NOURISH – Late Summer Health for the Stomach & Spleen

NOURISH – Late Summer Health for the Stomach & Spleen

The pair of organs associated with the Late Summer in TCM are the digestive organs of the Stomach and Spleen and the element is Earth. Earth represents nourishment (both physical and emotional), grounding and abundance.

In functional terms the Stomach (yang organ) is responsible for receiving and breaking down food while the Spleen (yin organ) plays a significant role in filtering and storing blood and supporting the immune system. In TCM the Stomach and Spleen provide nourishment and support to our mind and spirit, as well as security and stability, both emotionally and physically. (It is worth noting that even if an organ has been removed, its meridian remains.)

This short (but important) transitional 5th season from the yang into the yin part of year is about becoming centred, grounded and balanced. It is the ideal time to nourish ourselves and nurture our true essence in preparation for the cooler months ahead.

 The primary associated emotion is worry. When Spleen and Stomach Qi and Earth energy are out of balance we may become prone to rumination, overthinking, anxiety, lethargy, poor boundaries with others and find it challenging to concentrate. When in balance, we feel secure, relaxed, compassionate and better able to go with the flow whatever the circumstances may be.

Take some time to enjoy the outdoors and make the most of what is left of the summer weather, engage in slower practices like yin yoga, cultivate mindfulness, look after your digestive system and your sleep routine. Nourish yourself in the best possible ways that you can. (I’ll certainly be taking this advice myself.) 

 Join me for NURTURE & NOURISH – A LATE SUMMER YIN & YOGA NIDRA WORKSHOP on Saturday 7th September 2-4pm at Embody Wellness. For full details and to book your place please click here or visit https:// embodywellness.co.uk/workshops/

 (This workshop is open to all levels but it is not suitable for pregnant students.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soothe Your Nervous System with Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Soothe Your Nervous System with Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

 

Nadi – ‘channel’ or ‘flow’

Shodhana – ‘purification’

Alternate Nostril Breathing is a simple yet effective pranayama (breathing) practice. Soothing for the nervous system, alternate nostril breathing is said to help relieve stress and anxiety and lower the heart rate among other benefits. It is also helpful to practice before bedtime if you have difficulty getting to sleep.

If my head feels all over the place (often if I’ve been trying to do too many things at once!) I find this practice helpful to calm my mind. You can also practise *Mental Alternate Nostril breathing (i.e. not using your hands).

Usually this is practiced with breath retention, but you can choose to focus on just the inhales and exhales through each nostril instead.

How to practice Alternate Nostril Breathing (NB – the instructions below are without breath retention):

  1. Sit comfortably with a tall spine
  2. Rest your left hand comfortably on your left knee (as pictured) or lap
  3. Place your right index and middle fingers lightly between your eyebrows. You will be using your right thumb and right ring finger to open and close the nostrils.
  4. With eyes closed or gaze softened to one spot, take a deep breath in and out through both nostrils (you can take a few deep breaths here).
  5. Softly close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly and steadily through your left nostril.
  6. Close your left nostril (with your right ring finger) and release closure of your right nostril. Exhale slowly and steadily through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Close your right nostril (with your right thumb) and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.

This completes 1 round. Repeat this for 5-10 rounds, focussing on your inhales and exhales. When you are finished. Rest both arms and breathe in and out normally for a few breaths.

*NB – I have a recorded a Mental Alternate Nostril Breathing audio to guide you through your practice, available here.