Tag Archives: summer

Summer yoga sequence 

Here is the yoga sequence we did at Bonnie’s in Crystal Lake. Let’s do a Facebook live for the sequence at Ohm Mother Yoga especially for those of you who wanted a slightly more active class. ūüôā I’ll keep you posted with a date for July. Photo credit to my joy filled mom Joyce Zender-Hodnett for the pictures by her roses. 


Centering with mudra: touch index and thumb together, place left palm up on thigh and right hand over heart. Find your breath. Inhale from base of the spine up and exhale from crown of the head down. Hold 2-10 minutes 

Shoulder shrugs and upper body alignment. (Not pictured) sit at end of seat feet hip distance apart. Inhale shoulders up to ears and exhale shoulders down. Let movements match breath. 

Lengthen the exhale: inhale shoulders up 

Exhale squeeze shoulder blades then slide shoulder blades down into back pockets

Feel the shoulder girdle grounded (we return to this in chair downdog)


Seated pigeon pose with over head stretch

Square hips and cross ankle over opposite thigh, let knee open 

Inhale arms up, exhale opposite arm back for extra stretch use other hand on elbow as pictured 


Inhale arms to T exhale and twist as far as upper body allows, take a breath here then deepen with hand behind you and on thigh if you wish


Take opposite hand to opposite thigh and take the other arm into a side stretch 


Take the arm in side stretch to opposite knee or thigh and round the back


Curl up from rounded back by crossing arms at elbows in eagle arms, soften shoulders and lift elbows. Palms work towards facing each other or clasping


Seated Cat

Inhale arch back and reach arms out in soft cactus position

Exhale round spine and reach arms forward 

Do 3-6 rounds


Chair lunge 

Swivel to the side of chair, back leg can be straight or bent, you could even put a block under a bent knee for support


Chair dog

Check your arm pit to feel the head of the humerus plugged into the socket, in downdog we feel this by releasing the shoulders away from the ears like we did in the beginning of class only now you are partially upside down 


Chair dancer

Keep the knees in line and bend your knee, bend the elbow and hold your hand out like you would holding a tray feel your chest open, stay here or scoop the inside of your ankle


Remember these fun stretches that open the meridians and nerves of the hands? Arms in a T ground the shoulders down, draw the ribs in and press the heel of the hands out as fingers reach toward shoulders, play around with fingers and wrist location for a different stretch, go deeper by slowly and gently tilting the head from side to side 


Seated band bend

Take hands to side of chair or back of chair depending on how open your chest and shoulders feel, lift up through the chest let the head and throats soften back


Chair fold

Rest torso on thighs and fold forward, reach for ground or block


Seated twist

One hand on block or floor and one reaching up, head can be neutral, looking up or down 


Closing

Hands in prayer, thumbs resting on third eye 

Summer Yogapuncture

Summer is the time of expansion, growth, lightness, brightness, outward activity and creativity. Its when the energy around us is most superficial, abundant and available. Just look outside and see everything in full bloom.

In Chinese Medicine the summer is the time of the element of Fire and the meridians most active pertain to the Heart and Small intestine channel. Perhaps because the energy is so available this season has another organ pair active as well: the pericardium and triple warmer.

When you think of summer here is an easy cheat sheet. I’ll get into the specifics below

Color: Red               Taste: Bitter

Emotion: Joy           Meridians: Heat/Small intestine and Pericardium/Triple Warmer

Element: Fire          External Factor: Heat

Opens to tongue    Controls Sweating

The main function of the heart/small intestine system is circulation just like what you would think about in western medicine. In Chinese Medicine the heart also houses the mind, spirit and controls sleep and memory. Pericardium is said to be the master of the heart as well as its protector and because of this carries the same functions as the heart.

The small intestine has the job of separating the turbid from the clear for both the food we eat for usable energy and also for our thoughts.

The Triple Warmer protects the organs of the body¬†on the outside as well as controls the¬†“waterways” of the body which helps with distributing energy throughout the body. My teacher would say that the triple warmer is a concept¬†looking for an organ. There are three¬†warmers: upper, middle and lower that divide the torso in a¬†certain respect.

