Family and work commitments mean our mornings are already hectic, so we can’t spare the extra time in bed. All three of us are working mothers, and we know exactly how busy mornings can be.
Where we can make changes is at bedtime. Resist the urge to watch one last episode of Netflix. Instead, make it a priority to start your bedtime routine earlier, so you can be in bed earlier too.
Moving your bedtime earlier during the darker months will make it much easier to get up the next morning.
6. Learn New Skills
Even as grown-ups, September recalls that sense of a new school year beginning. For parents, having children return to school after the summer might free up some time to concentrate on their own learning.
In traditional Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with the element of metal. This element is about our higher self, truth, and inspiration. This makes autumn an ideal time to learn new skills or dive deep into new areas of knowledge.
Metal is also associated with letting go. Autumn is always a time to reflect on our lives, but especially this year after the upheavals of the past 18 months.
Many people, especially women, are feeling called to change their lives and get rid of old ways of being. We’re no longer prepared to accept a life and career that don’t serve our soul purpose.
Katie Brindle, Katie Blake, and I have all developed careers that align with our soul purposes. And we feel passionate about supporting others on their own journeys to a soulful life.
One example is the facial gua sha teacher training course that we developed together. It launched earlier this year and gives you a monetizable skill that you can use to build a career doing something you love.
The course is taught entirely through distance learning, and you can follow it at your own pace. It is led by Katie Blake, who uses her expertise in gua sha to guide you. And there’s a growing community of people enrolled in the course who share inspiration, ideas, and learning through the Facebook group and the group Zoom calls that Katie hosts.
You can find out more about the facial gua sha teacher training here. You can also follow the Face Yoga Teacher Training Instagram page for more facial gua sha, face yoga, and wellness tips, including weekly lives with Katie Blake.