Have you ever considered why it is that we wait with such eager anticipation for the Summer sun to arrive? Why you find yourself checking the long-range forecast, in the hope of finding evidence that Britain will actually be bathed in sunshine at some point?
The sun feels nice, we can wear our lightest clothes (or nothing at all!), feel free and easy… We can eat outside, even if it’s late in the evening. The light has a magical quality. And when the threat of rain doesn’t loom, we’re more inclined to play – by ourselves, with our families and friends, and even strangers.
These are all good reasons for anticipating the arrival of summer, but there’s another reason, too; Summer, and the element of fire it brings, plays an important part in our spiritual wellbeing and evolution…
Everybody needs the sunshine…
“The Fire element expresses itself as joy and manifests within us as love, laughter, and enthusiasm. During summer, the season of maximum expansion, we can become aware of ourselves at our fullest.” – Neil Gumenick
According to Chinese medicine, Summer delivers the promises of Spring. It’s the time when the plans and intentions we set in Spring blossom fully, giving us the opportunity and power to present our truest and most impressive selves to the world. And because we are part of nature, this is a natural thing for us to do each year. So much so, that when we lack fire at this time of year, everything just feels wrong – or, as Neil Gumenick puts it in one of his articles on the Five Elements , “we can feel isolated and spiritually cut off, uninspired, fearful, empty, and disconnected from life”.
How to fire up your summer (with or without the sun!)
If you do happen to encounter some sun at some point during the Summer, capitalise on it! Get outside, socialise, live your passions! Dance naked on the beach! Swim naked in the sea – even for 5 minutes, it takes a decade off you! And tap into the self-sustaining power of the sun by taking your yoga practice outside, into nature, each time our biggest star extends even a finger of light from the sky.
And on those days (or during those weeks!) when the sun doesn’t seem to shine at all, when you don’t feel warmed to the core, and just generally seem to have lost your mojo?
Light your own fire!
Chinese Medicine suggests working on the heart meridian, to “re-establish our connection to the Divine and … awaken us to the security provided by the current of love that permeates existence.” What we’re being told, in a nutshell, is that focusing on the heart can help us to really feel universal love – great big flames of the stuff! We can find our own blistering Summer – right there inside us. And, happily for us yoga folk, our practice can aid us in doing so…
Firing up your yoga practice
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be working on the anahata, or heart chakra, in Peacock Tree Yoga’s classes – exploring backbends and other postures which assist us on our path to an open heart. You can begin at home simply by focusing on love and the unity of all things, as you move through your sun salutations. Even if the sun doesn’t light up the room as a result, the fire in your heart and soul most definitely will.
The video below was filmed during our recent holiday in Turkey. A deep backbend just seemed like the right thing to do in all that sun – and it felt lovely, even if I couldn’t see much with my cap covering my eyes!