There is an extra season in Chinese Medicine – Late Summer. It begins late August through to the Autumn equinox. It is an important transitional season, a time to re-centre, create stability, balance and comfort, in preparation for the cooler seasons of autumn and winter. You may struggle with bouts of fatigue as a response to this season and this low energy and/or motivation is usually triggered by over-exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep from the activities of summer. Make sure you get proper rest, exercise, stress reduction and nutrition to boost your energy.
The element for late summer is earth and the two primary organs are the stomach and spleen. The stomach not only receives the food we eat but it also processes emotional and mental food. – think of the phrase, “food for thought”. The stomach is related to self-worth and self-esteem, so make sure you nourish your stomach and in doing so feel better about yourself. The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ and responsible for filtering blood. It plays a major part in our immune and lymphatic system by removing bacteria and waste and releasing iron back into the blood system and lifting our energy.
Yoga in this late summer season should focus on foundation, core stability, feeling centred, connecting with the earth and rooting down. Side bends and poses that allow you to surrender to the earth are great at this time of year. Boost your lymphatic system by doing inversions or just having your legs up the wall, build muscle tone, core stabiiity and balance and strengthen your legs that are your support and connection to the earth. Off the mat, take a step back, make some time for yourself and find some balance and harmony in every day.
The colour for this season is yellow. Foods such as peaches, squash, peppers, lemon and apricots, all contain anti-oxidant beta-carotene and vitamins C & E that are essential nourishment for the immune system. Looking after your immune system helps to ward off infections and maintain a healthy digestive system so it doesn’t have to work overtime to do its job. Late summer can be a damp time of year so avoid processed or stale foods, cook your food gently and drink plenty of green and jasmine tea
When Earth is off balance, internal cycles may suffer. Earth thrives on routine rhythms which settles the nervous system, stabilises blood sugars and lowers blood pressure but it can be over stimulated with hot spices and caffeine. Balancing work, socializing and self care is essential for healthy body, mind and spirit.
Earth is where we are rooted…where we go to renew…and from which we can grow, blossom, and live life. Everything stems from the Earth…and Late Summer is time to harvest the fruit.