Summer According to the Ancients
According to the Chinese Calendar, May 5, 2021 began the Ancient Chinese Summer. Are you ready for the season?
Over 2300 years ago in the 3rd century B.C., one of the most important ancient texts in Chinese medicine was written, which also included information on Daoist theory and lifestyle. Drafted as a dialogue between the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) and Qíbó (岐伯), his physician and minister, this classic is still in use today.
The 黃帝內經 Huangdi Neijing, translated as The Yellow Emperorʼs Internal Classic Simple Questions, covers the summer season and reads:
“In the three months of summer there is an abundance of sunshine and rain. The heavenly energy descends, and the earthly energy rises. When these energies merge, there is intercourse between heaven and earth. As a result, plants mature and animals, flowers, and fruit appear abundantly. One may retire somewhat later at this time of year, while still arising early. One should refrain from anger and stay physically active, to prevent the pores from closing and the qi from stagnating.”
The Ancient Chinese lived and worked in harmony with nature. During the colder months it was time for hibernation, and during the Spring it was time to be more active. As we approach Summer, remember to make time for the people who bring you joy, nurture creative projects, exercise outside, go on adventures, stay out a little later, drink water, and relax! Take long deep breaths and enjoy nature. Accordingly, make time for a nap in the middle of the day if you need it!
The Energy of Ancient Chinese Summer
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Summer is the most Yang time of the year. It corresponds with the Fire element which represents the heart, small intestine, and pericardium organs. During this time you will find growth both in nature as well as in your own life. The Fire element is associated with the tongue, the emotion joy, the color red, and the sound of laughter. Likewise, the climate is hot, and the taste is bitter.
The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout our entire bodies. In TCM it also houses the 神Shen or spirit. When the element of fire is balanced and in harmony with your body, it is strong and healthy, the spirit is calm and you sleep well. Disharmony within the Fire element may display itself as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, mania, or depression.
Dao Yin exercises and specified breathing techniques such as laughing Qi Gong are great to help calm the spirit. Drink enough water and most importantly, be joyful and laugh!!!
Yíngyǎng (营养) Nutritional Corner – Ancient Chinese Summer
It is recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine to eat hydrating foods during the Summer months. Try refreshing foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, pear, and mung bean soup.
If you are a Yang Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:
If you are a Yin Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:
- Mung Beans
- String Beans
- Tofu (Soy Beans, Edamame)
A Note From Jiao Shi
Summer is a time to play. Release your inner child like the first day out of school. Allow your energy to flourish and expand like the ripe fruit on a tree. Be sure to get the correct type of sunlight daily, as well as oxygen and water. Exercise and allow yourself time to rest and reset when needed.
May you enjoy your Summer, and fill your days with fun and your home with laughter!