Having fun, Working hard, Making history...
June-July 2014 TT Level II Salento-Italy-
Mindfulness of breathing to bring loving-kindness to our dear bodies. As Thây says, “You should really love your body. You should really take care of your body. Mindful breathing, with rest, can do miracles. “
Stop for a moment and meditate on the passage of time, to feel time moving inside you, is to practice the value of the winter season' "Nei Jing", the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine
Seasonal living shows us how to live in harmony with the natural cycles of our environment. The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, and conserve our strength. This is a good time a year to be more conscious about and take care of the kidney, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, ears, and hair.
In Chinese medicine the Kidney energy is the root of all energies. It is the energy of development, growth, structure and reproduction. The kidneys supply the energy for the bones and teeth, for the hair of the head, for healthy sexual function, for fertility, for the immune system, for the lungs, and for wisdom. And the Kidney energy is associated with the energies of the Water Element, which is dominant in winter.
Winter is upon us and we're all enjoying the nip in the air. It's the best season to enjoy an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is the time of the year when market places are overflowing with fresh, appealing foods and because of the lower temperatures, appetites increase.
Following the philosophies of Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western dietitians, it is indeed natural to look for a few new items on the winter menu.
It's very important to keep yourself warm in winter and it's really easy to do so. Just add these foods to your daily diet and you'll be able to enjoy the season to the fullest.
Winter food and winter eating
The Autumnal Equinox
After the magnificent harvest of the Summer thanks to its Fire energy, the Fall and its Metal energy support our letting go of the waste, the old and stale in our lives, leaving us purified and ready to renew. Like trees letting go of their beautiful leaves, it's time for us to let go of the old clutter: toxins, pollutants, emotions, regrets, attachment, intellectual and spiritual garbage... The Metal energy is also about protection and drives the immune system. So Metal energy is the connection between detoxification (letting go of the waste and old), maximum immunity and the Fall season of flu and cold.
There truly is something magical about this time of year.
The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night.” The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two days of the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator.
The earth’s axis of rotation is not perfectly pointed at the sun; it is tilted. This causes the seasons to change. During the fall, temperatures begin to drop and days start to get shorter. This change affects argriculture (available fresh foods), our moods, and our general health.
How we eat, sleep, and act in winter is different than what we need in the summer. And interestingly, there is a fifth season in this ancient Eastern modality: LATE SUMMER. This is the season we just passed through. It started in late August and lasts until the Autumn Equinox (September 22, this year).
Chinese Medicine’s Late Summer Season is associated with the earth elements—and the harvest. This is the time of year, traditionally, when farmers reap the benefits of all their hard work through the spring and summer. And for us urban dwellers, we can consider it the time of year when we harvest the mental and spiritual work we may have begun earlier this year.
Stay Healty in the Fall; Lungs & Large Intestine
In this season we will nourish and detoxify the lungs and large intestine. Your lungs are your first line of defense against unhealthy air; they hold the key to respiration. When you’re relaxed, you breathe approximately fifteen times per minute. It’s always best to protect them from cold and damp weather by keeping your chest, neck, head and feet warm.
Every function of your body relies for existence on the oxygen intake of the lungs. Your lungs need to be able to eliminate carbon dioxide. It’s essential for your lungs to have good quality air that is clean, moist, warm and rich in oxygen. The nose is the opening to the lungs, and you can prevent colds by keeping your nose and sinuses clean and clear.
When your lungs aren’t functioning properly, your body accumulates heat, propelling other health issues into motion, resulting in poor circulation, night sweats, excessive perspiration, and fatigue. Equally important to your health this time of year is the large intestine.
It is divided into three parts: The caecum, where your appendix is attached; colons—ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid; and the rectum.
When the large intestine is constipated your skin gets rashes, acne and eczema. We carry 3-4 kg of encrusted fecal matter. Backed up waste creates a toxic state that shows up as bloating, gas, headaches and arthritic symptoms.
Diets rich in sugar, flour, dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, and the Pill can aggravate your gut. What you eat also greatly affects the health of your lungs. Eating excess cold and raw foods creates dampness or phlegm which is produced by the spleen and stored by the lungs. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter also create phlegm, while moderate amounts of pungent foods like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and mustard are beneficial to the lungs.
Sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy in the Fall. The ancients advised that people should retire early at night and rise with the crowing of the rooster during the autumn. “Soul and spirit should be tranquil and to keep their lung pure they should not give vent to their desires.”
Various systems of self-mastery teach that by controlling your breath, you can achieve and maintain physical vigor, mental clarity and emotional tranquility. Yoga and meditation will teach you how to master your breath!
During the change in temperature, be sure to dress for the weather!
Prevention is the key. Now is the time to strengthen your Qi to prepare for winter and get a “tune-up” with Shiatsu and Yoga.
