Spring is a season of new beginnings. It’s a time of rebirth: Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, we begin again. We naturally sense an opportunity for a fresh start as we move out of the cold and dark of the winter into the bright, rejuvenating promise of spring. The season is a time for transition and moves fluidly, promoting kapha (moisture) and pitta (warmth) in our systems. The pace of spring tends to feel slower than summer or fall, and our bodies and mind will naturally begin to shed. We might crave lighter foods, feel a need to clean out our closets, start a cleanse, or embark on a retreat to hit the reset button.
It is also common for the spring season to be associated with colds, congestion, hay fever, and allergies. As we emerge from hibernation into the sunlight, we create water and fire in our system. Too much water combined with excess Earth (kapha) leaves us feeling heavy and full of toxins. Too much fire and we overheat, causing allergies flare up. Too much fire and water at the same time leaves our bodies taxed, inflamed, and congested (think sinus headache).
Spring is associate with our liver and gallbladder, which are ruled by pitta. These are our main organs for cleansing and processing toxins. Using Ayurvedic principles, we can learn how to flow with the changes of nature and create balance so we have a healthy glow year-round. Staying balanced in the spring can support our creativity, and motivation while increasing our ability to let go and flow.
Here are a few easy ways to infuse principles of Ayurveda into your life this season.
Embrace a Healthy Spring Diet
You might notice a natural but distinct shift in your craving as winter gives way to spring. The arrival of the warmer weather often marks a decline in desire for the heavy foods you craved during winter months. Your appetite may decrease and you may find yourself craving fruit, fresh vegetables, and salads. This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s time for some spring-cleaning. In fact, spring is a perfect time of year for a cleanse.
You can support your body’s natural desire to purify by favoring the pungent (apples, cranberries), bitter (dark leafy greens), and astringent (lemon) tastes and by eating warm, light foods that are relatively easy to digest. You can further support the process by drinking room-temperature, warm, or hot beverages. Drink tea made with cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger one hour after breakfast and lunch. This is beneficial to your digestive and circulatory systems and helps rid excess mucus. Eliminate foods that increase kapha, like dairy products, iced or cold drinks, and fried or oily food. Increase your intake of water and alkaline foods like green veggies, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and avocados.
Bitter veggies like arugula, mustard greens, and dandelion greens support the liver and gallbladder and help to cleanse the system.
Relax and Play!
Embrace the light-heartedness that springtime tends to bring about. Spring is a natural time to socialize and enjoy friends and loved ones, also a great time to fall in love. Hormones are usually high during this time of year and it’s not just the trees and flowers beginning to bloom! We, too, are budding from the inside and it’s actually recommended to slightly increase your sexual activity during this time. Embrace a sense of playfulness and adventure and give your wild side some outlets for expression. Try something new, wear bright colors, and be open to whatever shows up.
As winter recedes, try to rise early and take advantage of the longer, brighter days. Try to create a stimulating and inspiring morning routine for yourself, even if the routine is simple. Yoga, exercise, and pranayama are great for promoting clarity and lightness. Try stepping up the intensity of your yoga practice and exercise routine to clear out toxins and stimulate your metabolism. Pranayama is especially helpful to remove toxins stimulating clarity and lightness. If your nose is clogged from allergies, try using a neti-pot and a steam. Saunas are great for drying out excess moisture in the body and are excellent for removing inflammation too. Increase your water intake and stay hydrated.
Declutter and Simplify
When our bodies are clean, it is easier to clear out clutter in the mind. This is much easier to do when our home—our physical space—is uncluttered. Get new plants and increase the amount of fresh green things in your living space. Create space in your home and life. When we clear the space around us, we make space for the new.
Just as we create room in our physical space, it’s a good idea to create space in our schedules. Let the agenda go and slow down. Simplify your life by including those people and things that truly revitalize your body and soul. Spring is a time of renewal, so let yourself do nothing and soak up the quietness. Make the space for new ideas and inspiration to emerge.
Whatever changes you decide to make (even if they’re minor), commit to sticking with them. Successful transformation rarely happens with a quick fix or a brief burst of dedication. Look for small shifts each day.
Tune in to Nature
Beauty is everywhere in springtime—renewal is literally sprouting from the ground. The natural world is going through a rebirth, so be creative and forge a connection to this transformational process. Spend some time outside and notice the silence. Slow down to examine the buds and smell the roses. Allow spring to fill you up with inspiration, energy, and light.
Be steady with whatever shift you are inviting into your life and remember that deep change happens slowly. A sign that you are balanced in springtime is that you feel stable, grounded, and connected to the life that is happening around you!
Joan’s grounded teaching style creates space for students to deepen their personal journey while aligning with teachings of true yogic traditions. Joan frequently shares her insight on the subject of health and wellness in national magazines and blogs, including Elephant Journal, Mind Body & Green, Yoga Journal, ORIGIN Magazine and Women’s Health. She currently has a thriving career as a Wanderlust Senior Teacher (E-RYT500) and leads yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings all over the world, while maintaining a full yoga class schedule in Los Angeles. joanhyman.com