With summer fast approaching, it’s time to start preparing your body for the summer season right now.
Summer Lovin’ and Natural Medicine
Light. Fire. Heat. Intensity. It’s summertime! Do you worship long days of bright sunlight? Do you welcome a renewed feeling of lightness and expansive consciousness? Maybe you just can’t get enough of the hot summer temperatures. Or, do you dread the heat and go out of your way to avoid the summer sun? Perhaps a dark, air-conditioned cinema is more your place of choice on a hot summer day. Summer, like each of the seasons, arrives with its own distinct personality. Depending on your constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate one of your innate tendencies. For example, a hot-natured individual who prefers a cool climate may love the winter, but will feel hotter than most—to the point of discomfort—as the heat of summer intensifies. On the other hand, someone with chronically cold hands and feet, who never seems to be able to stay warm in the winter months, will experience exactly the opposite: long, cold winters will be a challenge and s/he will relish the heat of summer. But the seasons need not be an intrinsic source of fluctuating dread and euphoria.
Why you need to check in?
With the change of seasons, it is important to check in with your body, how are you feeling and what does it need. Very often, we begin our Summer season in a panic - up the gym sessions, start eating cold and raw food and ignore Summer related symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and hay fever. One of the fundamental principles of Natural Medicine is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should ebb and flow with the seasons. We can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by regularly adjusting our lifestyle and habits to accommodate the arrival of each new season. While this idea may at first seem daunting, many people find that the recommended seasonal adjustments come quite naturally and that a few simple changes can dramatically increase health and vitality.
Escapada’s Top Summer Ready tips:
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is ruled by an element. Summer is associated with the element of Fire. Fire 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. Therefore, top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer.
Summertime is bursting with vibrant energy and most people find it easier to rise early in the morning at this time of year. This is a natural and beneficial rhythm to embrace. Early morning is also the best time for exercise
When the Fire element is inharmonious, one’s joy (associated with the heart) can be out of whack, resulting in too little (depression), or too much (chaos) joy or exuberance. Agitation, nervousness, heartburn, and insomnia are symptoms that one’s Fire balance is off. Check in with your local acupuncturist and get some regulatory sessions before the season kicks off.
Summer can motivate improved physical fitness and it is generally a great season to be active, provided you exercise at appropriate times and at an appropriate intensity. Exercise is very heating and, at this time of year, is best avoided during the heat of the day, especially from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Instead, try exercising early in the morning, when the atmosphere is crisp and cool. It’s also important not to push too hard. Ideally, exercise at about 50–70% of your capacity, breathing through your nose the entire time, if you can. Follow your workout with a drop of rose oil to the third eye, throat, and navel to help the body cool do
SUMMER FOODS AND PREPARATION
Use plenty of brightly coloured summer fruits and vegetables, and enjoy creating meals. Cook lightly and regularly, add a little spicy, pungent, or even fiery flavour. Summer offers abundant variety and the diet should reflect this. Minerals and oils are sweated out of the body, and their loss can cause weakness if they are not replaced by a varied diet. To be more comfortable, drink hot/warm fluids to induce sudden sweating and to cool the body. Summer heat combined with too much cold food weakens the digestive organs. Coldness causes contraction: it holds sweat and heat, and interferes with digestion. Iced drinks and ice cream actually contract the stomach and slow digestion.
In the evening before bed, wash and dry the feet and massage them with a light coating of brahmi oil to ground your energy and draw the heat down. It is best to retire by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. to avoid an overly stimulated mind, and lying on your right side will activate the lunar pathway in the left nostril, which is calming and cooling. Also be aware that sexual activity, in excess, can provoke your fire and deplete energy, so cultivate moderation in this aspect of your life during the summer months.
YOUR INNER CHILD
The emotion associated with the Fire element is Joy - so smile from your Heart! Look in the mirror and smile. Now do it again, and really give yourself a genuine smile, one that makes your whole body tingle. Now that you know what that feels like, practice it on everyone that you see. Summertime is such an outward, expansive time of the year where we can spend more and more time outside. Go out and have fun…play…. and be connected to nature and release your inner child.
As Summer is associated with the fire element - every fire needs cooling so make sure you have plenty of water during the Summer months. Room temperature is best with no ice, as tempting as that might seem.