It's the first few days of Autumn here in England, and that's A-okay with me. But I wanted to write a few words about late summer to any of you in the States, where it is still balmy and fine outside. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a fifth season: late summer. This special secret season is thought of in TCM as the interchange of all seasons; associated with the earth element, late summer is the point where we move from summer (fire element) to fall (metal element). It reveals itself in the last month of summer, which is the middle of the Chinese year. You'll find a beautiful description of late summer in Paul Pitchford's Healing With Whole Foods:
"It is the point of transition from yang to yin, between the expansive growth phases of spring and summer and the inward, cooler, more mysterious fall and winter seasons.
A pleasant, tranquil and flourishing season, it is as if time stops here and activity becomes effortless, dreamlike. Unity, harmony and the middle way are summoned between the extremes.
To attune with late summer, one may listen to its subtle currents, as if living at the instant where the pendulum reverses its swing. Find the rhythms and cycles that make life simple and harmonious."
The key to really attuning with your inner and outer landscape in late summer is to let everything be easy. Lay down in the grass, feel your toes in the sand, read whatever trashy book you'd like to read. Reconnect to the earth. Try not to rush yourself, and avoid extremes. This is a golden opportunity for calming down from the fire and flourish of summer and moving towards the reflective coolness of autumn.
I like to keep my yoga practice really slow, sweet and steady in late summer. Try really focussing on your breathing in meditation, and finding that exquisite "pendulum point" in the movement of your breath.
Above all, enjoy. Enjoy. Much love. x