The tongue is an useful diagnostic tool in Chinese¬†Medicine.¬†It is the only¬†organ that is both internal and external. We look at the tongue as a way to see how the body is functioning internally. The shape, size, color and coat all tell a story. The tongue is also where the heart energy opens to. If you have trouble sleeping, are feeling restless/anxious take a peak at your tongue chances are the tip of your tongue will be redder than the rest of the tongue body. If you find a center crack on the tongue that can indicate stress in the body or can be¬†constitutional deficiency of¬†the¬†heart energy. When stress recedes in our lives typically the center crack will as well even if it doesn’t go away completely. Balanced heart energy means you have an easy time communicating your thoughts. Trouble finding words or getting “tongue tied” can indicate an imbalance with the heart. Forgetfullness is also a sign of heart energy imbalance.

The emotion of the summer is Joy. Like any emotion it should be balanced. We often associate joy as being a positive emotion that you can’t have “too much of.” An example of too much joy would¬†be shock.¬†A woman was once thrown a surprise party. When she walked into the room and saw all of these people she started to scream uncontrollably. This is an example of the excess joy taxing the heart. Another example of excess joy would be overstimulation. You might think of burning that candle at both ends as overstimulation. All fun and no rest is damaging to the heart energy of the body. Manic energy is also depleting.

Especially in the Midwest it can feel like we wait all¬†year for summer. It can feel like such a short season and we might feel compelled to get the “most” out of it. As a way to keep Joy balanced this is a perfect season to practice¬†mindfulness.

The heart energy also controls sweating in the body. The heart energy can be damaged by too much heat. If you find yourself sweating excessively or feeling hot or stuffy especially in the palms, feet and chest this can indicate a heart yin deficiency, essentially your body needs more coolant. Acupuncture, herbs and diet changes can help rectify this.

The taste of the summer is bitter. This is often referred to as the most under utilized flavor in western cuisine and perhaps for good reason. In nature typically bitter plants warn us of¬†the plant’s poisonous nature. However the¬†bitter flavor of foods helps to increase saliva which in turn helps to improve digestion which allows the body to absorb more nutrients from the foods we eat¬†giving way to our ability to have more usable energy. The bitter flavor also¬†clears¬†away heat and drains dampness which can¬†make our bodies feel heavy and lethargic,¬†not how you want to feel in the summer!

Examples of bitter foods include: celery, dandelion, burdock, yarrow, chamomile, hops, Echinacea, alfalfa, romaine lettuce, rye, asparagus, papaya, quinoa and citrus peel. Coffee and dark chocolate are also bitter.

Digestive bitters are also another great way to incorporate the bitter flavor into your diet. Take a teaspoon or so of bitters before a meal to help prime the body for digestion. If you indulge in a heavy meal that leaves you feeling full, bloated or gassy taking bitters after a meal can help assuage your symptoms. The digestive bitters that are included in the summer self care package are custom made for the summer and include cherries or strawberries (the color of summer), citrus peel (bitter element) and peppermint (aromatic and cooling). You can also use bitters mixed with some fruit and sparkling water for a low alcoholic beverage that supports your body rather than deplete it.

contains: brandy, citrus, cherries or strawberries and peppermint

I find that the bitter flavor also leaves me craving more water which is a great way to keep the body hydrated in the summer months.

I’ll leave you with this here and get into the diet of summer in the next post so its not so overwhelming¬†and then will have 2 yoga sequences for you to use through out summer as well. Stay tuned!¬†There are still a few self care packages available for purchase as well, let me know if you would like one. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†ūüôā

Summer Self Care Packages

Doesn’t it feel like sometimes we wait all year for the summer sunshine and before we know it, its over? These care packages were designed to support you for a healthy summer season.
Each package includes a Pink Salt Foot Soak, Relaxed and Energized Tea, Digestive Bitters and An after sun serum. Below I’ll go into a little detail about the benefits of each. When you purchase your self care package you will also get access to a special blog post just for you with the recipes for each item so you can make more on your own!

 

Pink Salt Foot Soak

contains: pink Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, baking soda and lavender flowers

Summer is the time when we are more active and often times NOT wearing the most supportive shoes. This foot soak replenishes the body with magnesium from the Epsom salts and over¬†84 minerals and elements¬†from the pink salts. The combo of pink salt, Epsom salt and baking soda make it very similar to taking a dip in the ocean which is very replenishing for the whole body. Lavender can also be cooling and its considered to be an adaptogen herb. While its known to be calming it can also be energizing if that’s what your body needs as well.¬†The foot soak is¬†a great thing to do before bed for a good nights sleep as well. (You can recycle the foot soak water and use it to feed your plants or garden when you are done too)

Relaxed and Energized Tea

contains: chamomile, hibiscus and rosehips

The color of the summer season is Red and this delightful tea blend is perfect iced or hot for summer. The chamomile keeps the tea calming and the circulatory properties of the hibiscus and rose hips are great for a non-ca ffeinated pick me up during the afternoon slump.

