The weather’s warmed up around Sydney and I can feel a real buzz in the air with the anticipation of summer just around the corner. But while our mind’s might be ready for fun in the sun, but how about our bodies?
I’m seeing a lot of students lately sniffling their way through class, complain about throat tickles, feeling a little low energy and worrying about dawning the bikinis again.
Spring is the sticky season according to Ayurveda. Our body’s often have an excess of mucus from winter stagnation and we want to use this time of year to shake that off, clear our channels and get things moving again.
This is the season dominated by the elements water and earth, called Kapha, and after the winter months of slower metabolism and movement many of our digestive, breath, immune and energetic channels can be clogged up with accumulated toxins.
Basically, we’ve got a bit of the winter sweater hanging on still and Spring time is the perfect time to shed it by cleansing the body. So I’ve come up with a list of yogic and Ayurvedic recommendation for how to do that.
- Up your exercise
Spring time is the best time for vigorous exercise because the weather is not yet too hot and our body has extra stored fuel from the winter insulation we often put on.
Being that is Kapha season also means we’re most connected to the dense physical earth and water elements and naturally gravitate toward being more aware of our bodies. Try those hand stands, forearm balance or challenging physical things you’ve always wanted to do. When we have greater cohesion of Kapha energy we’re less likely to get injured.
- Eat more pungent, bitter and astringent foods
In Ayurveda all food falls under one of six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Sweet, sour and salty are considered building tastes, meaning when we eat them they build mass. Pungent, bitter and astringent are considered reducing tastes, meaning when we eat them they reduce mass.
We want to reduce mass and shed the winter sweater, burn through accumulated fat which holds toxins and lighten our physical being to find balance.
Pungent includes anything spicy, onions, garlic, chills, ginger ect.
Bitter includes bitter greens, turmeric, dandelion root, herbs ect.
Astringent includes things like grapefruit, legume, raw veggies ect.
Hot or cold this a great drink to have in the spring time to stoke the digestive fire and bring lightness into the system. Simply mix juice of half a lemon, slice of fresh ginger, pinch of cayenne pepper and teaspoon of maple syrup or coconut syrup.
This is a great thing so sim warm in the morning or evening, and cool throughout the day. It also curbs appetite and can helps us snack less through the day.
- Relieve allergies and sinus with neti pot
For years I dreaded spring time because my sinus were so sensitive to the the pollens and flower fragrances newly bursting forth. But that sinus pain has nearly vanished since I started a regular practice of flushing my sinuses using a neti pot (one of the traditional yogic cleansing practice). Ask at any health food store or chemist and you’re likely to find one with instructions.
- Eat more greens
Eat all the fresh greens you can! Nature is always guiding us into balance. In the Autumn when we want to put on a bit of weigh for winter it provides us with a harvest of nuts and root veggies, in the spring when we want to lighten our system for summer it provides us with a harvest of leafy greens.
Try to bring greens into every meal this time of year. Play with spinach in your green smoothie for breakfast, big salads at lunch and steamed greens for dinner.
- Sprout at home
Along the same lines as above, we always want to fallow the wisdom of nature. Right now everything is sprouting, and sprouts are an amazing super food. Sprouts have more protein per pound than lean meat and far more absorbable and diverse nutrients.
It’s so easy to sprout at home there’s no reason not to do it! Simply get a packet of alfalfa seeds, put a scoop full in a jar, place a cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar and hold in place with a rubber band, rinse the seeds with water and drain in the morning and evening. In a few days you’ll have a jar full of fresh sprouts, voila!
- Fire up your breath with pranayama
Keeping the breath channels open and cleanse is really important. Our body pushes unwanted waste out of us via the mucus channels of our body, and one of the main ways we see this in the Spring is through a snotty nose.
Get a box of tissues ready and practice Kapalabhati and Bhastrika pranayama. Check out this article by Yoga International to learn more.
- Spring clean your space
Finally, we feel energetically clear and light when the environment around us is also clear and light. Spring cleaning our home and space helps the energy around us flow better, and when this happens the energy within us also flows better.