"In ancient times those people who understood Tao (the way of self cultivation) patterned themselves upon the Yin and the Yang (the two principles in nature) and they lived in harmony…” The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine
Enjoy the energy of Fall
Well, we are clearly past the midpoint of summer and the skies of Belgium has not been spectacular this summer! According the healing methodology of 5 elements in Traditinal Chineese Medicine, summer belongs to the element Fire. It is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest yang, which means that it is a time of heat, outgoingness, and moving outward in nature and in our lives. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. Thus, top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer. The organs associated with the Fire Element are the Heart and the Small Intestines.
However, living in Belgium means living in it's excessively damp climate and locations with an immersion in water or exposure to rain!Dampness is associated with the element earth and is most active in late summer.
In the summer the surface pores on the body are open and because summer is humid, the pathogenic factors, which cause diseases in this season always mix with dampness. If you experience abdominal pains, vomiting, intestinal spasms, diarrhea, aching joints, and heaviness in the chest you are in symbols and characteristically heavy and sluggishof dampness. In nature this tend to block the flow of energy throughout the body. "Inner-dampness" is also caused by excess cold consumption of liquor, tea, cold melons, and sweet, greasy foods. These impede spleen functions.
If Your Fire is Out of Balance…
Heart imbalances lead to palpitations, chest pressure ,confusion, anxiety, poor memory, fever, panic attacks, insomnia and incessant chatter. If you are out of balance and notice these symptoms then don't wait to fall sick, schedual your shiatsu appointement today.
Here are some tips on balancing your Fire Energy
-Consider a healthy, nutritional diet, getting good quality sleep and moderate exercise this can keep our physical form at it's best
-Absorb the Sun’s Nourishment
- Eat Smaller Lighter Meals
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Rest to Prevent "Burnout"
- Express Your Joy and Love
- "Light Up" and Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously
- Schedule a Shiatsu, or Private Yoga Session.
-Bitter is the healing flavor associated with the fire element, so add dandelion greens or nasturtium leaves to a salad as this will help boost your immune system and Stay well and balanced!
Did you know that the Element of Fire..
- Provides a home for the Spirit
- Governs the Mind and is responsible for the quality of our thoughts and memory, the state of our consciousness and how well we sleep?
- Is associated with the thymus gland which maintains a healthy immune system?
- Opens into the tongue? The tongue expresses the depth of our heart and physically tells the condition of the heart.
People with a lot of Fire...
Are fun and full of life!
-Love to laugh.
- Are the life of the party.
- Are engaging public speakers.
- Are quite chatty and often speak with their hands.
- Make friends easily.
- Have a special magnetism and charismatic quality.
- Are full of ―bright‖ ideas
- Are a joy to be around!
Smile from Your Heart
According to TCM, your face—particularly your eyes—is the mirror of your Heart. The Heart is home to the
Shen, or spirit, so your face reflects this aspect of your soul. Try this ancient exercise for your Heart:
Looking into a mirror smile at yourself--
really smile at yourself—directly from your heart.
That's it! How simple and yet how difficult this practice is for most people. True smiling from the heart, not just a fake smile, actually has a profound physiological effect. It promotes the flow of Qi and blood throughout your entire body helping it—and your heart—to heal.
Yes, spring is in our midst and we are naturally energized by the warmer temperatures, the burst of growth and the brighter days. Spring is a time of rebirth, revitalization; a time to plant new seeds. We also love to “spring clean” our closets and houses. Clearing out the old, makes way for the new.
The days will get longer and brighter which means more energy for us! We absorb our energetic nourishment from the plants of the earth, the prana in the breath, clear fresh spring water and lots of sunshine. We have been given everything we need to grow. The rest is up to us!
Living close to nature, we clearly see the patterns of energy. In winter, seeds pull their energy inside and wait deep inside the dark earth. Tree sap drops down to the roots in winter. In the same way, our energy goes deep inside to the core of the body, into the seed energy of the Kidneys. In spring, as the earth warms, the inner energy of the seed unfolds, pushes outwards to the sunlight above ground, unfolding it’s wing leaves to blossom and grow. Spring time is liver time in both Chinese medicine and in Western traditions, signaling the time for a “liver cleanse”. According to the theory of 5 Elements, we leave Water (leading in winter) to move towards Wood (element for spring). Spring nourishes the Liver and Gallbladder. This follows the laws of nature. With the energy flowing outwards from deep in the body, appropriate exercise, foods and attitudes help clear any toxins accumulated over the winter, gently helping to clear and renew the organs and tissues of the body, like working the soil in the spring to prepare for the new season of planting. To help our liver for detox , we need to eat « sour » food such as olives, tomatoes, artichoke, spinach, barley, mustard, lemon, grapes…
In spring, the Qi of the Wood Element is strong and moves fast and furiously in an upward direction.This Powerful wood force and energy has many impacts on us and our world :
The earth has once again renewed our faith that the cycle of life continues. A time of new beginnings, renewal, growth, and hope for the future. It is the shift that allows for reawakening, personal growth and future abundance. It gives us the opportunity to start anew. What a gift!
I hope you find my blog inspiring with useful information to keep your spring energies harmonized.
Blessings of joy!
Categories, Season, Winter