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Daylight Savings Inspiration

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

It's daylight saving time again this weekend, also known as summer time in many countries. As we figure out if our clock sets automatically or if we are in fact an hour late, we may find ourselves wondering why in the world we keep this practice up. When told of daylight saving time, a Native American, who I can't find the name of, said "Only  the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket".
Our schedules don't change with the seasons, so why should our clocks?

Although I find the time changing practice a little annoying, it inspires me to think about what it means to save daylight and how we can honor the shifts in climate, sunrise and sunset in other ways.

Living in harmony with the seasons is an integral part of Chinese medicine and is essential to maintaining long term health. There are many subtle changes we can adopt in our daily lives to honor the change in seasons. Simple changes to our diet, sleep habits, exercise, activities and mindset can keep us connected to the natural world and keep our immune system, digestion, energy level, mood and stamina functioning optimally.

Spring has already begun according to the lunar calendar and is fast approaching on the solar calendar. In the spring, we want to nourish the energy of the Liver, which is associated with this season. To do this we can;

wake earliertake long walks (ideally in nature), taking in our surroundingsexercise early in the morning when the sun comes up, focusing on stretching and flexibilitywe can exercise more vigorously after a winter of more subdued, calming exercise  cook food more quickly and at a higher heat; saute, steam or blanch your food

The Heart energy is more active in the summer. This is a good time to rid the body of excess heat which will support the Heart and protect the body against autumn illness.

stretching and strengthening are appropriate and more effective because the muscles are warm and adequately nourished by the bloodwake early as the sun riseseat lighter, smaller mealsfood can be cooked quickly and easily, just as long as it's not raw

In autumn the balance of yin and yang is more equal. We want to keep our immune systems strong and stimulated. Balance is key.

make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested and nourished upon wakingexercise can occur later in the day and be more balanced between motion (hard, vigorous training) and tranquility (fundamental skills, and lighter more inward directed exercises such as qi gong, meditation, yoga)incorporate pungent foods that help boost immunity such as garlic, onion, ginger and licorice

In the winter we want to focus on storing, nourishing and conserving energy.

get to sleep earlierspend time inside with friends and familyavoid sweating too much while exercising to prevent cold from penetrating into the muscles and jointsdynamic exercise should be reduced and more stress is put on fundamental training, qi gong, meditation and slow practicewe can cook our food for longer periods of time and eat slightly denser, hearty meals