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Early Summer Vibes

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

We’re moving into Early Summer. Read on to find out more about the Pericardium, the Triple Heater, and the Fire Element, and what it means for seasonal yoga, nutrition and journalling.

The sun is shining, the evenings are lighter and the increasing warmth persuades us to shed layers of clothing, to wear lighter and brighter clothing and spend more time outdoors. Seeds have become seedlings and plants are starting to take on the expansive nature of the season. A natural sense of calm, relaxation and sociability prevails.

In the Five Element system, Early Summer runs from 21 May to 20 June, and is linked to the organs of the Pericardium and the Triple Heater, and to the Fire Element. The Pericardium is also known as the Heart Protector, a fluid filled sac which surrounds your heart, protecting it from shocks and jolts, both physically and emotionally, and also prevents infections spreading from other organs, such as the lungs. The Chinese Medicine perspective includes the emotional and spiritual aspects of our human existence. At a physical level, the Heart Protector has a strong influence over the chest, and in women, has a relationship to the uterus and menstrual function; at a psycho-emotional level it protects the emotional heart. John Kirkwood, in his book, “The Way of the Five Seasons”, likens it to a bodyguard that stands ever-vigilant to protect your heart.

The Triple Heater is the yang partner to its yin counterpart, the Pericardium. It is also known as Triple Warmer, Triple Burner, Three Heater or Three Burning Spaces. Its role is one of transformation and distribution. The upper chamber in the chest above the diaphragm contains the Heart, Heart Protector and Lungs. Its main physiological function is the distribution of fluids by the Lungs. The middle chamber is in the upper abdomen and contains the Liver, Gall Bladder, Stomach and Spleen and is charged with the process of digestion, extraction of nourishment and distribution of its energy throughout the body. The lower body lies in the abdomen and contains the Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Bladder and Kidneys. Its main function is to separate pure from impure, absorption and elimination. The three burning spaces are interconnected and mutually supportive and all must be operating optimally for health and balance. An imbalance in the Triple Heater shows up as a difficulty with intimacy and falling in/out of relationships.

Western Medicine does not have a corresponding word for the Triple Heater although the closest concept is that of homeostasis and regulating the body’s temperature.

Seasonal Yoga

In Seasonal Yoga classes, we use poses which activate qi in the relevant meridian channels. We mirror the expansive energy of Early Summer with circling arms open wide and closing into Eagle or Cowface arms, Warrior poses, mandala sequences and partner poses to emulate the fun, sociable aspects, and full shoulder rotations. Another aspect is stretching the connective tissue and creating heat, for example with standing or supine half moon pose and chair pose. If you struggle with excess heat, I recommend cooling breath work, gentle flowing yoga emulating the Water Element, or restorative poses which target areas on the Heart meridian. Sometimes I take a short rest with a yoga nidra in the late afternoon before evening classes, which really helps the quality of my sleep too. My body is always so grateful if I prioritise it, and let’s be honest, there’s always something else to do, but rest is powerful for optimal health.

As always, it is important to stay balanced as the temperatures rise. More sociable yang, but drawing back to yin - your body and mind will thank you for it.

Nourishing Foods

Red is the colour associated with the Fire Element, and so red foods are supportive in Summertime. Dive into red fruit and veg, such as berries, watermelon, beets and red onions. Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Berry smoothies

  • Tomato soup / add puree into soups and stews

  • Choose red apples and grapes over green

  • Red pepper sticks and beetroot dip

  • Add radicchio, radishes and red onions to summer salads


I’m going to leave you with a journalling question or two to ponder over, related to the Pericardium.

Q. What is the right amount of relational contact for you? Do you tend to move towards others or away from others?

Q. What does it mean to you to be intimate? What are your limits to being intimate?

Enjoy the calm, sociable, relaxed energy of the Early Summer season.

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