Summer Solstice Workshop

On Sunday,  auspiciously on the weekend of the Summer Solstice and the Super Moon,  my acupuncturist and friend,  Erin Telford and I brought our first Seasonal Workshop to the masses.
I couldn't be happier with the turnout and the knowledge we brought to 16 amazing people.  It can only get bigger and brighter from here and we are planning another workshop to align you with Falls energy around the Equinox so stay tuned.  Here is a glimpse of a few things you might have missed if you didn't make it.

Erin began with some tips for a healthy summer.  "In Chinese Medicine, top priority is given to the Heart and Small intestine during the season.  These two organs are represented by the Fire element.  The element is also associated with the color red,  bitter flavors and unsorted or scattered emotions,  which can be transformed into love, profound lasting joy and creativity.  Growth, happiness and spiritual awareness between the heart and the mind are the focus now.  We can subtly alter our self care behaviors to resonate deeply with the tempo of summer,  paving the way for greater health the next time the seasons change."

Highlights included regulating your body's temperature by eating "cooling" foods,  connecting and engaging with loved ones by socializing and celebrating, and the importance of staying hydrated.

I followed up with a fun smelling session of oils that will cool you off in the wake of summer heat.
A few of these oils include wearing peppermint on the back of your neck to suppress an excess of Yang energy causing tension in the neck and shoulders.  Bergamot to curb stomach fire and stress manifesting in the digestive system, and sandalwood which cools and calms while opening the third eye,  connecting the base and crown chakras which aids in meditation and trouble sleeping.

After sitting for awhile,  we decided to move. With so much Yang energy in the air,  it makes sense to alter your summer practice to a slower practice with a longer Yin style session to balance all the energy in the air.  The 45 minute session included expansive poses to move heat,  forward bends to calm the mind and slower more restorative poses to rejuvenate Yin energy in the years most Yang season.  Most poses opened up the heart and small intestine channels located in the chest,  arms and shoulders and all poses were made to nourish the heart.

Heart is the seat of the spirit,  our personality our day to day moods.  When unsettled or over heated,  we can become agitated or filled with anxiety. When the Heart energy is depleted, we feel depressed or have problems with self love.   The small intestine channel is the place where we sort out whats important and what is discard able on all levels in the body and minds. Excess heat in the small intestine can cause stomach pains, constipation or IBS.  The heart/small intestine Qi primary function is to rule the blood.  The concept of blood in Chinese medicine is quite different from Western concept of blood.  Blood is considered the Yin aspect of Qi it is the aspect responsible for receptivity rather than engagement.  Whereas Qi is active, blood gives us the capacity to embrace and be comfortable with what has already been created.  It holds.  Qi gives us the ability to respond,  blood gives us the ability to be comfortable being still.  Adding a Yin practice to your daily routine gives comfort to the heart.  An example of a cooling,  heart opening Yin pose is a supported shoulder stand.  Come to a supported bridge pose and slowly lift up your legs towards the ceiling and let the blood replenish the energy in the heart and the brain.  Open up your arms up above your head on the floor to open the heart and stretch the heart and small intestine meridians.  Legs up the wall is a welcome alternative to cool and calm this summer.

We need to do yoga poses in a Yin way.  This means that instead of coming into a pose for a short amount of time and hugging the bones close together by engaging the muscles( a skillful way to work with yang tissue), we have to pull the skeleton apart non aggressively and with appropriate pressure and then remain stationary a while, allowing the muscles to remain stretched but without engaging them.  Since ligaments do not have a high fluid content, they do not respond to use as rapidly as yang tissues. So instead of staying in a pose for many breathes, in Yin yoga we stay in them for many minutes.

The unhurried and un ambitious attitude combined with the ability to feel deeply attentive to our bodies diminishes our stress levels and allows our system to discharge excess tensions that have built up through unaware living as well as past frozen traumas that are locked in our tissues.  As we settle down and drop into mindfulness,  this discharge from our energy body naturally calming and balancing, enhancing the overall quality of Qi.

Stay tuned for our next workshop around the Equinox!!!