Align Yourself With the Summer Season

With the arrival of June, we have transitioned into summer territory!

(here in the UK we decided to skip spring this year).

Surprisingly, Yin yoga is the perfect practice to compliment a busy summer calendar.
Balancing our energy and encouraging us to turn inwards counteracts the late nights & lust for life that post-lockdown summer has brought.

The season of summer (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)) is associated with the element of Fire and the organs of the Heart and Small Intestine.

In many world mythologies, Fire is the symbol of divinity, transformation and passion. It is also a potent symbol of destruction and purification. After a devastating forest fire, nutrients from dead trees return to the soil and the charred remnants of burned trees provide incredible growing habitats for insects and small wildlife to re-grow stronger than before.

In the Five Element Theory (a part of TCM), the Fire phase describes the phase of peak power, so anything at its most active point. This is the season of celebration and joy. However, what's important to recognise is that this Fire phase has a direct connection to the phases that precede it in the cycle.

Fire must burn something up, so it's only as powerful as the potential that was stored in the Water (Winter season). The Wood (Spring season) provides the fuel which Fire burns. Peak potential can only arise when stored reserves are rich and abundant. There might be a season where you feel at your optimal, your favourite season, however it is the harmonious balance of all the seasons that help you make the most of life.

The heart is considered as the 'king' of the organs by TCM. This is due to the vital role it plays in controlling our circulation and distribution of blood, and the consequent dependence of all other organs on it for good health. It is also said to house the body’s spirit and therefore plays an integral role in our emotional world.

The small intestine sorts the pure from the impure matter that it receives from the stomach, assimilating the necessary nutrients, and passing on anything unnecessary to the large intestine to be eliminated.

What I love about TCM is that body and its parts play more than their anatomical functions and all have energetic functions!

The balanced flow of chi through the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians is associated with the feeling of joy and enthusiasm for life. Our ability to balance vulnerability and resilience results in balanced and healthy emotional state which means we can build healthy relationships.

Conversely, when the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians are unbalanced, we may feel disconnected and cold. We may experience sadness, issues with our circulation and feel turned off from life.

Fire element tends towards excess in the summer but it can also be excess at other times of year due to stress, illness and overwork. In these cases, you need to tame your fire!

So what can you do to tame the excess Fire?
  • Take care of what you eat:
Fire can be controlled by eating food associated with its flavour, which is bitterness. Your summer menu should be varied with meals that are light and bright. Plenty of fruits and vegetables and small amounts of spicy flavours (less curries!). Include foods of cooling nature like cucumbers, salad greens, watermelon, sprouts, lemons and limes. In the summertime, vegetables can be eaten raw in salads, however for the most part it is advised to lightly steamed in order to prevent damage to our Spleen. It is important to note that in TCM cooling is done through foods that are cooling in nature, not through frozen or chilled foods.
  • Yin Yoga:
Throughout this season, I will be incorporating poses to help balance the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians. I will be introducing specific acupressure points into the sequences to help you understand how they can be used to balance the healthy flow of Qi (life energy). Expect a lot of yummy heart opening poses in the coming few weeks.
  • Make time for stillness and reflection:
There is not one way to be still and reflective. For many this looks like meditation, for others a quiet walk in the woods can have a very therapeutic effect. You might find the act of journalling as an effective tool in achieving stillness and emptiness. In the summer I find Yoga Nidra helps to ground me from excitement and extroversion.

Summer is the time for openness, connection, laughter and fun. The longer days and warmer weather naturally awaken the divine spirit which animates us and brings qualities of laughter and joy to the way we live. Also, remember that the heart does not do well when overstimulated, which can actually result from too much joy! The heart thrives best when given time to be calm and tranquil.

Personally, my time to shine is fall, and I tend to be overstimulated in summer, but this year, for so many reasons, feels different within myself! I have the fire, but also am finding time for balance. 

Balance the Fire of summer by coming to my Yin Class on Sunday's at 7pm, and experience a more balanced, more joyful summer! 

The Yoke Wellness Ambassador,

Sabina Ahmadov

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