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Summer Solstice

hawthorn blossom

We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, Summer finally feels like it has arrived…

Isn’t it just wonderful to feel the warm air on your skin and be able to expose your legs and arms to top up those Vitamin D levels after what my local farmer called the longest winter he had ever known!

The summer heat really provides an energy to our spirit. 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine it is the season of Fire and Expansion.  It is the time of peak vitality and outward and upward movement. Ruled by the element of fire, summer is the most yang time of the year.

With every season comes change and the clearest sign of abundant health and vitality is our ability to adapt to it and maintain balance as we move from one to the next. So how do you best keep your body in balance at this time of year? 

Using our intuition and listening to our body trusting it will give us the right answer. 

Stay Cool 

Whenever there is heat it feels natural to seek out the cool breeze and enjoy cooling moist foods along with sweet fresh fruits. These are the foods that are in ready supply at this time of year like fresh cucumbers, salad leaves, strawberries to name a few.  The foods to avoid are the heavy, spicy and greasy ones which are internally warming.

Love your Heart

In traditional Chinese medicine the organ associated with Summer is the heart so looking for ways to support this valuable organ will help maintain your sense of wellbeing during these months.  

Plants often grow during the time and in the place, they are needed. So, in identifying the plants that are currently blooming we can find our supports. 

The white clouds of the hawthorn blossom decorate the Moors and hedgerows at the moment. The hawthorn is one of our best heart support plants. Its latin name is Crataegus. Whether you have high or low blood pressure or general weakness from trauma it is a wonderful go to herb to help strengthen this important organ. 

The blossoms can be placed on the tongue or dried as a tea and the berries can be used in the same way or you can cover them in alcohol to make a tincture. 

Sea and Seaweed

Where there is fire it feels natural to want to immerse yourself in water so once summer arrives, we feel the desire to seek out the seashore and everything that it brings.  The coast can provide us with the minerals and vitamins that serve us well at this time of year.

Swimming in the sea and breathing the sea air allows you to absorb important anti-stress minerals like magnesium. This happens when we walk barefoot on the seaweeds too.

The inner sap of seaweeds like bladderwrack can be used on sunburn to cool and relieve any inflammation. 

The sea vegetables and seafood. These foods are naturally rich in iodine important for proper development of bone and brain during pregnancy. They also contain zinc, something that is not only important for our immunity it is crucial for our fertility.  Why this talk of babies?  Well….

On the 21st of this month we meet the Summer Solstice. The solstice is traditionally a time when we would drink and be merry late into the night.

It is a great time of year to conceive a baby as they will be born in the Spring when historically after the hardship of winter there was an abundance of food to go round and the air temperature is warmer and more supportive to new life.

Self Love 

Summer corresponds to our solar plexus chakra – our centre for personal power where the source of our confidence and self-discipline is found. This comes through self-love and self-respect. 

Summer is a time to give your body the love it deserves.

In India the ayurvedic philosophy recommends massaging the body daily with sesame or coconut oil to replenish dry skin and add rose petals to your diet and bath which support our heart.

Siesta

Summer is the season for siestas.  Sleeping during the day helps to replenish lost moisture and strengthen the body. It is recommended in Ayurveda that you do your napping in a semi-reclined position or lying down on the left side. Lying on the left side is thought to offer the most benefits to your health as organs are freer to remove toxins whilst you sleep. Wait at least an hour after eating and nap no more than 30 minutes.

Sleep under the night sky

The opposite of Father Sun is Mother Moon. If you are able to sleep outdoors on warmer evenings or moon bathe with (or ideally without) clothing before bed it can have a very cooling effect on the body.

The ancient Greeks marked the summer solstice on their calendars as the first official day of the year. 

Why not use this transition period to reaffirm your visions for the rest of the year and say a little prayer of gratitude for the achievements and learnings that have come so far? 

I leave you with a quote by John Lubbock which feels fitting advice for the Summer months. 

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Enjoy your Summer x

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