Isn't the light this time of year just spectacular? In the late summer if you look around you can feel the sigh of Mother Earth relaxing into the glorious abundance and all of the Universe's precious creatures beginning preparing for the harvest and storage for the months ahead. It's a truly wonderful time of year...one of the five Traditional Chinese Medicine seasons - integral to the TCM five-element system.
The fifth century BC Greek physician Hippocrates, for instance, declared that a person’s health was dependent on the balance of four bodily fluids that corresponded to the natural elements of air, water, fire and earth. By paying attention to this balance, he argued, we could improve our health.
The same elemental idea – along with a fifth component (ether) – is echoed in the ancient Indian healing traditions of yoga, Ayurvedic medicine and vastu (the Indian equivalent of Chinese feng shui). And for thousands of years, Chinese philosophy has held that good health is a result of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – being in harmony. In addition to their role in qigong and internal martial arts, the five elements help determine the design principles of feng shui and the underlying structure of traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal remedies.
While paying attention to the elements might sound like another bit of quackery at first, it has proven to be a remarkably constructive way to think about how our bodies work. Getting in touch with the elements can help us find better balance – in our bodies and our lives – and help us feel more connected to the natural world.
In the late summer we focus on Earth Element and Spleen (Yin) and Stomach (Yang) Energies. This generally includes the entire digestive system and its overall health in preparation for entering into the fall and winter seasons where we will digest and use the energy we cultivated in the Spring and Summer seasons. In this podcast I go over an invitation for a meditation / energy practice focused on clarifying and tonifying Spleen Qi.
We just started learning the Qi Gong practices and sequences for Late Summer on my online learning platform, Qi Breaks. Right now I'm offering a free month, if you use the link below to sign up. Come join us and get started with building your own Spleen and Stomach energies, as well as doing wonders to heal and energize your digestive system!