We will soon be transitioning to the summer season which is associated with the element of fire, and is governed by the Heart and Small Intestine.
The Heart is considered to be the king of bodily systems. It is said that our shen, or spirit, is stored in the heart and because of this, our heart energy is linked with our outlook on life.
In the summer, the days are long and the earth is in full bloom. The lightest (most yang) energy is available to us at this time. When balanced, our bodies should feel light and happy while enjoying the reward of sunshine.
The Heart governs the circulation of blood, as well as our sleeping patterns and our moods. Since the energy of the earth in the summertime is the lightest, the circulation of our blood and energy in our bodies should be smooth, allowing us to access the abundant energy available to us. This lightness in energy allows our mood to follow.
•Spend as much time outside as possible
•Move your body
•Breathe in fresh air
Summer is about eating for replenishment from outdoor activities, with less emphasis on the cleansing of spring. Continue to choose light foods, leafy greens, light soups, and fish. The natural resource of summer is fruit and is an ideal way to harmonize with energy of summer. Fruits are cooling, moisturizing and replenishing, as well as high in natural sugars, vitamins and minerals.
Try to eat locally grown, organic fruits that have matured in the season you are in. This will help you harmonize to the season because the food you are eating has adapted to the same environment.
Remember to choose the “middle path” with your food choices. Moderation is always best. Too much fruit can produce too much moisture, causing dampness in the body. Dampness can damage the spleen energy. Cooking fruits can reduce dampness.
•Red foods can stimulate the mind
•Mix red veggies in soups and salads
•The fire element has a bitter taste that can cool heat, detoxify the liver and blood, and calm the shen.
Bitter greens like dandelion greens, kohlrabi and collard greens are great additions in the summer months. Allow for higher amounts of raw, fresh foods, while continuing to balance with warming soups, teas, and cooked foods. Moderation remains in all aspects of the diet.
It is important to work the body for a sustained period of time, building a vigorous sweat to increase stamina and nourish the function of the heart. It is a good idea to exercise in the late morning, preferably outdoors, for longer periods of time. You might use a slower pace with a longer duration of your favorite movement. Remember to have fun and listen to what your body needs.
The summer is a great time to reflect on bliss. In yoga, bliss is considered the deepest part of who you are and is a constant throughout life. You might practice a couple of minutes a day, bringing your awareness to your heart, imagining a tiny flame. With each inhale, invite your flame to expand.
Enjoying the lightness of summer not only feels good but is good preventative medicine for an easy transition through winter especially if you suffer from seasonal depression. Now is the time to feel and good and keep it that way!
Sarah Zender LAc
Neighborhood Acupuncture Place
230 Florence St
Crystal Lake IL 60014