In Chinese medicine, fire is the element of the early summer. It is associated with the shen or spirit, which resides inside the Heart. An imbalanced fire element can lead to either depression or excess joy (mania). Taking advantage of the long days is one of the best ways to maintain balance in the Heart. Wake early and sleep a little later – it is the only season encouraged to sleep a bit late! Because of the long days, it is best to also rest in the afternoon. The Heart time is from 11am-1pm. A quick power nap will revitalize the Heart for the rest of the day!
Our Seattle summer is looking pretty sunny so far. There are many forms of nourishment, and cosmic energy is certainly one of them; Daverick Leggett words it so well:
“We are constantly affected by vibrational waves of energy, such as light, reaching our planet from space. We depend on light for synthesis of certain vitamins and minerals and the regulation of our biological clock. Daylight entering the eyes in conveyed by the retina to the pineal and pituitary glands. These glands are important parts of the hormonal system and their functioning strongly influences our mood and vitality. It is ultraviolet light which is vital; and this is the portion of the spectrum not present in artificial light. It is also the portion of the light spectrum which is filtered out by glass and by air pollution.”
As said before, in Chinese medicine, fire is the element of the early summer. It is associated with the shen or spirit, which resides inside the Heart. The Chinese character for heart is an empty vessel. The sun functions best when the sky is clear of clouds. A severe pathology of this system includes “phlegm misting the heart.”
Meditation is one of the best methods to maintain clarity in this empty vessel. The root of meditation is to clear thoughts and unnecessary chatter. Meditation clears the “misting,” allowing the sun to shine through, revealing one’s true nature.
Turning your world upside down just for a moment sure gets your heart pumping and racing!
One of the Heart’s functions is to pump oxygen rich blood throughout the body. Physiologically, inversions, via gravity, encourage the return of venous (non-oxygenated) blood back to the heart, thereby increasing the cardiac output (volume of blood pumped out/min). In Chinese medicine, this can simply be stated as “inversions help tonify the Heart QI.” Qi is the functional or physiological aspect.
Inversions also encourage proper alignment. In order to maintain balance, one must align shoulders over wrists, hips over shoulders, and ankles over hips. One of the extraordinary vessels, the DU mai, runs up along the length of the spine, through the heart, the brain, and terminates at the upper gum.
More spiritually, proper alignment aids in the connection with the divine – whether that’s with our self, or something greater than the self, up in the heavens. Many acupuncture points along the DU mai are indicated to harmonize the relationship between the brain and the spirit (Heart). DU-20 or “Baihui” at the crown of the head is named “Hundred Meetings” as it is the meeting point of all the yang channels and is able to treat the ‘one hundred diseases.’ It correlates to the upper dantian in qigong, or the crown chakra in yoga and ayruvedic medicine.