Digestive Bitters

contains: brandy, citrus, cherries or strawberries and peppermint

The flavor of the summer season is bitter which is the most deficient flavor of US cuisine. These bitters boast the flavors and colors of summer and help support digestion. Take 20-30 minutes before a meal to prime digestion or after a meal if you’ve over indulged to aid fullness and gas. Mixed with sparkling water and fruit wedges its a perfect low alcoholic summer cocktail that benefits the body.

After Sun Serum

Contains: jojoba oil, avocado oil, elderflower, calendula, gree tea, rosemary extract and lavender

This after sun serum is infused by the sun much like a sun tea. The herbs are strained out before bottled. A little goes a long way to nourish the skin before an after prolonged sun exposure. Massage gently into skin.

 

If you would like to order a self care package they will be available at the Crystal Lake Yogapuncture this Friday at Bonnie’s house or next Saturday at OhmMother Yoga. I can also ship to you for an additional fee. The cost is $35.

How to Make Watermelon Juice

melon

We’ve already talked about watermelon and why its great to have around in the summer time here.¬†Watermelon is known for its ability to maintain a healthy weight and used alot to help with weight loss and water retention. This recipe is the perfect balance for summer with the cool refreshing watermelon and warm ginger to help your digestion. Its a great way to use up leftover watermelon after a day at the beach or camping too. Let me know what you think!

ginger

What you need: 

1/2 cup water

8 cups watermelon, include rind for extra heat clearing properties

3 T fresh ginger

1/2 tsp of salt (preferably pink Himalaya salt)

juice

What you do:

Place all ingredients in blender and juice. Add more water or less depending on your preference and how juicy your watermelon is. Enjoy! ūüôā

Stay Healthy for Summer

The heart and small intestine system are most active in the summer time.

File:Field of sunflowers.JPG

 

The energy of the heart is responsible for circulating the blood. When the heart qi is strong the complexion is rosy. The heart also houses the mind which means controlling both the outward appearance of vital activities of the entire body as well as consciousness in terms of spirit and mental activities. Because of this, the heart governs the memory as well as sleep. It is also said that the heart opens to the tongue. When the heart qi becomes imbalanced or depleted one might experience trouble finding words or becoming tongue-tied due to this connection.

This system is most susceptible to heat. This is the time of year where our energy is abundant and close to the surface. If you’re not feeling energized it can be a sign you didn’t rest enough during the winter months or you may be experiencing “burn out”. Because of the relationship with the Kidneys and Heart if you struggle in the winter months or have a hard time with cold now is the time to fill your reserves so to speak. The Kidneys store your essence (genetics 25% + lifestyle 75%) Your lifestyle choices are constantly replenishing your stores of energy and this is the best way for prevention as well to thrive. Here are a few tips to stay cool for summer and support the heart and small intestine.¬†

The Heart/Small Intestine System also relates to:

File:Crystal Clear app gadu.png

 

Emotion: Joy

Taste: Bitter

Pathogen: Heat

Color: Red

Season: Summer

The heart system is damaged with¬†over stimulation. This can be easy to do in our high tech, fast paced world. There is the old adage, “all work and no play….” All play and no work can be just as damaging. Even if you enjoy the work you are doing, if all you are doing 24/7 is work this will eventually catch up with your heart and manifest in ways of insomnia, memory loss, restlessness, and other abnormal mental activities. Balance is key so that you can be the best at your job when you’re working and the best at play with you’re playing. Think about the guy at the office always working that finally “cracks.” The heart can also be easily affected by heat and you might see this manifested on someone who has a bright red face, dry mouth or mouth sores.

Nourish your Heart:

Eat foods in season. Local grown foods are best because the food has adapted to same environment you have.  Avoid heavily processed and/or greasy fried foods. 

File:Red pepper.jpg

Eat red foods especially watermelon that has a cooling effect on the body. Think strawberries, cherries, red peppers, radishes, and beets.

Cooling foods like celery, cucumbers, brocoli, zucchini, summer squash, salads and fruits.

File:Warrigal greens.JPG

Bitter greens like dandelion greens, kohlrabi and collard greens are great additions to your diet to help the heart and cleanse the blood. Leafy greens in general nourish the blood.

Laughter is the best medicine! Laugh and learn to be playful if you tend to be too serious. LaughingOutLoad.gif