Summer through the lens of Qigong and Chinese medicine – Gabriela Alvarez

I am so happy to feature Gabriela Alvarez on my blog page this month.  Gabriela is a certified Somatic coach and qigong practitioner.  She has been co-leading my seasonal wellbeing workshops this year.


Living at the frontier, between excitement and serenity. 

Through the lens of Chinese medicine and Qigong. 


“I have a commitment to being at the frontier, wherever that is, where life is effervescing and boiling and evolving and surprising…” 

David Whyte 


My first summer in Europe, 17 years ago, felt like a solar spell. The radiant sun at the end of my working day invited me to go out, to share with friends and enjoy everything around me. The thing is that, after a few days of this frenetic pace, I realized that I had to find a balance, because I was getting exhausted. Over the years I have learned to live through the seasons a little better, although summer still gets me.


In Chinese medicine, summer is the season of the fire element (maximum Yang), in which our senses are more active and attracted by the exuberance of a multiplicity of stimuli, relationships and activities. With the longer days, we could tend to work more. And if we are not careful, we can neglect our rest or lose ourselves in an exhausting search for sensations/connections to feel “happy or euphoric”, without knowing how to allow us to pause and regenerate.


So, how do we care for ourselves during summer? Balance might be found at the frontier between responding to the world, and taking refuge in our bodily sensations and aloneness. By integrating two elements. Water (maximum Yin), with its gifts of silence and regeneration, allows us some pauses and time alone. And fire (maximum Yang), that invites us to go out into the world, and interact and connect with it and others.


In the case of Qigong practice this is explored through movement, breathing and the transitions between openness/contraction, expansion/descending, while allowing us to sense the movement within the stillness and looking for the stillness in the movement.

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