Lois Steinberg | iHanuman

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Lois Steinberg

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Journal Post

We have entered my most favorite time of year. Earth is the name that the Chinese give to the energy of late summer. Earth is the time of harvest and gathering. It is the midpoint in the cycle of life. The time when we raise a family, create a body of work, settle down, and begin to reap the rewards of our labors. Our thoughts turn to nurturing, parenting, mentoring and mothering.  Earth governs our bodies, our flesh and our ability to nourish ourselves through the foods that we eat. Earth governs our cycles - sleeping, eating and breathing. Earth energy also helps us on a mental level to digest ideas, process experiences and form thoughts. Out of balance Earth can be obsessive, obstinate and stubborn. 
Most of you know, if you have been subscribed to the iHanuman Newsletter for some time, that we pay a lot of attention to the changes and transitions of the natural world. Every year, we are prompted by traditional healing philosophy to reinvigorate pranayama practice in the fall. The fall is the season of letting go and releasing as well as the organs of the Lungs and Large Intestines.
Dear Friends, As the sun shifts into Virgo and the late summer's earth element, we are enjoying the fruits of our labors along with the slowing & cooling down of summer. The earth element brings us stability and a space to pause and collect ourselves between the seasons. The calm and steadiness of earth helps prepare us for the shifting unsteadiness of the air element which visits us in the fall. I love this time of year! The weather is a perfect mix of warm days and cool nights.  AND September is National Yoga Month! This is a wonderful time of year to get the word out about the benefits of yoga. Reference our resources below on the benefits of yoga as a place to start your conversation with new students.
Today marks the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. It's called Lamas and it signals the beginning of the harvest season. We are about to transition into Late Summer as we move beyond the peak of  summer. Before we do, take with you the lessons learned from your growth this year. Take some time to honor what you have accomplished before you begin to reap what you have sewn.
Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of the summer season. Summer ignites the fire element. The warmth of fire has the power to bring us out of the contraction of the cold dark winter into a state of expansion and joy. We have more energy to accomplish our tasks and more hours of light within which to accomplish them. Fire is known for its dynamism, transformation and passion, but also gives us the capacity to feel joy, compassion, empathy as well as deep sadness, because only a strong heart can truly feel deep sadness.
Does this heat make it feel as if the summer could go on forever?  As we start the month of August, we are entering into the late summer period, the fifth season, recognized in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine. BUT before we get ahead of ourselves, I wanted to share some final insights from the end of the summer season. As we mentioned last month, the element associated with summer is fire, which shows up in the external environment, but internally as well.
"In his search he discovers the three noble ways of word (jnana), work (karma), and worship (bhakti), which teach him that his inner light is the only guide leading to mastery over his own life.” - BKS Iyengar, Light on Pranayama
Are we finally on the downswing from the peak of a very firey and fiesty summer heat wave? As tensions and frustrations flair, we are truly called upon to utilize our yoga practice to cool us down. Two of the primary ways you choose to counterbalance the heat depend on your personal temperament. You can sit calmly and quietly, practicing slow deep breathing or pranayamas specific to cooling you down, like Sitali (sheet - ah - lee) pranayama or practice a quieting asana practice focused on forward bends and other cooling poses. The alternative is to get active, move and raise your internal heat .
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