Summer is the season associated with the heart according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist philosophy. It is fitting as the heart is considered the fire element and it must increase circulation in order to dissipate excess body heat during these hot months. The heart is regarded as the ‘King’ of all the organs, the home of the spirit and the controller of the emotions. The predominant positive emotions associated with the heart are love, joy and happiness. So doing what brings you joy during the summer is great for cardiovascular health!
The tongue is the sensory organ related to the heart so speaking your truth with an open heart will help to evoke other positive virtues such as honour and respect bringing more connection to the truth of who you are. Bitter is the taste associated with the heart, so if you find yourself craving bitter foods your heart may be asking for more support. The heart time is from 11am-1pm so meditating or even just sitting quietly and breathing slowly and gently at that time would be very valuable.
The heart is associated and in close proximity to the thymus gland, which is the gland of immunity. Laughter stimulates the thymus gland helping to lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones as well as boost the immune system. Even just looking in the mirror and smiling to yourself can evoke gratitude and stimulate the heart bringing a sense of internal peace.
Finding balance in the summer months is important as the energy is so active and exciting that we can sometimes over do it. One of the best ways to bring harmony to your energy is by making a connection with the earth. The earth in your hands, your feet in the sand or time in the garden, are all very beneficial ways to take time to connect with the earth. Earth energy helps to calm down your emotions and keep you grounded, especially when you smell the smells of the earth and growing things. So take a deep breath and inhale the wonderful smells and powerful energy the earth has to offer as it supports all the activities you are doing energetically.
Exercises to calm the heart during the heart season:
1) Hold the hands in the prayer gesture, palm to palm. This closes the circuit of the feminine and masculine energies generating unconditional love. The middle of the palm connects with the pericardium meridian and the baby finger to the heart meridian. These meridians connect into the chest and heart area, so by putting the hands together it helps the energy from scattering and brings it down to the lower dantien. If you can meditate or focus on your breathing while doing this gesture there will be even more benefit.
2) Brush the excess heat down from the heart to the belly with your hands directly on your chest and torso. You could make the Haaaah….. heart sound at the same time. This sounds like steam coming off a hot pot. Hot air rises! So this can help with any heart or blood pressure issues.
Foods to benefit your heart during the heart season:
Endive, escarole, broccoli rabe, arugula, bitter melon, kale, watercress, red grapes, cherries, strawberries, beets, red beans and watermelon (which cools the heart). Have a craving for dark chocolate or coffee? These bitter foods in moderation are pleasing to the heart so no guilt and just enjoy!