Sep 30 , 2021
Late Summer, the brief and beautiful season that sits ‘in-between’. This Season is the transition between Summer and Autumn and is the final burst of life before we head into the cooler months ahead. As energy begins to slow down in nature, we too can begin to gather inwards and take a gentler pace in life. This season is seen as a time to embrace change and find comfort in the shift of energy between the two seasons. Too often we find ourselves rushing ahead to the next thing, Late Summer invites us to be fully present and enjoy the moment we are in, right now by honouring this time in-between.
During this cycle of the year, as the schools return, the weather starts to turn, and our social calendar lets up a bit, a steady rhythm and routine begins once again in our lives. After the dizzy heights of Summer, the slowing down of nature helps us to come back down to Earth, now is an ideal time to return to self-care habits that grant us the ability to feel balanced and nourished. Yin and Yang strike a perfect balance at this point in the year, and we too should seek for this balance in our lives.
The Earth season of Late Summer is a time of everything coming back to the core – all of our energies coming back into the centre. A time for grounding and re-balancing. So, this is a perfect opportunity to come back to your centre, spend a little bit of time regrouping, grounding, and preparing for what’s coming in the seasons ahead, and in life in general. Some prompts to reflect on for this time of year. What are you harvesting in your life? What areas of your life are bearing fruit? Where is the harvest rich? Where is it stunted?
In Late Summer, Traditional Chinese Yoga and Seasonal Yoga signify this season with the Earth element. When we explore the Earth element we find that it encourages us to feel at home in the world, and at home within our bodies. The Earth is so important in this well-known season of harvest. Not only does it ground us from the expansive nature of the Summer months, it also shows us the gifts the earth has returned to us with the energy we’ve invested through the earlier seasons of the year. We can now enjoy the fruits of our labour, in the literal and non-literal sense. Fruit trees are heavy with apples, plums and berries for the picking right now, and after a Spring and Summer of sowing seeds, tending to the land, our efforts are rewarded. Not a gardener? The same theme applies when we shift the narrative to receive the abundance that we have cultivated in our lives so far this year.
Chinese medicine informs us that the organs of Late Summer are the Stomach and the Spleen, which are responsible for receiving food, starting the journey of digestion and enabling us to feel nourished through the energy we’ve received from the food we’ve consumed. In TCM the organs are not seen as separate things, instead as part of a whole system that works together. Each organ in the body has its place in the internal body clock too, a specific time each day, where it’s energy peaks. For the Stomach this is between 7am-9am, for the Spleen this is between 9am-11am. So, this is the perfect time to nourish your body by eating your biggest meal of the day between these times. By consuming a bigger meal at this time of day it means that you will optimise digestion, your body will be able to take the most Qi (energy) and transform it to give your body the most energy available.
Looking towards the philosophy of the organs, the Stomach and Spleen are also responsible for digesting experiences and emotions. Seen as the agents that receive and process emotional and mental ‘food’. If there are too many experiences and emotions happening at one time in our lives, we can get overwhelmed. Now, as we pause in this phase in the calendar, it’s a good time to reflect on what emotions and thoughts are nourishing you, and which ones you’re not able to digest and can let go of.
When we combine all of the information that TCM and Seasonal Yoga has to offer on Late Summer, and link together the themes of the Earth element as well as the two organs, it brings us to another interesting aspect to consider. The connection between our gut-brain axis. The vagus nerve which connects the digestive organs and the brain, is an important communication pathway for the gut microbiota to influence the brain and our behaviour. So, it’s completely within our interests to maintain a healthy gut, to positively influence our mood and mindset. The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system overseeing lots of important bodily functions, like mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate to name but a few.
In Late Summer, we can then support our immune system, mood and energy levels by eating for the season and maintaining a healthy gut microbiota. Filling your plate with plenty of root vegetables and soups, adding a probiotic into your diet, reducing sugar and processed foods and ensuring that digestion starts in the mouth by chewing plenty!
There’s no doubt about it, there is something pretty special about Late Summer, the sunsets and the abundance that surrounds us in this last spark of Summer is really quite magical. Now is the time to slow down, nourish yourself, balance rest and set boundaries before we head into the Autumn and Winter.
Varrie is a 200hr Yoga Teacher who loves nothing more than sharing her passion for this practice. Varrie brings a spirit of playfulness to her teachings, combining creative sequencing, compassion-centred philosophy and a gentle nature to encourage students to find feel-good movement in their practice. Her classes are a blend of thought-provoking meditations, breath-led movement and guided relaxations, combining elements of Vinyasa Flow and Seasonal Yoga.
Find out more by visiting her website: https://www.yogawithvarrie.com