Fire, the element of summer

In traditional Chinese medicine, summer represents the fire element. The energy of fire is dazzling, exciting, all embracing and very yang, just like the strong summer sun warming the earth enlivening the plants and animals, brimming with energy.

As we look inwards the fire element is represented by our hearts. The fire of the heart symbolizes our relationship to ourselves and to others.  It's the element of enjoyment. It dictates our ability to give and receive love, warmth and joy with our friends, colleagues, intimate partners, and that particular feeling of oneness with the universe.

The heart is the ruler of emotional energy. Love, joy, happiness, compassion are all positive expressions of heart energy in harmony. When the heart is pulled off balance, negative emotions such as anxiety, panic attacks, hastiness, rushing, impatience and hatred appear.

Summer has a way of provoking the fires of the heart to lead us to new emotional experiences. When fire and heart energy is directed in a healthy way, we can feel joy and happiness circulating throughout our body.

Legendary adventurer Wim Hof talks about the importance of enjoyment even in extreme situations in this interview with Elise Loehnen from Goop. When he's climbing Mt Kiliminjaro wearing nothing but shorts, or running a marathon in the Sahara without water, he relaxes, goes with the flow and refuses to tense up and become rigid with his thinking which in turn allows his body to achieve the seemingly impossible -  great comfort in extreme conditions. He's adamant that he's no super human and anyone can tap into their deepest potential just like him.

These are principles that also apply to Qigong practice - enjoying the movements, stretches and flows helps increase harmony with the mind, emotions and body, leading to deep relaxation, less stress and more energy, allowing you to tap into your highest expression.

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