It is hard to believe as I look out my window and still see the last remnants of snow on the ground, but spring is almost upon us. That’s right; Spring! The glorious time of year when the earth begins to thaw and the days get warmer, flowers bloom and we are presented with the promise of birth and re-birth, the time when new beginnings abound.
From an energetic standpoint, spring is a season of expansion. Many of us have been in the darkness of winter for several months now. Buried beneath layers and layers of winter clothes, heavy coats, scarves and hats; we have literally been all covered up! When we are cold we tend to hunch our backs and shoulders and drop our heads down to intuitively protect our vital organs from the bitter winds and freezing temperatures. When we do this, we create contraction in our bodies. Even our energy becomes more withdrawn. This inward movement simply reflects the withdrawn inward movement of Nature during winter, but now with the beginning of spring it is time to shed some of the layers (of clothes and contraction) and move towards a more expansive state of thrive.
“I move with the infinite in Nature’s power. I hold the fire of the soul. I hold life and healing.” Rig Veda
Spring is a time to be reborn and to flourish. When we step into deeper alignment with Nature and the signs of life trying to burst forth all around us, we too awaken into the light and the warmth of the new season.
According to Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga, springtime is the season of Kapha which is marked by qualities of damp, heavy, liquid, dull, and oily. This can be seen in nature this time of year through the spring rains and melting snow-topped mountains. There is a saturation of the earth after the cold, dry winter.
This abundance of moisture is one of the primary reasons why so many people struggle with spring allergies and congestion. This is one reason why spring is considered an optimal time to cleanse and detoxify both the body and mind, to shed the layers of winter stagnation and awaken our vibrancy from within. As the seasons change, so too should our inner and outer practices. This is one of our greatest opportunities as yogis, to choose to align with this bigger flow of nature. This deep alignment with nature allows us to experience more vibrancy on all levels of body, mind, and spirit.
As we make this transition into spring, here are some practical ways to renew and invigorate your self after the long winter.
Time for spring cleaning! This is the optimal time of year for cleaning out – not only the excess accumulation in your house, but to purge your body of any toxic build-up that may result from the heavier comfort foods that we indulge in during the cold months. To decrease the Kapha that is naturally present in spring, choose lighter and drier foods. Include plenty of dark, bitter greens. Just as the earth is full of shades of green during spring, so too should be our diet! Aim to eat greens 2 – 3x per day this season. Include green juices and smoothies, salads, cooked greens and living soups. (Find my favorite green smoothie recipe below).
Get movin’! Spring is the best time of year to sweat and move the winter stagnation out of your body. Since it is Kapha season, the body is naturally stronger and has greater endurance. It is time to increase the frequency and/or duration of your yoga and other practices. Start adding in more backbends and up-tempo poses to open the inner channels and receive greater life force energy or prana.
Pranify! Once you have been eating a little lighter and more green and playing your physical edge a bit, you have set up perfect conditions to really breathe deeply and cleanse your pranic (or energetic) pathways. Try some stimulating breathing practices to fully energize your body and mind. One to try is kappalabhati or “breath of fire.” With your eyes closed, sit tall and lift up your inner body like the rising sun. Inhale through your nose and begin a series of sharp, short exhalations followed by soft and natural inhalations. The naval will contract in as you “push” the air out of your nostrils on the exhalations. Work up over time to 108 repetitions. After your last sharp exhalation, inhale slowly and smoothly through the nose, exhale slowly, and breathe naturally as you notice the inner qualities of lightness and expansion. (*not recommended for pregnant women)
As we move into this season where new beginnings and the return of warmer days fill us with optimism and possibility, it is time to make the necessary shifts you need to step into your full potential. If you want to take these seasonal changes even deeper but need some support, structure, and accountability, then join me for my next online offering: Radiant You! Essential habits for Inner and Outer Body Beauty. Click here to receive more information.
For New Yorkers, join Laura and me for Twisted Trunk Yoga’s first ever Spring Community Cleanse. We will provide you with everything you need to clean out the gunk and create radiant wellbeing.
To your glowing health!
My Springtime Green Smoothie Recipe
1 cup coconut water (or plain water)
2-3 cups spinach
large handful romaine lettuce
few stalks celery
1 green apple
lemon or lime juice (1/2 a lemon)
*for extra cleansing add 1/2 cucumber
*for less sugar omit the banana
Add greens & celery to water and blend until smooth, add apple, banana and juice from lemon, blend again. Add more water until desired consistency is achieved
– See more at: http://www.gretahill.com/blog/2015/04/transition-into-spring#sthash.QsY9Os8K.dpuf