Springtime is beautiful, dynamic, and even a little magical. As nature moves out of the cold, wet, dark winter toward a brighter season. Nature makes it look smooth, but for us humans it’s not as easy to transition gracefully from one season to the next—especially from winter to spring. More often we find ourselves feeling heavy and sluggish, like a grumpy bear reluctantly coming out of hibernation. Here’s our first instalment to step into Spring.
If you truly aspire to be a butterfly—and not a sluggish bear—you’ll want to complement your asana and breathing practices with more awareness about your diet. The most important way to ensure a healthy agni is to eat—and not eat—at regular intervals during the day; having routine meals with adequate time between them strengthens mind and body.
Eat light, easy-to-digest foods during spring and wait at least three to four hours between meals. Try eating less of or eliminating foods that increase kapha —dairy products, iced or cold food or drinks, and fried or oily food—especially in the morning and at dinner.
Instead of a snack, do a short pranayama practice and see what happens. If you’re truly hungry, have something nourishing like miso soup or a some juice. And remember that strengthening your willpower is an excellent exercise is a great way to step into Spring.
To take your ama-flushing a step further, consider a dietary cleanse. As an alternative to strict fasting, spend five to 10 days eating only fresh (ideally local) fruits and vegetables and kitchari, a curried mung bean and rice dish. This will improve your digestive system.
During your cleanse, you can also drink tea made with cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger one hour after breakfast and lunch. Drink herbal tea in the evening; it’s beneficial to your digestive and circulatory systems.
Tune into Nature
Now it’s time for the fun part, to enjoy nature. All you have to do is look around to be inspired at this time of year; renewal and transformation are literally welling up from the ground. The natural world is going through a rebirth, so be creative and forge a connection to this awesome process. For some of you, this may mean turning to your daily yoga practice to nature. An easy starting place is with Sun Salutations, which were traditionally practiced in the morning. Your efforts to connect to nature can go beyond the edges of your yoga mat. Head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Anything that gives you time and space to appreciate and feel energetic stepping into Spring.
Yoga Wellbeing would love to know how you are enjoying Spring and bringing different influences into your practice.
The great yoga master T. Krishnamacharya adjusted his approach to practicing and teaching yoga to correspond with the time of year. You may not have a spring festival or an Indian yoga master to guide you, but by weaving some simple Ayurvedic principles into your life, you can weather this seasonal transition smoothly and emerge feeling transformed and ready to get your springtime groove on.