From the bursting forth of new growth and aliveness in spring comes the ripeness and fullness of summer. Observing summer helps us understand the fire element in five element theory.
Fire is associated with passion and spirit. Fire is represented by the bright red colour of flames and glowing embers. Fire is a wild energy that is easily uncontained. Think of phrases like ‘fiery temper’ or ‘flaming spirit’ and you get the sense of the intense powerful and potentially destructive energy of fire qi.
In balance, fire qi has a feeling of expansion, fullness, and joyful creativity. Through qigong we want to maintain a balanced internal fire that warms the body and the heart and nourishes the body through good circulation.
The organs of fire are the heart, small intestine, pericardium and triple heater. In traditional Chinese medicine the heart is known as the sovereign of the body.
We want to keep the heart relaxed and content, as it influences all other organs and functions in the body.
This organ system, when healthy, brings warmth, generosity, compassion and open-heartedness to our relationships with ourselves and with others.
When fire energy is out of balance our heart may feel cold, closed or pressured. We may feel restless and unable to relax. The coldness of unbalanced fire qi may express itself in cruelty or callousness. We may feel overstimulation and anxiety, an impatience and intolerance as we hurry to keep up or get things done.
Deficient qi may express itself in depression and despair. We may literally lose heart, feel half-hearted or feel that our heart is not in whatever we are doing. This state is unsatisfying and robs us of the natural joy that comes of healthy balanced fire qi.
Excessive fire qi burns out of control, overheating the body, causing dryness and inflammation. It may lead to illness such as hypertension and heart disease as pressure builds and emotions become too big to contain. It may cause burnout as we burn up our precious reserves of energy without replenishing and nourishing the heart.
Balancing our fire energy through qigong practice we aim to develop a tranquil heart, enabling us to be calm, and to act from a place of patience, joy and openness, rather than hastily pushing to get somewhere other than where we are.
Healthy fire qi
- motivates and guides us to live from our passion in alignment with a sense of purpose.
- enables us to act from the wisdom of a compassionate heart and to be in the present moment.
- invites us to relax and enjoy the relationships and pleasant rest we long for from a perfect summer holiday.
Original artwork by Dyana Wells © 2020