Welcome to Late Summer
Coming Back into Balance
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the earth element represents the late summer which is an extra season starting at the end of August until the Autumn Equinox. The earth element is all about stability, balance and coming back to center. We are encouraged at this time of year to re-establish healthy routines and rituals that help to nourish and sustain us.
Those with an earth constitution or imbalance will find their challenge is developing clear boundaries and not be self-sacrificing by putting everyone else’s needs before their own. Earth types or those with an earth element imbalance can be prone to worry, be over-sympathetic and get too involved in other people's issues. They can also lack self-worth and self-trust.
The organs associated with the earth element are the spleen and the stomach and indicate that digestion of all matter, through food, thought and experiences are key in this season. Those with an earth constitution of worrying can lean towards digestive upsets and ulcers.
Read on to find out the types of practical things you can do to bring the earth element in you into balance.
Earth Element Self-Care Suggestions
Attitude of Gratitude: Gratitude counteracts the impact that worry has on your body and mind. Take a couple of minutes each day to write 3-5 things that you are grateful for.
Daily check-ins: During your day take two: stop what you are doing, feet on the earth, hands on the belly, take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself 'how am I feeling......what do I need?
Mindful Movement: Movement helps you to develop a sense of self, connects you to your needs and helps you respect your edges/limits. Mindful movement can help you to develop body awareness and embodiment.
Grounding & Boundaries: If the Earth element within you is balanced, you can set healthy limits otherwise, boundaries may be hard to establish and hold. Doing the check-in above will help and if you want to say no, say no. Don't feel you need to give a reason either.
Connect to the Earth: Go out into nature, garden, and interact with the Earth. Hug a tree, smell a flower, make plant medicine, or herbal teas, walk or dance barefoot in your garden.
Taste: The flavour pertaining to the Earth Element and the Stomach and Spleen Energy is sweet which helps to tonify, strengthen and harmonise the body's organs and tissues, however in today's world many of us eat way too much sugar and this has the opposite effect and ends up weakening our Stomach and Spleen causing digestive problems. Therefore you want to limit the amount of sweet foods and added sugars in your diet and opt for naturally sweet foods, like grains, root vegetables and a small amount of fruits.
Food & Digestion: In Chinese Medicine, you are encouraged to eat breakfast between the hours of 7am-9am and definitely no later than 11am and no skipping it either. The Spleen organ is most active between 7am-9am and the stomach from 9am-11am.
Another thing that harms the spleen is too much cold and raw food as they require extra effort for the digestive system to asimilate. Therefore, we want foods that are cooked and warming to help anchor our energy helping us feel balanced and grounded. Other factors contributing to weakness in the digestive system are:
Overeating and Undereating
Eating late at night
Refined, processed and high sugar foods
Overthinking or worrying
Colour: You can use the colour of the season as a guide. Late Summer is yellow/golden colour. Good food examples include corn, millet, carrots, chickpeas, winter and summer squash, pears, sweet yellow tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet rice, rice.
Or try wearing more yellow or adding it to your home and office environment.
Balance with these Short Daily Practices
Practices for the Earth Element
If you want to try a challenge with the above practices and make them part of your daily routine, try my September challenge.
The practices below have been chosen by me as they match the energy of the Earth Element.
Whether that is to de-stress and calm a busy mind, inject some self-love into our lives or work on the energy lines or qualities of the late summer through movement, sound and resting with a grounding yoga nidra, it is all here, one simple click away.
This is a standing practice (with no savasana at the end so feel free to add one on). In this more dynamic practice, we are very much focusing on the legs as we get lungtastic starting with sun salutations before adding on various lunge positions, warrior 2 and side angle.
You will need yoga blocks a blanket.
Care for your Legs
10 minutes to care for achy legs. You'll need a strap as we focus on the hamstrings, quads and hips.
5 Breath De-Stress
Reduce overwhelm and busyness with this short practice where we take 5 familiar yoga poses for 5 full breaths. Be still, breathe deep and emerge calmer and clearer.
You will need yoga blocks a blanket.
This practice is ideal when you wish to clear any negative energy from your day, like anxiety, stress and/or worry. This practice can be used to settle the mind and encourage an overall sense of well-being and balance. No props or even a yoga mat is needed. I hope you enjoy it.
Myofascial Release for the Legs
Release and relief for tired, achy legs. Here, using one myofascial ball, we target the calves, inner thighs and quads.
You will need a tennis ball or a myofascial ball plus one brick block or a couple of thick books.
A Practice for the Core & Legs
This practice is floor-based. We will be doing some core strengthening work before turning our attention to our legs, including the hips, quads and hamstrings.
I would recommend having a pair of yoga blocks if you have them, a blanket and a cushion.