What season is this? It doesn’t feel like autumn! In TCM we have five seasons, the one we are now in, is called ‘late summer.
- The element connected to it is that of Earth. It acts as a turning point between the hot active (yang) time of summer and the cooler, inward moving (yin) energy of autumn. The colour is yellow or gold.
- The nature of the Earth element is dampness – or humidity. This explains why we keep getting sticky at this time of year, especially on the East coast of Australia….
- The organ of the body that correlates with this time of year is the Spleen, which is the equivalent to the pancreas (which produces digestive enzymes and helps regulate blood sugar levels through the secretion of insulin).
- No surprise that the associated flavour is sweet – which is said to harmonise – when taken in moderation. Be careful not to overdo it with the sweet, cold drinks at the moment, as this can impair your digestive system – instead, go with naturally sweet food like dates, which are the fruit of the season of late summer- as they tend to be dry, they counteract ’dampness’ in the body, which causes energy to sink down. Sweet potato is the vegetable, which has that lovely orange-yellow colour, the colour of Earth – and has been found to have a low glycemic index level.
- In TCM, the Spleen is said to helps absorb nutrients and transport that energy to the rest of the body. When the spleen is not functioning properly, you may feel tired and lethargic. The Western anatomical model says that the spleen helps to generate white blood cells in the bone marrow to support the immune system, which is the basis for feeling energetic.
- There’s also an emotion associated with each season. Now, it is worry or obsession – as another action of the earth element is that it processes thoughts as well as food. It’s better to focus only on the activity of eating rather being distracted by TV etc. to keep your digestion and state of mind good. Another idea is to start – or restart – a meditative practice, to take us out of our busy head space.
- Excessive worry and overthinking weakens the spleen’s ability to transform nutrients into energy, which can make you feel more fatigue.
- As it also transport moisture and controls the lymphatic system, swollen legs, ankles and feet relate to an unhealthy spleen, usually worse in hot, humid weather. So it’s a good time to ‘put your feet up’, including through gentle relaxing yoga poses and inversions. Best not to over exert yourself or fatigue the muscles – or the mind during this season. Late summer hints: stop worrying, get back into some relaxing yoga and meditation, and eat naturally sweet fruit and vegetables to harmonise your body and mind.