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Our ancestors marked the transition of seasons with festivals and rituals. This was to help us inter

The festive celebrations are approaching, marking the end of the year with thoughts, plans, expectations and wishes for the new year to come. In Taoist Philosophy the external is a reflection of the internal, "as above, so below". Ritual is an important practice for letting go of the old to make room for the new. Most of us are probably unaware of how much Ritual plays in our lives. Our ancestors marked the transition of seasons with festivals and rituals to help us internalize, and adapt to change on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere it marks the beginning of summer, and theFire Element. Summer is the time when Yang is at its zenith, full and brilliant; giving heat, light, abundance, illumination and expansion. In Taoist Medicine, the organ associated with the fire element and this season is the Heart. The heart in Chinese is the same character for the Mind. The Heart therefore rules everything including our blood, organs, emotions, thoughts and spirit. If the heart is disturbed, everything is disturbed. Therefore this festive season marks a great time to clear the body, emotions, and mind so we can make room for expansion and growth with clear intention and direction which coincides perfectly with a new year's resolution - out with the old and in with the new. During the season of the Fire Element, everything grows in the heat, sometimes things even combust. This is a time to allow the body, mind and spirit to release open, this will open our internal space and allow the finest things to blossom; what was tight and constricted in the winter can now relax and loosen.

The season of the fire element is a time to enjoy the sun and spend time outdoors. In moderation of course, be aware that fire can burn, and controls metal therefore too much sun can damage the skin and protective (wei) Qi. It is a time to be active, but ensure you don't overdue things, as fire can easily burn out of control. This is also a season where a wealth of locally grown fruits and vegetables abound. Enjoy this vast array of seasonal delights.

In Taoist Medicine all foods contain properties of being either cooling or warming. Summer being the time of Fire, is the time where we naturally want and are able to eat more cooling foods, such as: watermelon, green tea, bean sprouts, leafy greens, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, tomato, cucumber, asparagus, mint, seaweed, fish and shell fish. Be aware of how you feel, and don't overdo it with too many cooling foods or one can easily disrupt or damage their digestion. Eating too many raw and cold foods may cause you to feel cold, sluggish and/or bloated. Remember balance is the key to health and well being. If you are unsure about which foods are warming or cooling, pay attention to how some foods make you feel. For instance chilies are hot, peppermint is cold. Green and Blue foods tend to be cooling, while Orange, Red and Yellow foods tend to be warming. Foods grown below ground tend to be more warming while those grown above tend to be more cooling. To aid digestion of cold foods it is recommended you add a little ginger, steam your vegetables and fish, and enjoy plenty of soup.

Since summer is ruled by expansion and lengthening, it is a particularly good time for more dynamic styles of QiGong that activate the ligaments, open and close the joints, and spiral the tissue, while calming the mind and benefitting the heart. Slow down and spend some time between the Solstice/Christmas and the New Year in reflection so you can set a clear and focused intention for the year ahead, and soar to new heights like the Red Bird (Pheonix) reborn and renewed. WuYi QiGong courses resume the first week of February. Click here to see the course timeline for 2015.

Book an appointment with RJ to get your health on track for the summer solstice, a rebirth into the new you!


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