Summer Reflections and Cultivating your Inner Smile

Summer in the UK 2014 is officially over, but before we move straight on to the season of Late Summer it is a great time to reflect on the season we have just had. The summer season was all about opening the heart. Did you experience a summer full of love and joy? What did you appreciate most this season? If there is anything you would like to have gone differently, write down these things and look at them from a positive angle, not judging yourself or others around you but looking at possible changes you can make to make your next season even better!

Joy is seen as being the major emotion connected to the well being of the heart. As the heart in traditional Chinese medicine is often referred to as the emperor, when the emperor (heart) is happy, so are all his subjects (the other organs). In our modern culture, there are more and more breakthroughs in science on understanding the world of electromagnetic phenomena, and also dramatic insights into the unconscious mind and emotional dynamics. Good health, both mental and physical, does not just rely on good nutrition, diet and exercise, but also relies upon how we think and feel. How we feel emotionally hugely effects how we feel physically, and how fit we feel physically impacts upon how fit we are mentally.

Studies by the British Medial Association have shown that as much as eighty per cent of disease is caused by negative mental attitudes. The fact that chemicals can create moods is not new, as many of these drugs can be found in nature while others are manufactured. Recent findings, by people such as Dr. Candace Pert in the field of psycho neuro-immunology, have discovered that other chemicals are actually produced by the body itself. She found that when hormones, known as endorphins, are produced by the human body, they reduce tension and stress, allowing the body to absorb the vitality of nature and the universe as well as reducing stress, enhancing the immune system and preventing cardiovascular problems.

Research conducted at Chicago University showed that laughter produced high endorphin surges. The highest sustained flow however, was not from those who laughed the most raucously, but from those who had a consistent smile and twinkle in their eye. This gives us an insight into the valued health-giving properties of yoga and chi kung. The hard styles of yoga and chi kung can create a toned and vital body, but do not necessarily produce internal endorphins to flow. The softer styles of yoga and chi kung however, induce an emotional state of happiness, pleasure and well being, which encourages the release of
endorphins, making the body more flexible and opens the arteries and tissues, which are essential for enduring health and longevity. When the body tissue is tense or armoured, the production of endorphins is blocked and the flow reduced.

This following exercise is a basic skill we all should endeavour to possess, as it gives us a powerful tool to look after ourselves and is a gateway to trigger endorphins or turn up the volume on their production.
How people respond to external events is very much a matter of perception; there is a mental and emotional filter at work here which judges what is liked and disliked. If it is liked, it triggers endorphins, but if perceived to be threatening, it triggers adrenalin, so it depends on the psychology and state of the individual. Different people have different moments when they are moved by different things, so try and notice an activity, event, person or thing that brings you joy or pleasure. This can be a smile on your face, in your eyes, or just a feeling of warming and opening of the heart.

Make the following a habit:
_ Make a list of things that bring you enjoyment.
_ Make a habit of noticing some activity, event, person, place or thing that is giving you
pleasure and add it to your list.
_ Give yourself permission to do what you enjoy.
_ Surround yourself with images and objects that remind you of what you love.
_ Keep the list up-to-date and be willing to change it.

The unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined so people can actively choose to use this mental and imaginative ability to change the biochemistry of their body.

Cultivating the inner smile

is a Neidan practice of the Chinese internal alchemy (a way of cultivating life).

Sit comfortably in a straight backed chair or on the floor. Take a couple
of deep, slow breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each
inhalation, then relax back towards your spine with each exhalation,
and release any thoughts of the past or future. Rest the tip of your
tongue behind your teeth on the roof of your mouth. Now think of
the thing, activity, event or place you really love or which gives
you pleasure to recall. Allow an inner smile of joy, wisdom and
compassion to form behind the eyes then direct it towards the
heart or any area of the body that needs healing or to release
tension. Stay there until it feels complete and then return the
focus to the abdomen.

Artwork by Rogi Yogi Bear :)

Artwork by Rogi Yogi Bear :)

Open Your Heart this Summer!

image

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the organs which are in focus in the summer season are the heart and the small intestine. Here we are going to be looking at the heart and different ways you can open your heart centre, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The heart is much more than just a pump for transporting blood around our bodies. The heart and the brain are closely related, therefore when our hearts are functioning healthily we experience  emotional balance, higher creativity and increased personal effectiveness. We become more joyful, enthusiastic and can love our lives. Positive thoughts and emotions help us to produce healthy heart rhythms which has a positive effect on our nervous systems.

However if our hearts are out of balance we can suffer from stress, tension, emotional unease, insomnia, circulatory problems and feel easily offended, to name but a few! So it makes sense to keep our hearts healthy so we can experience the joy associated with the summer season.

