It's a rainy day and the coldest temperatures in a 30 year history, and yet, there's no mistake that Spring is slowly taking over. Just look upon the blossoms on the trees and the fragile, green sprouts of grasses and flowers and you will know it. Look at the longer days, the nice light and the impulses within to do things, to go out, clean up, get organize, have fun! Yep. It's Spring.
Yoga and Ayurveda offer plenty of suggestions for a balanced life, one of which is "live with the seasons!" We are organisms and just like all other organisms we are affected by the way of Nature. We feel things on a basic level, despite our busy lives and crazy schedules.
Spring is especially interesting as it is associated with the birth of life and newness. It is associated with blossoming of potential. We get creative, fall in love, plant the garden, look forward to summer vacations and fun. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains his attributes as: "I am the Soul in the body, the Mind in the senses, the Eagle among birds, the Lion among animals. Among all the trees, I am the sacred Bodhi tree, and of the seasons, I am Spring."
Me too. I am Spring! I've had about 11,000 projects that i want to do all equally. Right Now. I am the gardener. I am the mushroom picker. I am the dancer again, the writer, the home decorator...I am making an exotic brew of herbs and spices to match the season....
According to ayurveda, coming out of the winter we are heavy on Kapha dosha - that's the state perdominated by the water and earth elements. It's cold, heavy, stagnant, sleepy just like what we are suppose to be while we hibernate. It builds in us through the winter until by the beginning of spring it accounts for fatigue, dullness, congestion and gaining of weight. When the spring hits the hills, all that water and congestion starts running out and results in colds and runny noses.
The quality of Spring is warm, moist and gentle. It's this warmth that pulls all that excess water out of your system. So, let it run and help it along.
So, what's in my tea??? Fresh ginger, cinnamon, pippali, clove, black pepper and lots of honey :))
There are many herbs and spices you can use to flavor your spring drinks and meals. Changing what you eat, according to the season will mean that you give up the oily, heavy foods and go wild and crazy with some green leafies. Sour and salty foods increase kapha, so I'd stay away from them. Even sweet can increase kapha, but if you are an obviously strong vata (air & ether predominating element constitutions) then you'd keep the sweet in moderation and strictly natural, of course.
Avoid ice cream and cold or icy drinks.
Incorporate more bitter, pungent and astringent foods, such as onions, radishes, chili, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, okra, sprouts, spinach, yellow split peas, red lentils, garbanzo beans. Use fewer dairy products, especially in the morning. Ghee is OK but only in small amounts. Seafood, lobster and duck are not a good idea during Spring season (and in general, if you care about life in more than just a food kind of way.) Fresh juices are great, especially apple, pomegranate and berries.
Start waking up early. Go for walks, do yoga, dance, build things, plant things...do things. Don't nap in the middle of the day. If you practice yoga, make it harder! More movement, more Sun Salutations, more energy, more heat, more standing postures, more back bands. It helps move that kapha.
It's a great time to start learning new things. Your mind is ready after being half awake through the winter and hankering down, concerned with survival, heavy on oily foods, not enough light and not enough motivation to do anything of consequence.
Those of you coming to my Spring retreats you get a healthy dose of all the right yoga stuff. We eat well and we do tons of stuff. That's why Spring retreats are fun, productive and enriching. (For the next Spring Retreat in March, check this link: http://holisticmovementcenter.com/Spring2011.htm)
Cleanses are also productive during changes in the seasons. So, this will be a good time for one. Right around the equinox. Clean up from inside and from the outside. Kiyoko will lead you through a Chakra cleansing workshop and Narayni is putting together a Spring Equinox and Renewal Workshop where she will tell you about herbs and aromas and yoga postures...For those of you in the area, keep you eyes open for the information in the newsletters and Facebook and always check our website.
If you need help figuring out what to do with your self, call me and I will help you put a little program together that you can follow for a few weeks as you transition with Nature.
Cheers all. Happy Spring right around the corner....