We know that there are four seasons that arrive and pass throughout the year (or if you live in Melbourne like me, you may even get all four in one day!). But how well do you feel you get into alignment with each season as it arrives?
In Chinese medicine each season is pretty special, and our ability to get into flow with each season is said to either help or hinder our health.
In a time where we can buy any kind of seasonal produce that we want at any time of the year, we often don’t think about what the season is telling us we need to eat in order to support our bodies. Watermelon in the middle of winter? Pumpkin in the middle of summer? Avocados flown all the way from Mexico! We have definitely been pulled away from connecting to the season by this overindulgent availability of all things at all times.
But if we pay close attention, the seasons are giving us sage advice; When it is very hot and dry in summer, stay cool. When the leaves are falling in autumn, it is time to let go of extra clutter and emotional baggage. When it gets cold and dark in winter, stay warm, get more rest and eat nourishing foods. And when the light, sun, flowers and bees show up in spring, get out and about and start moving your body again.
In springtime we are (hopefully) emerging out of our deep rest during winter. The classic texts of Chinese medicine would stress the importance of that rest and replenishment, so that we have reserves in the tank for spring itself and the seasons that follow. If we try and hang on to the high energy yang activity of summer all year long, when do we recover?
A big part of why there is a disconnect from nature’s wisdom is this productivity conditioning that we have all been subject to. Our places of work praise and reward the quantity of work we are able to produce. It is a very yang approach to life, and it is therefore no wonder that many people reach a point of burnout in the careers and need to change gears in order to prioritise their health. A reprogramming of sorts needs to occur from the old “more is more” mentality, and towards an intuitive connection with the seasons, and the wisdom of our own bodies.
As we make this transition from spring to summer, see if you can stay present to nature’s clues about how to care for your health. Do you start to crave different foods? Do you feel an inclination to retire and rise from bed at different times? Do you have a pull towards places in nature where there are large bodies of water?
Give yourself the gift of slowing down to notice when we are changing gears, and how you can get into alignment with the changes arising in the environment around you, and see how it feels in your mind, heart and body.
By Dr Karina Smith.
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Karina Smith is a Melbourne based Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Yin Yoga Teacher, Teacher Trainer & Educator. With a passion for women's health, through Yin and Chinese Medicine Karina aims to improve the health of her students, patients and clients.After years of dancing and its emphasis on performance, yoga was an unexpected beacon of self-care and restoration for Karina, where her relationship to movement shifted to something that was there to nourish her mind and body.
A year after commencing practice at the Australian Yoga Academy (AYA), Karina knew she wanted to do the yoga teacher training on offer there - and from thereon it has been a deep-dive into the rich offerings of this ancient practice.
Karina has now studied and taught yoga extensively - including two 350hr Teacher Trainings (AYA and Shantarasa Institute, India), studies under the renowned Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley, over a decade of teaching at numerous studios in her home town of Melbourne, and lecturing for The Australian Yoga Academy.
In 2018, Karina launched her own 50 Hour Yin & Functional Anatomy Teacher Training and continues to run this course. Karina’s love of Yin Yoga revealed a deeper fascination for human anatomy and led her to pursue Chinese Medicine. After graduating in 2019, she now runs her own clinic offering acupuncture, herbal therapies, moxibustion and cupping treatments.