Tag Archives: transitions

Yogapuncture for Late Summer: Spleen, Damp, Worry and Transitions

Calendula

The spleen and stomach system relate to the season of late summer, approximately the last month of summer time as well as the last 18 days or so of each season when we are slowly but surely becoming the next season. Because of this and the other functions of the spleen system it is closely tied with transitions environmentally, energetically, emotionally, and physically. In class we explored the breath and the space between the inhalations and exhalations, the place where one becomes the next.

Here is the quick reference for the spleen system:

Element: Earth                    Color: Yellow

Taste: Sweet                         Emotion: Overthinking/Worry

Opens to: Mouth                 Manifests on: Lips                            Controls: Muscles and extremities

The main function of the Spleen system is to transport and transform the food we eat. When you think of the spleen/stomach it is easy to think about digestion. This system takes the food we consume and transforms it into usable energy then takes it where the body needs it so it can be used. Digestion and absorption is all about the spleen. The spleen also plays a role in overseeing the water in our bodies as well making sure it is where it needs to be and taking it away from where it doesn’t belong. The pathogen of the spleen is dampness. If you’ve ever been outside on a damp day you can feel it in your body in a distinct way. People who have spleen imbalance can be very sensitive to this kind of weather. Other examples of dampness in the body include pain that is worse in damp weather, heavy achy limbs, edema, diarrhea, phlegm, and retained fluid.

The spleen also controls the blood. While the heart pumps the blood throughout the body and the liver stores it at rest the spleen makes sure the blood is contained where it is supposed to be. When the spleen is weak you may experience bleeding because of this such as spotting in between periods, long or heavy periods, nose bleeds etc

The spleen also controls the muscles and limbs and containment is involved here as well. Healthy muscles are those that contract when used and relax at rest. When the spleen is weak the muscles will be weak and the skin flabby. Malnourishment or excessive consumption of processed foods can cause this weakness in the body as well. Energetically the spleen moves upwards, when this energy is weak it can cause issues with the muscles such as prolapse of the uterus, rectum or other internal organs.

The spleen manifests on the lips. When the lips are soft, red and full it indicates the health of the spleen energy. When pale, dry or thin this can indicate issues or depletion of the spleen energy.

The taste of the spleen is sweet but not the way you might associate this flavor with. Full sweet flavor comes from root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, beets, wheat, sweet peppers, corn, squashes etc Because the spleen is essentially a part of all seasons as the space between one and the next you can think of spleen foods as the foundations of your diet. Many orange and yellow foods are great first foods for babies when introducing solids because they are easy to digest.

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

The emotion is worry or overthinking. I can imagine when we depended on growing our own food how this season could be a time of worry. Did the crops yield enough to sell and hold us over winter? Would the coming winter be a rough one? In modern times we damage our spleen energy with multi-tasking. The spleen has many jobs but it is important to take it one step at a time. One way to protect your spleen is to make meal time your one and only priority. Turn the television off, put your smart phone in another room and enjoy the aromas and delicious sight of your foods. Chew thoroughly before taking another bite, putting your fork down in between tastes and enjoy good company and conversation.

If you find yourself in a state of ruminating and can’t get your mind to get off the hamster wheel the best way to clear your mind is to do movement where your opposite hand moves with your opposite foot. Walking is a perfect example of this and even simply walking in place can help especially if your thoughts start up when you’re trying to sleep.

Here are some spleen recipes:

Golden Milk, a spleen tonic

Green Lentil Curry

Mindful Eating for Thanksgiving

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

http://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-vegetarian-408973

Savory Pumpkin and Feta Muffins

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Tomato Basil Chicken Sausage

The color of the season is yellow and it is easy to see why. Look around outside and everywhere you look there is vibrant yellow. The fields are golden, the flowers are yellow and even some dried leaves are yellow in color. Eating foods that are yellow are also beneficial to the spleen system.

 

 

Late Summer Transitioning

Can you feel it? Autumn is on the breeze, ever so slightly. Its a whisper in the urgency we feel as we race to the pool for the last dips of the season, as we watch the sun dipping slowly down the horizon faster than we would like as the dew of the grass feels a little too cool in the early mornings and evenings. The garden is slowly but surely going to seed, leaves drying out in a blaze of yellow.

It amazes me to watch the subtle connection my children have to the seasons. In the height of summer their energy seems to have no bounds, they push bed time as far as they can with all sorts of joy filled shenanigans and wake early with the sun ready to start a new. I think to myself how will I ever get them to bed on time for school even when its months away and then that tiny whisper on the breeze beckons them to bed a little earlier, the shenanigans don’t last quite as long, they don’t fight the heaviness on their eye lids, they wake with the sun which is also a little later to rise. There is always so much to learn.

In Chinese Medicine the Spleen and Stomach system relate traditionally to late summer and also any periods of transitions whether that be between seasons of the environment, seasons of our lives or the ebb and flow of our days. The spleen correlates to the earth which is our center. Its job is to ripen and rot our food to be transformed and transported throughout the body to be made into usable energy. Its emotion is worry or over thinking and controls the mouth and the muscles of the body. Most Americans can be classified as spleen (qi) energy deficient because of our fast lifestyle and empty diet.

Join me Friday September 15th from 7:15-9:45 in Crystal Lake as we explore the Spleen/Stomach system a little deeper through gentle yoga practice, acupressure, acupuncture, and nourishing foods. If the cooler weather leaves you with a feeling of dread, you struggle with digestive issues, are going through a life transition or just like learning this class is for you. Space is limited and I would love to see you there! Look for a facebook event to reserve your spot soon.

Until then enjoy the last bits of summer. 😉

Mango Kiwi Salsa

We’ve been having such an unusual “winter” this year. I hope you’ve been enjoying the mild weather and sun shine as much as I have. This salsa was inspired by the season of transition from winter to spring. The flavor of winter and the kidney system is salt, the flavor of the spleen system and transitions is sweet, and the flavor of spring and the liver system is sour. This salsa has a little bit of each flavor and its quite tasty and easy to make. You can enjoy it all through the spring time too as the sour flavors and cilantro have a gentle detoxifying effect on the body. We enjoyed it yesterday at a very special Yogapuncture for Balance with couples, hosted by Jill Eggert at Malooley Chiropractic in Cary.

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What you need:

2 Mangos, cubed (spleen)

3 Kiwis, cubed (Liver)

1 punch of cilantro chopped (Liver)

Juice of one Lime, or more to taste as you desire (Liver)

A pinch of salt to taste (Kidney)

Corn Tortilla Chips (Spleen/Kidney)

What you do:

Mix everything together and let stand. Eat at room temperature. Refrigerate to retain freshness, eat in 1-3 days. Enjoy!