If you have the chance take a look at www.heartmath.org. They are conducting some fascinating research on the human heart. They say that the heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field, one of their researchers Rollin McCraty explains in his book The Energetic Heart. “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).”

If the heart is giving off such a powerful frequency it’s important that this frequency is harmonious!

Here are eight daily habits you should try to include this summer that will have your heart energy flowing at its peak

1. Make time to experience emotions and watch their quality!

2. Give from the heart and bring a bit of sunshine into your or someone else’s life every day. Just a small thing will do it.

3. The joyful heart: find out what really makes you happy. Make a list, meditate on it, re-evaluate, put the list somewhere you can see it every day, and then do one of those things every day in the summer! It can be as simple as spending a few minutes admiring your flowering hanging baskets, or managing a nightly run in the park.

4. The open heart: get your arms in the air! Open the armpits as it opens your Heart meridian and increases lung capacity, which in turn supports the heart function.

5. The sharing heart: communicate with everyone around you. Do not detach yourself. It is not good for the heart.

6. The key to self-development for summer, and the fire season is meditation, as a healthy fire will have both high flames and then burning embers. So sit for ten minutes every day, whenever you can. Arrive ten minutes early for a meeting or the school run; sit in the car and breathe your vitality, so that you conserve your vitality and do not run on a flat battery!

7. The heart of the matter is your food and diet. Have a diet that keeps you cool, light and active; water-based foods, fresh foods and plenty of filtered water.

8. The physical heart: it is very important at this time of year to get some exercise everyday. Include exercise for the upper body and chest, and team sports as these involve being with others. Cardiovascular exercise is very important. The British Heart Foundation say that running for 10 minutes a day at slow speeds could help reduce your risk of dying prematurely from a heart attack or stroke.

So have a light-hearted approach to life this summer. Communicate, be charismatic and be more loving to yourself and others!

Welcome to Summer!

love strawberry

Summer has arrived, time to celebrate! Summer is the fire element and fire energy is more warm, active, physical and passionate than any other season. The days are long and light with very few hours of darkness. Nature’s energy is at its peak. Try to match it with yours!

The Fire element is all about heat and energy; a time to live life to the full, stay up later and
get up earlier. A chance to soak up energy from the sun, and absorb oxygen and perfumes
from the outdoors while everything is in full bloom. This is the time to create energy and
power which will carry us into the harvesting of the late summer and then the storing of your
resources in the autumn for the long winter ahead.

Traditionally, summer was the time of year when we all worked outdoors for long hours
spending time in the healthy sun and then, after work, it was the time to; dance, sing and
party, have fun, be in love, with plenty of laughter — the food of the soul, providing the
extra momentum when needed and the feeling of internal joy and happiness! It delights in
the richness of the moment.

The colour associated with the season is red, which has the ability to stimulate the pulse and
heart rate. Hence the saying to ‘paint the town red’, inferring to celebrate and go out partying.

8 Priorities for Summer 

1. Try your best to stay at peace and to be compassionate; remember the expression
‘seeing red’? It immediately conjures up the feeling of anger or aggression and involves
some amount of passion. Learn to use passion positively!

2. Try to balance the intensity of living in the moment with an awareness of what follows.
Only take on what you can handle and learn to say “no”. Re-establish some order
so that you; have more calm and rhythm in your life and include some cardiovascular
exercise.

3. Develop ways you can find contentment through learning to love yourself and believing
you are lovable. If you do not know where to start, meditate on, or think about the things
that you are good at and the things that you have done to make people happy. If you can’t
think of any… go out and do something to make someone happy today. It can be as simple
as a phone call to an elderly relative or telling someone you love them.

4. Take control of your levels of openness with others; stop yourself from saying too much;
discriminate between the different contexts. Know what you want from others and what
they want from you.

5. Learn to let go, forgive and move on; try not to take things too personally. Act and
speak from the heart … with feeling.

6. Find different ways to express yourself such as art, playing an instrument or just sit
and listen to your favourite music turned up loud, and sing along. Voice and speech have
a strong connection to the heart.

7. Exercise; yoga builds stamina and heat in the body. Try a sun salute or three… every
morning for a week; see if you feel any different! If yoga isn’t your thing then go outdoors
for a brisk walk every day, even for just ten minutes!

8. Communication; spend time with others, such as family and friends (with the phone
off). Get in touch with some old friends and arrange to meet once a month in the local
pub or café. Find different ways to communicate with people who you have difficulty in
getting on with; see what makes them tick.

So keep these tips in mind this summer and enjoy living your life to the full!