Seasonal Rituals ~ Summer
Ah, summertime. What do you think of when you long for summer? Bonfires? Watermelon? Long lazy days in the sunshine? When you live somewhere there is vast seasonal change, summer is a time to come out of hibernation. Where we live, in the upper midwest, the feeling of community is palpable, as everyone is out and basking in social events, warmth and extroversion. You can look at summer as being the yang to winter's yin. A time of great energy.
Summer is broken in to two segments for your mind and body:
The element of Fire and the central organ, the Heart dominate the beginnings of summer, where we are now as the solstice is upon us. Fire is the chi energy at its most vigorous. "Apart from its role of circulating and 'governing' the blood, the heart is the residence of the mind- of conscious awareness in all its forms. Directing the functions of thinking, feeling, memory, and imagination and is the focus of all mental-emotional activity, and is the source of self-awareness." (Gabriel Mojay, 1997) . Simply, you may feel this in the uplifting energy you feel as you walk outside, take a deep breath and take in the growth all around you. The orange flower symbolize the fire element; Neroli oil is not only an amazing scent, but captures early summer's promise and energy beautifully.
Late summer is characterized by the Earth element with its organ focus on the spleen and pancreas. Just as your garden begins to ripen and ready for harvest, the earth element symbolize abundance and the ripening of your life force. "The principal energetic function of the Spleen-pancreas and Stomach is to transform and transport. As central organs in digestion, they are responsible for transformation of food and drink into chi (energy), body fluids and blood. Along with the kidney's and lungs, the Spleen and Stomach are the key providers of strength and vitality." (Gabriel Mojay, 1997) . As we head into the abundance of harvests and fresh foods, eat the rainbow; this will not only energize you, but is healthy for your gut (I discussed gut importance here), which we know is the largest organ, only second to our skin and is vital for overall health.
Enjoy the fresh foods of the season, and preserve them for a burst of sunshine in colder months.
Take advantage of farmers markets, farm stands, or your own garden and eat fresh cooling foods during the summer. One of my favorite things to do when the berries are abundant is to flash freeze them and pop a few quart bags in the freezer. It is so simple to spread your fresh berries on a cookie sheet, place them in the freezer for 30min to an hour. They freeze perfectly shaped and can be then put in a storage bag! Easy peasy!
Do a summer flow yoga sequence, but keep it slow. You do not want to build too much heat during summer's fire element and leave yourself feeling agitated. Try a new way, like the paddle board yoga above that I did a few years ago, truly a unique and fun experience! You can also slowly move into a Summer Flow Sequence, like below:
The book "The Spirit Almanac" gives a beautiful breakdown with a few tips to enjoy your summer to its fullest:
*Socialize and pinpoint the people and experiences that make you feel happy and free.
*Live less in your to-do list and more in your bucket list.
*Take the long way home.
*Check in on your goals and reassess anything that needs to shift.
*Make room for childhood play and movement, hiding and seeking.
What do you look forward to in the summer season? How do you nurture your inner child and let go?