“The three months of Summer denote opulence and blossoming. Qi interacts with heaven and earth and the myriad of beings bloom and bear fruit.”
-The Great Treatise on Regulating the Spirit with the Four Seasons (四氣調神大論)
Happy Summer Qi Friends!
Everything in the Universe is energy, and energy takes two fundamental forms: Yin and Yang. The five seasons shift between these two states throughout the year. This month those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will experience the Summer Solstice, when the Yang energy is strongest. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the Winter Solstice, when Yin energy is strongest. Wherever you are in the world, it is a powerful time to attune your energy and flow with nature. This season the YOQI Video Library contains a variety of fun and spiritually charged routines that will activate, balance and attune you to summer’s vibration.
THE ENERGY OF SUMMER: EXPANSION
The Chinese character for the word summer, xia 夏, is an image of a man standing under the scorching sun. Summer is the Great Yang (Tai Yang 太陽) when the days are longest, and the nights are shortest. The consistent heat of summer ripens the fruits of our hearts, creating the sweetest and juiciest energy of the year: joy and love.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is the peak of nature’s expansion, so it is the best time for us to express the most yang aspect of ourselves. It's the time to live life to the fullest, nourish our spirit and dare to go places we have not gone before. Summer's sunshine invites us to go outside and to be more active through movement and play. While in winter we should sleep more to nourish yin, in summer we can get away with less sleep (still remembering to always tend to the needs of our individual state of health). Dynamic relaxation, joyful flow and laughing qigong are beautiful characteristics of summer qigong practices.
Energetically, summer is also a powerful time for transforming energy. The element of summer is Fire. In our body, Fire connects to the Heart Fire, or Imperial Fire, that resonates the human force of unconditional love and acceptance. Therefore, many qigong practices for summer come from Spiritual Qigong traditions that focus on internal alchemy; the process of transforming and refining our vibration to its highest potential.
A QIGONG PRACTICE FOR SUMMER
Physically, summer qigong practices focus on the organs of the fire element: the heart and small intestine.
The heart is a miraculous pump that ensures a constant circulation of oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body. The average heart beats 100,000 times per day and pumps about 7,200 liters (1,900 gallons) of blood! Every cell must relax and contract in a precise rhythm for the heart to keep us alive. One tiny hiccup can disrupt the electrical signals, causing a heart attack or stroke. The relaxation, rhythmic movement, and patience cultivated through qigong are all beneficial to regulate the physical aspects of the heart.
Although the element of the heart is Fire, too much Fire or Heat disturbs the heart. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when heat collects in one area of the body this is called “fire poison", otherwise known as inflammation. Summer, being the hottest time of the year, has its own two pathologies called Summer Heat and Summer Damp Heat. The symptoms of Summer Heat are dizziness, confusion, lack of sweating after profuse sweating, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle cramps, and fainting. Summer Damp Heat symptoms include nausea or vomiting, poor appetite, stuffy chest, heavy or fatigued limbs, and diarrhea. In extremely hot summer weather it is important to dress lightly, drink lots of fluids and take care not to physically overexert yourself. Practice qigong early in the morning or later in the evening.
The YOQI Summer Qigong Flow to Purge video focuses on specific exercises that clear summer heat, calm emotional heat and move the qi in the blood. The Qigong Flow to Tonify and Qigong Flow to Circulate are both designed to activate the heart fire, nourish the blood, balance yin and yang and cultivate patience. The complete routines that balance the heart fire are Qigong Flow for a Happy Heart and Qigong Flow to Activate the Three Treasures.
Emotionally our practice will focus on the emotions of summer: transforming impatience or hatred into acceptance and compassion.
The heart is the emperor and rules the kingdom of our emotions. While each organ in the body resonates with a particular emotion, the heart is always affected first. In Chinese language, the heart is such a powerful aspect of our being that it is recognized as having it’s own consciousness called the heart mind (xin nian). The heart mind perceives situations based on feeling and emotion (in contrast to the conscious mind, yi nian, that perceives based on logic and wisdom). As we have learned in The Six Healing Soundspractice video, the five primary emotions are anger, hatred, worry, grief, and fear. Hatred is the most volatile emotion that resonates in the heart. Hatred and impatience create heat and a violent movement that causes energy to rise and leak out. Qigong flows that balance the heart transform anger or impatience into love and joy. For this the Six Healing Sounds Seated Meditation, Yin Yoga for Emotional Balance, Yin Yoga for a High Vibrationand Guided Inner Smile Audio Meditation are all practices designed to regulate the heart consciousness.
