By Jennifer Kelleher
“As above, so below. As within, so without.” As human beings, we are part of nature and therefore, deeply connected to the seasons. Just as we can plainly see reflected in the Earth, our own physical, mental, and emotional bodies fluctuate in cadence with the seasons. Because of this, properly caring for and nourishing ourselves looks different during different times of the year. I find the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, and Astrology to be incredibly helpful in keeping me balanced throughout the year and helping me to transition from season to season with ease and grace. In today’s column, we are going to look at what is happening in our bodies during the current time of year through the lens of TCM so that we may attune our energies with the season and live in equilibrium.
TCM recognizes five seasons instead of four, the fifth being “Indian Summer,” which runs from the third week in August through the Fall Equinox. This fifth season is said to be the transitional bridge between the expansive growth and extroverted activity of Spring and Summer (Yang energy) and the more inward and still spirit of Fall and Winter (Yin energy). According to TCM, each season is connected to an element, organ, emotion, and taste.
TCM links Late Summer to the Earth element. The Earth provides us with nourishment, stability, and bounty. As you gather, distribute, and enjoy nature’s crops at their ripest, it is also important to focus on returning to your central core. Spend devoted time grounding and establishing a solid base. What helps you to feel stable? Creating order in your physical environment and intentionality and consistency in your personal routines are great ways to develop inner peace and stability. The Taoists teach us to be like bamboo: Able to bend in the wind, while always remaining firmly rooted.
The organs associated with Indian Summer are the stomach and spleen, and the taste of this time of year is sweet. To keep the stomach and spleen well-nourished and functioning properly, do your best to eat your meals at the same time each day. Eat without distractions (no screens), chew your food thoroughly, and allow time for digestion before continuing with your day. Eat something by 9am each morning and have your last bite at least three hours before bed. Choose room temperature and warm drinks and meals over cold, raw ones, and consume slightly sweet foods at appropriate levels (avoid self-medicating with too much sugar). Also, take time to digest your emotions. Allow yourself space to feel what you are feeling instead of stuffing it down. Breath work, yoga asana, and journaling are a few practices that can help you process your emotions. Finally, use acupressure or tapping along the spleen and stomach meridian lines to encourage energy flow and a balanced state of being.
Lastly, TCM correlates late summer with the emotions of worry and desire. Along with keeping diet and lifestyle in check as described above, it can be helpful to focus on learning trust and acceptance, and remembering that we are innately abundant and whole within ourselves. Mindfulness and meditation, along with embodiment practices, such as yoga and Pilates, are great tools to help get you out of your head and into the present moment.
Worry does not exist in the present moment.
We invite you to make Ocean Bliss Yoga Studio part of your balanced routine as we transition toward Fall. Check our schedule for daily classes and monthly workshops at oceanblissyoga.net. New offerings come out at the beginning of each month.