There is greenness all around in nature, the flowers have burst into life and beauty lies everywhere. When the sun rises at the early dawn, the birds start to have their beautiful concert to embrace it. The butterflies are dancing above the fields, the sun shines through the days and there is so much energy all around in nature. Long, light, warm evenings encourage to stay up late, walk barefoot on the grass and the beach, enjoy and celebrate the life with others by dancing and partying. People are happier and more outgoing in the summertime.
In The Traditional Chinese Medicine, Summer is seen as the season of the Fire- Element. The yang- energy is at its highest point, not only in nature but also in the humans. We are able to stay up late and still wake up earlier, we have much more energy to do things than during the other seasons. We are taking part in different projects more easily, spend a lot of time outdoors, socialize with other people and go to different hobbies. Summer is the time to relax, have a holiday and take everything more lightly. Summer is the time to have fun!
The internal organs of the Fire- Element are The Heart and The Small Intestine. The Heart is seen as a very powerful organ, both physically and energetically. Physically the most important function of The Heart is to control the circulation all over the body so that the blood flow stays in balance. Energetically The Heart is seen as a home for all the feelings and thoughts. They are born in The Heart and it sends them to the other internal organs. The Heart is in response to keeping the whole body and mind calm, in both balance and harmony. The Small Intestine is an organ supporting digestion, assimilation, and elimination. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Small Intestine is said: “to separate the pure from the impure”. Physically, it separates the pure nutrients from our food and drink, and effectively eliminates the waste. Metaphorically, it is said to separate the “nutritional” parts of our daily interactions with others and eliminate the “indigestible” parts from our consciousness, thus allowing discrimination in our relationships.
To strengthen The Heart and Small Intestine, we should do the things we love; enjoy the beautiful nature, a company of our good friends, music, dancing, singing and laughing. We should enjoy life! The feeling of The Heart is Love; Summer is the season of love and happiness. Experiencing the feelings of love are strengthening and healing for The Heart.
To keep the Fire- Element in balance, we should also remember to relax, rest a little bit and cool our bodies down, so that we don´t burn all the energy out quickly.
Good, cooling food for the hot summer days are all kinds of smoothies, green juices, vegetables and fruits of the season. Especially cucumber and watermelon are really good for cooling the body down. Enjoy the fresh salads, herbs, potatoes and berries. Working out should be avoided in the middle of the day when the weather is hot. The best time for that would be early in the morning or in the evening. Yin Yoga is a really good practice for the summer season by balancing the flowing of the fluids in the body and cooling the body and nervous system down. It helps us to stay energized in the middle of the strong yang- season.
Let´s enjoy and celebrate the summer, happiness and love! All the beautiful experiences of the summer season are stored into The Heart as warm memories. They are healing and strengthening The Heart also during the next Autumn, Winter and Spring until the next Summer arrives.
Yin Yoga Asanas for the Summer:
Anahatasana (Melting Heart Pose)/ Puppy Pose Over Blocks
Getting into the pose: Make your way from your seat onto hands and knees. Align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Then, place your hands on blocks on their medium setting (with the blocks lengthwise and parallel to the sides of your mat). Release your elbows onto the blocks and walk them forward until they’re at the very front edge of the blocks. Bring your palms to touch in a prayer position.
Keep your hips aligned over your knees. You’ll need to walk your knees back as you soften your chest toward the floor. Deepen the bend of your elbows and draw your thumbs toward the nape of your neck, pointing your fingers toward the back of your mat. Rest your forehead on another block, a blanket, or the floor. Soften the space between your shoulder blades and surrender into this release. Keep your awareness on your heart centre as you hold this position for about three minutes.
Coming out of the pose: From this variation of Anahatasana, bring your prayer hands back overhead, walk your elbows back, and press your forearms firmly into the blocks. Engage your core to draw yourself back up to hands and knees. Move all but one block off to the side.
Supported Matsyasana ( Fish Pose )
Getting into the pose: Place two blocks behind you—one block closer to you on its lowest height, and the other farther away from you on its tallest or medium height. Bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Let your knees fall in toward each other, creating an internal rotation of your femur (thigh) bones (to allow for more space in your sacrum and lower back).
Lengthen your spine and place your hands behind you. Slowly walk your hands toward the back of your mat, allowing the first block to support your back just below the tips of your shoulder blades, and the second block to support the back of your skull. Make sure that your thoracic spine (not your lower back) is supported by the first block, sending your heart centre toward the sky, and that the back of your head (not your neck) is supported by the second block. You may need to readjust the spacing of your blocks to allow this to happen.
Again, you have options for your arms. You can rest your hands by your sides, open your arms into a T, or stretch them overhead (clasping opposite elbows with your hands). You can leave your legs as they are or stretch them out. Choose whichever variations feel best for you and breathe deeply here for five minutes.
If you need to decrease the intensity, you can lower the height of your blocks or place a rolled-up blanket (instead of a block) under your heart.
Coming out of the pose: Release your arms by your sides (if they’re not already there). Press into your forearms to lift your head and chest off the blocks. Move the blocks off to the side and lower your back onto the floor.
HT 7: shen men / Spirit Gate
Function: Calms the mind, nourishes Heart blood, opens orifices.
Indications: Cardiac pain, irritability, palpitation hysteria, amnesia, insomnia, mania, epilepsy, dementia, pain in the hypochondriac region, feverish sensation in the palm, yellowish sclera.
HT 9: shao chong / Lesser Surge
Function: Clears heat, subdues wind, opens the Heart orifices, relieves fullness, restores consciousness.
Indications: Palpitations, cardiac pain, pain in the chest and hypochondriac regions, mania, febrile diseases, loss of consciousness.
HT 3: shao hai / Lesser Sea
Function: Removes obstructions from the channel, calms the mind, clears heat.
Indications: Cardiac pain, spasmodic pain and numbness of the hand and arm, tremor of the hand, scrofula, pain in the axilla and hypochondriac region.
SI 1: shao ze / Lesser March
Function: Expels wind-heat, subdues wind, opens the orifices, removes obstructions from the channel, promotes lactation.
Indications: a Headache, febrile diseases, loss of consciousness, redness of the eye, cloudiness of the cornea.
SI 6: yang lao / Nursing the Aged
Function: Benefits the sinews, brightens the eyes, removes obstructions from the channel.
Indications: Blurring of vision, pain in the shoulder, elbow and arm.
SI 8: xiao hai / Small Sea
Function: Resolves damp-heat, removes obstructions from the channel, calms the mind.
Indications: a Headache, swelling of cheek, pain in nape, shoulder, arm and elbow, epilepsy.