Summer: The Fire Element

Summer: The Fire Element
Harmonize with the yang season of summer, by embracing the yang principle – upward expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity. Act as if you enjoy the heat – even if you do not. During this phase of intense growth, awaken early in the morning and reach to the life giving power of the sun for nourishment. Everything grows in the heat. This is the time to allow the body to release open- letting go of stress and tension. Grow into selfless service. Enjoy the bounty of the outside world as it enters and enlivens us. The Fire element, rules the heart and small intestine. The heart includes the organ as well as the concept of the heart as a mental/emotional center. The word for heart, xin is often translated as heart-mind. Correspondingly, the Fire phase is the time of the tongue/speech, blood vessels, joy, laughing, sweat. Imbalances of excess of impatience, intolerance, cruelty, judgement, hatred, shame, guilt can be transformed into peace, love, compassion, acceptance with our conscious attention to our patterns and practices. Cultivating a healthy heart-mind will allow that which is the best in us to fully develop and to flourish.
The heart in harmony expresses in people as being genuinely friendly, humble, with open hearts and aware minds, a sense of clarity, and the ability to effortlessly see through problems and arrive at brilliant solutions.

Food and its preparation
Along with our practice, eating what is in season is always a very good way to comply with the chi of the time. Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables, enjoy creating beautiful meals. Cook lightly and add a little fiery flavor regularly. Favor sautéing, use hight heat for a brief time, steam or simmer foods as quickly as possible. Use more water, less salt. Replace minerals and oils lost to sweat. Avoid iced drinks, excessive amounts of cold and raw food, and ice cream as they contract the stomach and stop digestion. Eat cooling foods: watermelon is particularly good as is green tea (not too strong). Other cooling foods are: bean sprouts, Chinese leaf, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, green leafy vegetables, tomato, cucumber, asparagus, seaweed, mint, fish and shell-fish.

What you can do
Practice Tai Chi, Qigong and Neigong particularly to open the heart, keeping shoulders and chest moving, and lengthening the connective tissue/joints.
Spend time outdoors enjoying the sun, allowing (not pushing) heart and mind to open to growth and personal expansion. Taking care to experience the heat and sun in moderation so as to preserve wei chi, your protective qi.
Not yet familiar with the practices? Please join us for classes and workshops. Or, book me for your own Tao Healing workshop or retreat www.heatherchalon.com/calendar.

SPRING Is In The Air – The Wood Element

A time of new beginnings; birth. We notice the plants pushing upwards, awakening and refreshed after their winter hibernation. The sun rises earlier and we naturally awaken earlier. There is an energy of activity and fresh new life all around us – the energy of spring. This season correlates with the wood element ; the color green; liver/gall bladder; eyes; tendons; balanced natural state of passion, kindness, ease (imbalanced state being excessive anger, dissatisfaction, frustration, shouting).

We see green all around us – this tender new life nourishes our soul through our eyes. There is less desire to eat, as the body naturally cleanses itself in spring. Cleansing is not only residue from heavy winter foods, but of excess desire and pent up emotions of dissatisfaction, impatience, anger, and accompanying short sightedness. This season may bring clearer vision; new ways of seeing things. We are encouraging quickness, more rapid movement, more outward activity. Think of a deer leaping and bounding (such movement is governed by the quality of the tendons). A vital liver supports a calm, smooth, soothing way of being – body and mind; decisiveness; sound judgment; leadership capability; ability to bring one’s passion – ideas, creativity, projects out into the world.

Wood element and FOOD and food preparation:

This is the season to clean the liver and gall bladder. Simple food preparation, including raw and sprouted foods may be emphasized. A little bit of such foods can bring in the qualities of cleansing without too much cooling and/or overworking digestion in those who are in a delicate or re-cooperative state.

Select foods reflecting the yang, ascending and expansive energy of spring. These include young plants, fresh greens, sprouts (including wheat and other cereal grasses). Minimize intake of salty and heavy foods, particularly animal products.

Create your own inner spring by selecting sweet and pungent foods such as honey/mint tea, pungent herbs – basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf; complex carbohydrates which are primarily ‘sweet’ flavor (increased by sprouting) – grains, legumes, seeds; young beets, carrots, and other sweet starchy vegetables; raw onions and garlic (to rid the body of parasites).

Include raw food as appropriate. When cooking foods, cook at higher temperatures, with shorter cooking time than winter preparation. If oil is to be used, quickly sauté. When cooking with water steam lightly or briefly simmer foods.

What you can do:

Play Six Healing Sounds Qigong – emphasizing balance and harmony of the whole self, with special attention on the “shhhh” of liver.

Give more focus to playing Qigong practices for the eyes. Play t’ai chi with special attention on the tendons; your ability to feel springy like a deer. If you haven’t done the qigong practices in a class, ask me for details.

Though it is getting warmer outside, keep your neck warm (eg. Wear a scarf), and protect yourself from wind, especially after playing qigong/t’ai chi.

Enjoy getting out in nature; stop and ‘smell the roses’.

Explore your creativity and the projects you have been dreaming about; let them out into the world –the world is waiting for you to authentically, fully express yourself.

AUTUMN: Metal Element Way of Tao

Fall is the season of harvest, a time to pull inward and gather together on all levels, a time to store up fuel, food, and warm clothing, a time to study and plan for the approaching stillness of winter. Everything in nature contracts and moves its essence inward and downward.Easing Into Autumn Leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry, the sap of trees goes into the roots. This is the time of the Metal element, the lungs, skin, nose, color white, pungent flavor, balanced emotions of joy, harmony, courage. Imbalances such as grief, sadness, and despair can be transformed with our conscious attention to our patterns and practices.

Foods: We become aware of the season’s abundant yet contracting nature. Choose more astringent foods (e.g. spinach and radish) with heartier flavors. Cooking methods involve focused preparation to supply greater energy required by cooler seasons. The essence of food is received through the sense of smell, with baked or sauteed dishes – concentrated foods to thicken the blood for winter. In general, cook with less water, lower heat, for longer periods of time. Include more sour (a little goes a long way) foods such as sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and the sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. To counter dryness, add a small amount of fresh soy products, spinach, barley, millet, pear, persimmon, loquat, seaweeds, almond, sesame seed, honey, eggs, and a little salt in cooking moistens dryness.

Connecting with the Earth. As we root our feet and open to receiving the earth’s nourishing energies, be mindful that the ground is becoming cooler now. Shoes should be warn when standing on cool ground. This includes indoors. Enjoy bare feet when the day is warm and the earth has been warmed by the sun.

What you can do:
Pressing back palms qigong; qi self massage – tapping the thymus gland, SSSSS healing sound, playing the Tiger movement.

Access your inner courage, integrity, happiness - Tiger frolic with healing sound

Access your inner courage, integrity, happiness – Tiger frolic with healing sound; qi self massage lung tops/cross forearms over heart.

Don’t know these practices yet?

Please join us at qigong and /or tai chi class.