So as we say goodbye to what seems to have been an eternity of Winter, Spring brings with it the promise of Sunshine, warmth, and a sense of optimism. It’s time to shed the Winter coat of sluggishness and hibernation, and embrace openness and being able to take off that extra layer of clothing!!
Spring is a time for feeling fresh and new again, just like we promised ourselves we would back on January 1st, (yeah, remember all those resolutions?) but this time the longer days and warmer temperatures make things a little easier. Here are a few ways to embrace all that spring has to offer and set good intentions for the rest of the year ahead:
Step up your practice
A natural time of hibernation; Winter can be a time when we slow down, turn our focus inward and maybe take a more gentle approach to our physical yoga practice in order to reserve energy. As we approach Spring time, there is much more of an outward, energetic feeling in the air, which we can infuse throughout our practice. Raise your energy and take on a more ‘yang’ approach by incorporating more energising asanas such as twists, backbends and stimulating inversions. Build up heat and energy by keeping your practice dynamic – lots of sun salutations and vinyasas! By the time Winter rolls around again, you won’t believe the amount of strength you’ve built up.
Shedding our winter coats
Winter saw us choosing warm, nourishing meals to keep us going throughout the cold months. Now the weather begins to turn more sunny and warm, begin to lean towards more fresh and uplifting meals – remember to always keep it nourishing though, so you have enough energy every day to feel good, live fully, and do everything you want to do.
Eat light and local – plenty of fresh greens, fruits and vegetables as locally sourced and naturally pesticide free as possible. Studies have shown that people who include seven servings of vegetables in throughout the day are actually happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t! Think of this as a time to spring clean the body.
Make it mindful
Speaking of spring cleaning, now is a good time to de-clutter the mind, too. Take up meditation and practice mindfulness daily. The importance of mindfulness cannot be underestimated. To get properly acquainted with the importance of living mindfully, read Thich Nhat Hanh’s transformational book ‘The Miracle Of Mindfulness’.
While we’re clearing the mind and body, we might as well clear up the house a little too. This is a perfect time to get rid of the things you don’t need any more – you may be surprised how liberating and free-ing it is to let go of physical clutter! Donate as much as you can to charity shops, or even sell things online.
Spring is a time for new ventures and being a little more self-reliant. If you’ve got the space, try planting a few vegetables; watching them grow and then being able to pick what you’ve been looking after is really rewarding. You don’t need to be planting huge vegetable patches – tending to a little pot of herbs or peppers is just as rewarding. Having plants in the house improves the air quality, which in turn reduces headaches and lowers blood pressure, and they contribute to a feeling of wellbeing (studies have shown that having plants around the house has actually helped people recover from illnesses quicker).
Spending time in nature has proven to have positive effects on health, and Spring is the perfect time to start taking part in more outside adventures again. As the rain clears away, cycle paths, parks and forest walks become more appealing. The morning is a great time to get outside; the blue light particles emitted at this time of the day help to regulate our circadian rhythms and reduce the production of melatonin during the daytime, so we feel extra energised and awake, and we’re able to fall asleep easier at night too!
The ancient indian medical system of Ayurveda, meaning ‘life knowledge’, divides each season in to one of the three doshas; Pitta, Kapha and Vata. For more of an understanding about Ayurveda, go here, and take the test to determine your own dosha here, it’s fascinating!
Spring is the season of the Kapha dosha, which is related to earth and water and is the most stable of the three doshas. While stability is great (especially for Vata types!) it also brings with it the risk of sluggishness, lethargy and laziness. Thankfully, all of the advice about ramping up your practice, getting outside, cleaning things up and eating fresh foods will help to balance this out, so you can feel your best throughout Spring. Specific practices to balance the Kapha dosha at this time of year are; rising early (preferably with sunrise!) drinking warm water with lemon and honey to cleanse the liver and digestive system (especially useful if we’ve been giving in to one too many glasses of wine throughout the colder months….), and moving through an invigorating yoga practice…. Up for it?
Most importantly, do things that you enjoy and that give you energy. Spend some with people who make you feel good, and take some time for yourself in order to re-energise and re-connect with yourself.
‘Spring is nature’s way of saying; ‘Let’s party!’
– Robin Williams