The embers that grill our salmon and veggies are not the only fire we experience in the summertime, so lets look at how to optimize the deeper flames of life that empower the exuberance of our passions, keeping in mind the cycle of time.
Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
First of all, it’s always good to define our terms. According to Yoga the fire element within is hot, sharp, light, intense, and penetrating and so inner fire refers to all those facets within us that correspond to these five characteristics, for instance, focus, intentions, passion, digestion, inflammation, competition, and metabolism, to name a few.
By outer fire I am referring to summertime as opposed to the more inner time of winter. Passion describes sports and other activities that we can be passionate about, like biking, hiking, sailing, sexuality, tennis, baseball, etc.
When we think of summertime herbs our mind may float off to sipping a sweet cooling drink on a shady deck or perhaps an evening elixir to help power a night of exuberant fun out on the town; maybe the thought is all about putting life back into your joints after that exhilarating yet debilitating century on your 21 speed; or perhaps you are feeling like you need some help establishing deep hydration. Lets look at the options, especially in the context of the year, as Yoko points out above.
Shatavri is one of the world’s great cooling, hydrating, and deeply restorative herbs. It is actually wonderful for most people throughout the year and especially shines in the summertime to support active women, where it restores deep reservoirs of energy, establishes hydration far deeper than just water can, and prepares the way for the deepest restoration possible on the opposite side of the year, during mid-winter. Shatavri has its own very positive way of optimizing our inner fires, especially those related to both moods and sexuality.
Take 2-4 capsules twice a day, or add a teaspoon of the powder to your smoothies, all throughout the summer to support deep hydration and the optimizing of summer’s hot energy.
Many people understand how incredible Turmeric is for the joints and occasional inflammation. The other half of the story is that Turmeric is also a great source of positive energy and inner fire! Instead of asking your local barista for a drying double shot of espresso, start taking Turmeric for energy! It is so much cleaner, sustainable and restorative!
A person with some knowledge may ask, “Turmeric is a warming herb so why take it in the summer?”
Turmeric is so great at building blood, cleaning blood, and moving blood that I call it the herbal version of an acupuncture treatment. This is the time of year to move your blood, to fill your blood with exuberance. Besides that, a lot of dysfunctional deep heat in people is caused by toxins and Turmeric, especially combined with the Liver Kidney Formula, is fantastic at removing this. Most cell-physiology experts agree that the most crucial detoxing molecule in the body is glutathione, and Turmeric and Kutki (in the Liver-Kidney formula) are astoundingly effective at increasing levels of this potent antioxidant so key to life.
Take 2-4 capsules before, during, and after physical exertion. Also, put the powder in smoothies. But make sure you use organic Turmeric powder as non-organic often has the active molecules taken out of it.
Tulsi brings up a very important concept to grok: The whole idea of the quality of inner heat. Imagine you have a bowl of hot soup: If that soup is vibrant, fresh, soothing, deeply enjoyable, and perfectly hits the spot, we can say the heat is balanced; if the soup is inundated with jalapenos we say the heat is agitating; and if the soup is old and should be composted we say the heat is heavy and dull.
Now ask yourself: “What kind/quality of heat do you want your inner fire to be?”
If you want a sweet potent balanced positive heat then Tulsi is one of the best ways to support that. Tulsi has been famous for thousands of years for this, and the summer time is a great season to ensure it, keeping all things in balance of course.
I am not into cold drinks, no Yogi is, yet I realize how pleasant cold or even iced Tulsi Tea can be in the summertime! The problem with iced and cold drinks is that it attenuates your digestive capacity, and this causes poor quality tissue, which is why ice is a scourge to America in many ways. However, if you are going to have iced beverages then what could be better than to make sure that the drink is actually a potent digestive: Tulsi!
One of the wonderful Tulsi Angels on our ORGANIC INDIA team is Satya ji, and this is her recipe for iced Tulsi!
Brewing Cold Tulsi Tea (Satya’s Method)
Most people agree that the best flavors for cold Tulsi are the florals (Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea and Tulsi Jasmine Tea) and the fruits (Tulsi Raspberry Peach Tea, Tulsi Red Mango, and Tulsi Pomegranate Green). As Satya advises, best is to brew them hot and then cool them. You can brew them cold as well, or make sun tea, if needs be, just realize it takes a bit longer to get the same tasty strength.
One of the most important inner fires to be sure you control is that of occasional inflammation. Besides Turmeric and Tulsi, which we know are two fantastic ways to support this, another wonderful formula is our Complete Flexibility Formula, which is based on an herb called Motha (Cyperus rotundus). My favorite name for this herb is Amapachak which is Sanskrit for “that which purifies deep congestion.”
Definitely take the Flexibility formula to, well, support flexibility, and reach for it when you want to ensure a healthy response to occasional inflammation, and definitely keep it in mind when you are feeling that your summertime passions are activating a deep cleanse at any level of your being. There are some facets within us that only the long bright hot days of summer see and the Flexibility Formula helps to make sure that this deep view results in enduring wellness.
We all realize that the tastes that America tends to be addicted to are sweet and pungent and that our diets sorely lack the bitter flavor. Our appetites are like our children, we need to listen to them but we do not let them rule our lives and we certainly do not give them every single toy they want in that moment.
And so the deeply cooling bitter herbs are great to take during the summer, and spring for that matter, hence the idiom “spring’s bitter greens.” Of these, Neem, Amalaki and the Liver-Kidney Formula will help cool us in the summer, and optimize our wellness in dozens of very positive empowering ways.
To really get a wonderful blend of healing and balancing tastes on your palate you have to give the Tulsi Cleanse Tea a try. It is actually a slightly bitter tea, but the truth is that when people try this tea their body gives them a big “yes please.”
Speaking of metaphors, one of the most ancient metaphors or symbols of life itself is blood, and as I mentioned, summertime is a great season to enliven and quicken blood. And so we take blood building herbs like Turmeric, Tulsi, Kelp, Alfalfa, Katuki, and one of my favorites, Harjor (Cissus) as found in our Osteoseal formula.
You may be wondering what a “bone formula” is doing in a list of blood builders. Indeed, all the red blood cells and white blood cells, your immunity, are created in the bone marrow, and the Osteoseal Formula supports this.
Everything in life follows the pattern of our breath: We breathe in, we breathe out; we eat food, we digest food; we spend time with family, we work, we play, we climb mountains, we descend into valleys, we are awake, we go to sleep! The same fundamental pattern rules our wellness and so unless our full-power outer passions are balanced by deeply restorative fruitful sleep we do not complete the cycle of breath, and in that incompletion is the emergence of the terrain of imbalance. People, seeing this is key. Breathe!
The main herb in our Peaceful Sleep formula is a deep core restorative herb called Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, which literally means “fruitful sleep.” Need I say more?
In the autumn we harvest, in the winter we restore, in the spring we blossom, and in the summer we open up and fly! Make sure you have the right fuel to optimize your inner fires so that your flight into the fun and delight of outer passions is rewardingly brilliant!
Shine on and thank you for checking in!
Prashanti de Jager
Noon, June 29th