When negative emotions are transformed into positive virtues, the heart becomes a cauldron of spiritual light that can bring joy to the whole kingdom. As the positive virtues combine in the heart center they are further refined into the ultimate spiritual energy, compassion. Compassion is a vibration that exudes a quality of magnetism: it touches others and is reflected to the person expressing the emotion. Qigong Flow for a Happy Heart and Qigong Flow to Circulate are dynamic routines that cultivate the virtues of the heart.
Energetically, summer supports your ability to connect meaningfully to the world around you.
The heart is located in a very auspicious part of the body: the chest. The heart center is the energy center of love, called the middle dantian, while the physical heart organ is the home of the small spirit, called the shen. The spiritual goal of the heart spirit is Eternal Happiness through meaningful and intimate connections with the world.
The word spirit has many meanings in Chinese, as it does in English. In this context we can describe two aspects of Shen (神): the large Shen that resides at the upper dantian and guides our higher Self, and the small shen that resides in the heart organ. The large Shen and the small shen are intimately connected. The Large Shen is the all-knowing and unconditionally loving self. It is the connection to the source, which is limitless and formless. The small shen is conscious awareness and has the responsibility to make sure that the Large Spirit connects properly with the world of time and space. It’s like a bridge between our formless self and the world around us. When the heart spirit is balanced we express appropriate behavior, respect and care for others, are helpful and thoughtful at the right moment.When heart spirit disturbed there can be symptoms of insomnia, lack of enthusiasm, disconnection, lonliness, situational anxiety, and inappropriate behavior.
Surrounding the heart at the center of the chest is a vast resovoir of love, called the middle dantian. A dantian is an area in the body where qi gathers, is refined, exchanged and stored. Complimentary to the heart shen, when the middle dantian is strong we feel loving compassionate, generous, patient, understanding and we have the ability to love and be loved. When it is weak we feel unfulfilled, rejected, hypersensitive, shy, disturbed, lonely miserable, misunderstood.
The energy of summer supports full expression and expansion of the heart spirit and middle dantian. This season’s program introduces spiritual qigong practices that focus on internal alchemy. They are Qigong Flow to Activate the Three Treasures, Three Three Fires, Six Directions and Microcosmic Orbit, Yin yoga and the Microcosmic Orbit and Expanding the Central Meridian. To complement our yang practices, there is a new MP3 guided audio meditation for summer called the Guided Three Treasures Meditationdesigned to integrate and harmonize the three dantian.
The suggested complete routine for your practice this month is Qigong Flow for Happy Heart. This qigong flow routine is designed to purify, nourish and balance the heart and small intestine. The exercises work with the fire element to detoxify impurities and ignite our internal power and move through a process of internal alchemy by uniting fire and water, ultimately invoking our sense of compassion and wisdom. Enjoy the scenery of the ancient Buddhist temple ruins in Ayuthaya, Thailand.
VIDEO LIBRARY PROGRAM FOR SUMMER
Qigong Flow for Happy Happy Heart
Summer Qigong to Purge and Detoxify
Summer Qigong to Tonify
Summer Qigong to Tonify special edition
Summer Qigong to Circulate
Three Fires and Six Directions & Opening the Microcosmic Orbit
The Three Treasures Activation Flow
Central Meridian Expansion
Yin Yoga and The Microcosmic Orbit
Note: These videos will appear at the top of the library status throughout the summer season.
DESIGNING YOUR SUMMER PRACTICE
This seasons QiBLOG post features the four keys to a powerful qigong practice.
1. Harmonize your routine with the season
2. Emphasize practices that address your state of qi
3. Practice quality over quantity
4. Practice consistently over time
Read the full blog post here.
You will find that all the videos added to the library this season address these four keys. So, I suggest that you focus on mastering the exercises in these specific routines this season, practicing quality over quantity. With consistent dedication and skillful effort, your qi and inner light shall blossom….
May the life force be with you!