Twists : Yoga practice for the "late summer" - Earth season
In this article, I explained what the Chinese medicine concept of late summer is. The fifth season near the end of our solar calendar summer, and also the transition period in between each season. It is a time of change, transitions, morphing, that invites us to find stability, and to cultivate inner gaze for self nourishment.
The earth-element season: bolster digestion
Chinese Medicine tells us this short but crucial season belongs to the earth element (or rather the earth movement), its related color being yellow and related organs being spleen and stomach. By nurturing our earth now, we will have sufficient reserves for the colder months of Autumn ahead.
Indeed, the earth element is the "mother" element, or generating element of the following season's element, metal. Fall season belongs to the element of metal, and its corresponding organs are lungs and large intestines. That's why we are prone to catching respiratory and digestive disorders in the fall. If you place plenty of care nurturing your earth in the "long summer" season, you give yourself a head start and bolster your organs reserves for the upcoming fall.
The earth element is in the center of all 4 cardinal directions, in the center of the body, aka the core. The center of digestion that help us process nutrients is also, on a more subtle level, the center that processes emotions, life experiences and spiritual lessons.
Find your center: the navel
For Ayurveda and Yoga, that means it is time to work on the navel center, or third chakra. In terms of the way energy moves, we are talking about Samana Vayu, or the centering force. If you are looking for centering, you want to include the following into your yoga practice to increase samana vayu and tone your digestive organs.
Twists are said to be one of the most spiritual practices in yoga.
They compress and wring out the organs in a unique way that help us flush waste and detoxify the organs of the digestive system, but also increase flow of fresh blood and lymph in the whole abdomen. This is why yogis use them to "stoke the digestive fire", which will not only icrease your ability to process nutrients, but also life experiences.
Twists also invite us to look within. I prefer to practice twists with my eyes closed or a soft gaze in order to harvest the more subtle benefits of the asana.
I encourage you to practice a twist every day to help tonify the earth during the "late summer" season.
click on this link to see Yoga Journal's description of twists.