Summer is seen in Chinese Medicine in two parts, the first part of Summer is the Element of Fire, and Late Summer is seen as the element of Earth. Fire governs the Heart and Small Intestine. The emotions of Joy and Laughter are emphasized as the Summer air and memories warm our hearts. This is a great time to connect with the things that bring you joy.
The Small Intestine helps with the digestion of food, it separates the clear from the turbid. The warming nature of the season helps to move fluids in the body which brings about detoxification. One can see it is very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and nutrient rich fluids including coconut water and juices.
The Earth element encompasses all of the other elements and therefore when strengthened in the body, all is nourished with itself. It is the digestion and absorption of nutrients from our food, this transformation that helps keep our body healthy and in balance. The Spleen and Stomach are the organs associated with the element of Earth.
As we eat the food gets metabolized and different elements (minerals, vitamins, proteins, and more) get sent to the various tissues of our body to help them with their unique function. Metabolism is a word that covers many processes that turn food into energy for our body to use. Chinese Medicine has many ways to help one regulate their different metabolic processes. The food that one eats is of strong emphasis as one takes a look at the foods that give more energy and stability (naturally) and the foods that take more time to feel energy from. Some foods take more energy to process than they can give. The cleaner our food is, the easier it is for us to absorb the nutrients from it, where as more processed food requires more work for our body to get energy from. Organic and in season locally, lend to a healthy body and when the body is more in balance so is the mind and spirit.
Each season we are given time to look at our unique patterns and strengthen ourselves with the medicine that is already in the environment. Wishing everyone a wonderful Summer!
There are many different styles and intentions of meditation practices, finding one that inspires and is healing for you is very personal. Meditation is a health care practice for your mind, body and soul that can speed up healing processes and calm emotions. It can help you stay focused while taking a test, and has shown to improve mental clarity and memory amongst many other benefits.
Meditation can be done sitting in a chair, sitting on the floor, laying down, and even while walking in a crowd. It is as versatile as it needs to be giving us many ways to connect with ourselves. Here are some pointers I give to my patients who want to start a meditation practice for the first time.
~ Start out with short meditations a few days a week to see how you feel with it. When you were a child you learned to crawl before you walked, and you walked before you ran. There are many different "muscles" that you train when starting to build a meditation practice. Meditation is also a great detoxifier for the body and mind making each session unique.
~ Position - you may find that you are more comfortable in one position than another to sit for a period of time without falling asleep or your legs falling asleep. Over time these positions may change for you.
- Ready - To start, set a timer so you don't have to worry about checking a clock and turn your phone ringer off. For your first few times see where sitting for 3 minutes takes you, close your eyes, focus on taking slow, full breaths in and out. If your mind wanders to all the things you have to do, that's O.K., if you start to fade out and clear your mind, that is O.K. too. There is no right or wrong with starting to get your self used to spending time with yourself.
~ Remember - Each time you may feel and think different. Keeping a meditation journal is a wonderful way to track your personal progress and patterns.
A great, simple and free tip that I love, is to take three slow, deep breaths before opening a door. This is a wonderful reminder for one's body, mind and emotions to calm down, regain focus and nourish our systems with oxygen. When we feel stressed or hurried we tend to take in less oxygen as we take shallower breaths. By taking in a breath through the nose and feeling our belly expand with it, and then our chest, as we breathe slowly out we are helping our body detox many elements that make us feel tense. After taking a few moments to remind our selves to breath deeper and recenter, our overall health regains strength and we gift our life with more vitality.