Finally we are easing into Spring and as we do there is the inevitable ebb and flow, one step forward into warmer weather, two steps back into the cool of wintery windy days.
There are 2 natural junctions in the year where they body wants to cleanse the accumulation of the previous few months and prepare for the next season. Spring is one of these times.
During winter we naturally slow down, sleep and eat more. Now nature is encouraging us to shed the winter heaviness…and I am not just talking those few extra kilos that may have crept on in the last few months, but also the feeling of lethargy, the desire to sleep in, or wanting the heavier foods.
As the weather warms new life is bursting around us.We see this in the blossoms and new green shoots of leaves and the greens becoming abundant in our gardens. This burst of life can give us a clue as to what is right for our bodies at this time of year.
To assist the body in bringing the lightness of Spring within we need to bring the qualities of Spring into our days and our diets. These qualities are lightness, movement and warmth.
Our daily habits and our food choices want reflect these qualities. If we are still in winter mode in our kitchens and our habits then we are going against the flow of nature’s rhythms and creating a sense of dis-ease within our bodies and minds, clogging our channels with gunk that naturally wants to move out of the body at this time, to lighten and cleanse.
This can create an excess of mucous at this time of year and a greater susceptibility to colds, flus and a hypersensitivity of our mucous membranes which can lead to hayfever.
Lightness: Now is the time to bring aspects of lightness into our diet. We can in general eat a little less. Go Green like spring. Increase your intake of leafy greens, lightly steamed green veggies like broccoli and snow peas. The bitter taste of dark leafy greens has a detoxifying effect for our liver and blood. Even the bitterness of weeds from our garden, (as long as they are not sprayed), such as dandelion and thistles can be mixed in small amounts into salads or green smoothies.
Bitters assist the liver in cleansing winter wastes out of the blood and fat tissues to give more vitality at this time of year.
Like spring…Start sprouting! Fresh sprouts such as alfalfa, mung bean or lentil sprouts are very alkalinising and chock full of nutrients too.
Time to get moving! Pull out those old runners and go for a regular walk, run or practice a vigorous yoga class! Any exercise will move our lymphatic system, clear our breathing channels and help the body cleanse, feel lighter and more energised. Exercise to wake up the inner body and get things moving. Push your boundaries a little…break a sweat!
First thing in the morning is a good time time to shift that heavier energy and help you to feel vibrant for the whole day. Or, now the days are getting longer, an after dinner walk is great too!
Neti, the practice of cleansing the nostrils with warm and slightly salty water is very beneficial for those who experience mucous at this time of year….move the snot out to clear your channels and feel clearer in the head. Click here for a demo. (Living Ayurveda stocks these very easy to use Neti pots too! Very easy to do in the shower.)
Warmth: To help liquefy the accumulation of winter we need plenty of hydration and also warmth. Start the day with a big glass of warm water with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice to assist in detoxifying the liver. Saunas are great at this time of the year. But we can also bring the warmth in by adding warming spices in our food. The pungent taste does this for us.
Ginger, black pepper, cayenne, cumin….now is the time to spice up your life!
If you feel very sluggish and clogged with mucous in the mornings ads a pinch of cayenne and honey to your lemon water to start your day with a kick!
Aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme and bay leaves support the lungs and clear phlegm from the body. Other gentler spices such as cumin, fennel and coriander are also useful to assist digestion and help to keep Spring colds at bay.
The Ayurvedic wisdom of flowing with the Seasons, called Ritucharya, will help to keep you vibrant and well as we move through Spring and into Summer.