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Seasonal Sensory Health Tips for a Joyful Summer

Jul 31, 2020 10:00AM ● By Polly Liontis

Photo by PheelingsMedia for Adobe Stock

Chinese medicine philosophy has a concept called “living according to our nature”, which encourages us to observe the intelligence in the natural world (Mother Earth, Father Sky, the five seasons in nature) and live accordingly. We can derive clues for nourishing our own health by following the rhythms of the Earth and the daily cycle of energy.

A Zen proverb states, “When you’re hungry, eat, when you’re tired, sleep,” which is another way of saying, “Listen to your body, your emotions, your own inner wisdom.” During this end-of-the-summer phase, the Earth comes to its fullest expression. The crops are fully ripe and ready to be harvested, so it is a time of deep nourishment from the gifts of the Earth’s harvest; a time to replenish and savor the bounty.

One of our most powerful actions to improve our immune system and overall health is to adopt a daily practice of gratitude. Savor the gifts of the moment. Even in times of great adversity, we can still affirm, “I’m alive, I’m breathing, the Earth is nourishing me with food, the sky is nourishing me with sunlight.” Here are a few more tips for excellent self-care and real nourishment as we move through the fullness of summer:
  1. Use a neti pot daily. A neti pot is a small pot in which you make a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages. Especially with summer frequently being a time of bad air quality and heightened allergies, rinsing the nasal passages can help you breathe more easily and clearly. Visit HimalayanInstitute.org to order a neti pot and also Ayurvedic nose oil to lubricate dry nasal passages.
  2. Allow yourself to enjoy some sunshine, especially first thing in the morning, as it helps to regulate your circadian rhythms, which promote good quality sleep.
  3. Get outdoors every chance you can with the great weather for a brisk walk, time in a beautiful park, a visit to the botanic gardens or a stroll by the lake. The fresh air boosts your mood, as well as your body.
  4. Eating locally and seasonally is healthy and a visit to your local farmers’ market is just the thing. Summer brings us a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, so this is a perfect time to ramp up your plant-based diet. The sweetness of the fresh fruit is a sensuous delight.
  5. Fill a pitcher of water and add slices of cucumber, lemon, or lime for a refreshing way to hydrate. Hydration is crucial in the heat of summer.
  6. Getting more exercise outdoors in the summer can give you momentum to keep it going indoors during the winter.
  7. Reach out to connect with others—relational health is paramount to our overall health and well-being. A quick phone call, text, video call or short, handwritten note will let someone know you’re thinking about them.
  8. Give yourself permission to smile—we can choose to laugh, and a great way to do that is to tune in to a comedy show that helps us to laugh at ourselves.

Lastly, give yourself the gift of a slower pace with time to relax, daydream, enjoy your loved ones, have a backyard picnic and lean back and smile.

Polly Liontis completed the teacher training program at the Himalayan Institute, led by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait at the Glenview, Illinois, ashram in 1999. She was initiated into the lineage of Swami Rama of the Himalayas by Pandit Rolf Sovik with her own personal mantra in 1999.

Zen Shiatsu is located at 825 Chicago Ave., in Evanston. For more information, call  847-864-1130 or visit ZenShiatsuChicago.org.