For many people, today marks the beginning of a very happy season. The days are now longer and brighter, the air warmer, and fun opportunities for socializing and play abound.
In traditional Chinese Medicine, the Summer-Solstice would be represented on the Yin-Yang diagram as the pinnacle of “Yang” energy, or greatest amount of brightness, just before its decline into the darkness and cold of “Yin”.
Yang is a term used to encompass a series of qualities observed in nature.
- Outward Active Energy ~ or “masculine energy”
The summer, perfectly exemplifies these yang qualities, and if we are attuned to it, we will notice these changes in our own bodies and spirits. How then may we best align ourselves with the summer sun?
- Rise early with the sun and go to sleep late. The summer is a time of activity, and energy. Now is the time to maximize your schedule, focusing on activities which are fun, social, and preferably outdoors.
- Socialize! Chinese Medicine views the summer as belonging to the “heart meridian”. The heart is said to house the spirit and mind, and to govern the emotion of joy. This is the time to connect with others, and to open our hearts.
- Enjoy the warmth, but keep your cool. Summer belongs to the element of fire. After a long winter of bundling up indoors, now is the time to get out there and bask in the warmth. However, in many people, especially those with too much inner heat, the danger is in getting scorched. Quite literally, this means practicing moderation with regards to sun exposure. However, it also means keeping cool on an inner physical level with cooling foods and herbs, and on an emotional level. Too much inner-heat can cause anger and irritability.
Here’s a list of some cooling foods to add to your diet:
- Bok choy
- Chinese cabbage
- White mushroom
- Snow peas
- Summer squash
- Mung beans