Katie Brindle is a Chinese medicine practitioner, healer, teacher, influencer, women’s wellness commentator and mentor with over 20 years of clinical experience. She is the founder of multi-award-winning lifestyle brand Hayo’u and leading qigong platform Hayo’uFit. Her tools and techniques teach people to heal efficiently and effectively and above all by themselves. Here Katie shows us how to harness the fiery energies of Summer.
Since ancient times, our ancestors have recognised the power and importance of living aligned with nature and using her unlimited energy for healing and renewal. During the Summer months, we have the ideal opportunity to do just this. The sun is our supreme power source and yang qi brings life, movement and energy. It is the perfect time for growth, new life, new beginnings and overall expansion.
In mid-June, we witnessed the Summer Solstice: the most yang moment in the year cycle when energy, growth, expansion and light were at their most evident. Summer Fire energy was at its peak, and we saw the longest day and the shortest night. As this yang energy reached its zenith, yin energy was reborn.
We have several more weeks of Summer ahead of us with the abundant yang fire energy encouraging us to be more active. We’ll naturally want to stay up later, get up earlier, socialise more and nurture our creative energies as we sense this heightened enthusiasm for life.
However, we need to be mindful that the exuberant Fire energy should be balanced with moments of yin self-care to ensure that we don’t burn out as the Summer energy shifts and the yang energy begins to decline.
Maintaining balance and caring for our Heart energy during this time will ensure that we don’t feel sluggish, tired or unwell during the coming Autumn months.
Just like our ancestors, we can now understand and utilise this powerful energy throughout the Summer months to recharge our health and wellbeing. It is an energy that is freely available to us all and with just a little know-how you can simply and pleasurably welcome this expansive and abundant force into your own life, reaping the benefits as we move through the seasons.
Did you know that if you experienced health imbalances during the Winter months you can use the Fire energy of Summer, when yang energy is at its peak, to strengthen the body and bring it back into balance? These simple suggestions will help you.
The Summer is a time to honour your body with clean and simple foods; to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. It is helpful to remember that Summer Fire energy can lead to overheating and excessive perspiring which can deplete qi and dehydrate the body. But because this is still a time of damp, combined with heat, it is a good idea to include foods that will both clear heat and drain dampness.
Cooling foods that nourish qi and give a much-needed boost to body fluids will be ideal, so include seasonal treats such as cucumber, tomato, honeydew melon, watermelon, peaches and plums. The Summer season also encourages us to include a little bitterness in our diet so enjoy tastes such as endive, spinach or even a touch of dark chocolate. And don’t forget to drink lots of pure, fresh water.
You might have heard me talking about the Zi Wu Chinese medicine clock, this is the 24-hour clock that determines what times are most beneficial for the health and nourishment of our organs. Zi Wu Liu Zhu means midnight-midday ebb-flow and refers to the natural and cyclical rise and decline of yin and yang energy which happens within the body every day.
To make the most of this ebb and flow we need to be asleep before 11pm. Why? Because in Chinese medicine the 11pm to 1am time slot is known as the Zi hour – the midnight hour – it is the time when yin energy transitions into yang.
To put it simply, if we are asleep before this time our bodies will experience peaceful, restorative sleep because the yin energy will ensure the rest we have is nourishing: replenishing and rejuvenating our vital substances.
However, if we are still awake after the Zi hour our bodies will have begun the natural transition to the more active yang phase and so we may struggle to fall asleep or remain asleep. Our bodies will already be stirring, getting ready for the yang activities of the day ahead.
The Wu hour – the midday hour – is from 11am – 1pm and is the opposite time of transition. It is also of great importance, according to Chinese wisdom, as it is when yang energy begins the move into yin.
Traditionally, to harmonise the body during this time of shifting energies, people would have taken a short nap; just a quick 30-minute rest before resuming their normal daily activities. As the balance of yin and yang is so important for ensuring good quality sleep during the night, this simple “yin break” during the Wu hour is an ideal self-care practice.
Living in harmony with the natural ebb and flow of yin and yang throughout the day will help to keep our organs happy and strong. It is the constant cycle of nature and life and how we find our sense of balance.
Embrace the sensorial aspects of Summer and engage the senses by walking barefoot on the grass, listening to the birdsong, enjoying the scents of the flowers and the intoxicating smell of Summer rain.
Our Heart energy can be sensitive at this time of the year so aim for calming and nurturing exercise such as gentle walking or swimming in cool water: wonderful during the Summer months as moving in the cooling yin water will balance the heat of the yang fire energy.
Spend time connecting with loved ones – including self-love in the form of hobbies or activities that feed our soul. And remember to laugh – the sound most associated with Summer!
‘Being’ is as much a part of our Fire energy as ‘doing’, so we should remember to relax in a hammock or lie on the grass and let Mother Nature nourish and recharge our shen, allowing the natural joyful emotions of the season to remain calm and balanced – essential for our Heart qi.
Quiet meditation is a lovely practice to do during the Summer months. Yang fire energy is in abundance and the additional hours of sunlight illuminate not only our external but also our internal world, so it is a good time to focus and meditate on what we want to nurture in our relationships – with ourselves and with others.
It is a time to look inwards with clarity and honesty, to understand what our soul desires and to allow the deepest and wisest part of our being – our intuition – to guide us.
Meditation will allow our Heart energy to remain calm and peaceful, to release any deeply held fears, resentment or blockages and move into the second half of the year with gratitude, joy and love. Become clear on your desires and what you want to release; embrace the yang and allow the Fire energy to cleanse and let go of anything that is holding you back, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.
Right now, yang qi is high. It is the time of peak manifestation and the perfect opportunity to harness the limitless and restorative power and intention of light energy to heal and strengthen our minds and bodies, penetrating any areas of dis-ease to enhance and invigorate our energy flow. This is the way to improve health and wellbeing.
If you haven’t already done so, download my Healing Light Trilogy and together we will learn how to embrace this gift of nature, this remarkable light energy. Through this sequence of carefully curated guided qigong and meditation classes, which can be repeated as often as required, we will let go of anything darkening our lives, our health and our happiness. We will emerge lightened, and perhaps enlightened….