Summer: The Most Yang Time
Yin and Yang represent the pair of everything in our world, and are inseparable. Without Yin there is no Yang, and vice versa. Earth follows the patterns of Yin and Yang with the changing of the seasons. Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year occurred and will return on Dec. 20, and it is the most Yin of all of the days of the year. Summer Solstice, the lightest day of the year was June 20.
The ancient Chinese developed a system of health that is simple in its essence, but in stark contrast to its application to our lives. Because of this, it’s sometimes challenging for Westerners to follow. We see things as being steps in achieving goals. Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with nature and the seasons. The seasons were named winter (water), spring (wood), summer (fire), harvest (earth) and autumn (metal): the Five Element Theory.
Each season causes us to adapt our behaviors so that we can create balance between our bodies and our environment. The ancients tended to sleep less in the summer and get up and go to bed with the sun, wear loose breathable clothing that helped them maintain & regulate their body temperature, and eat foods that were available to them during a given season. In doing so, they were able to maintain their immune system and stay healthy throughout the year.
Personal Ways to Attune
Summer is associated with Fame on the Ba-gua, and also the element of Fire. Vision, circulation of blood, and body cavities are associated with the Fame. Fame is also associated with the heart. The brain also has to do with Fire, so memory issues can have to do with Fire.
Because of its association with the element fire, it’s a great time to indulge in gatherings such as barbecues with friends and family. It’s also a perfect time to read a funny book, watch a comedy, and add candles and/or fresh flowers to your environment. Change up your space, perhaps by adding red, orange, yellow or other warm colors to your environment. You can also introduce touches of those warm colors to your clothing. Going to an art gallery (as original art is Fire) or to the zoo (as animals are Fire) or go to an inspirational talk are all great ways to honor summer.
Bitter & spicy flavors are great for you to balance the fire element. Dandelion tea, wine, coffee and tea, multi-colored food, and brightly colored foods work well in this time of year. Consider trying different cuisines: Thai one night and Indian another, for example. Foods that are prepared with high heat are an excellent choice, as are dried foods.
Lots of people love summer, feeling energized with the heat, and love to enjoy sunbathing, outdoor concerts, hiking and such. For others, however, summer causes them to want to stay inside and keep cool, and can cause some to feel a sadness or depression.
Clean and Organize… a Bit
Think about improving your environment by giving it a thorough cleaning. Organize your life a bit, one drawer, shelf or surface at a time. Give yourself praise for the small things you accomplish every day, even if they seem miniscule.
A Place to Meditate
Find a place in your home where you feel completely calm and comfortable and use it for meditation. It’s great if you have a whole room you can dedicate to meditation, but if you’re like most people, finding a small area within a room will work just fine. Try to make it as free of distractions as possible: remove the TV, books, computers or laptops- anything that doesn’t support your need for solitude. Consider using candles to light the room during meditation, rather than brighter ambient or task lighting. New to meditation? You do not have to sit in the lotus position for 20 minutes or more. Research now shows that a few minutes a day can really help to reclaim balance in your outlook on life.
Rather than pushing forward during this Yang time of year, try thinking of yourself as a leaf floating down a gently flowing river, not able to determine your own destination… at least for a period of time every day.
Need help creating a space to breathe deeply, meditate and relax? Contact us through this website and we can talk about your needs this summer. We can’t wait to hear from you. Cheers!