Spring is Sprouting
Greetings! The buds and blossoms show that spring is quickly approaching. I've thoroughly enjoyed the scents and colors and hope you have too! This transition can be filled with excitement and inspiration for what is to come, especially if you are someone who isn't in love with the winter grays. No matter your seasonal preference, there is power in practicing presence in transition. Take the time to be with that which you see, feel, hear, smell and taste this time of year. During periods of transition it can be insightful to return to the teachings of Ayurveda to explore this more deeply. Ayurveda is the science of natural healing that looks to the five elements in nature- ether, water, fire, air and earth- to inform individual well being.
Studying Ayurveda has been particularly helpful in my journey of understanding myself and the people and world around me. In studying Ayurveda, I have learned when a dosha (what is a dosha? keep reading) is moving out of balance and how to utilize simple remedies to support myself to live harmoniously. Ayurveda is a complex, intelligent and boundless science and I will attempt to synthesize what I have learned in order to share how and why it is important as we move into spring.
Now.... Back to the doshas! (Take this dosha quiz later to learn more!) Doshas are energies in the body and nature composed of the five elements. There are three doshas, explained very simply below:
Vata- energy of movement
Elements- Air and space
Characteristics- dry, cold, light, rough
Seasons- fall and early winter
Pitta- energy of transformation
Elements- fire and water
Characteristics- hot, sharp, oily, mobile
Seasons- late spring and summer
Kapha- energy of structure
Elements- water and earth
Characteristics- wet, cold, heavy, dense
Seasons- late winter and early spring
The doshas are always shifting and each of us has a constitution consisting of all three doshas in varying proportions. Our constitution is in part how we were born and also influenced by present environment and circumstances. With this in mind, each of us is benefited by learning about our dominant doshas and how we can experience ourselves in balance, in flow, living harmoniously.
Vata: creative and spiritually connected
Pitta: intelligent and content
Kapha: loving and nurturing
Out of balance:
Vata: anxious and fearful
Pitta: angry and irritated
Kapha: depressed and sluggish
As we approach the end of winter, the cold, wet weather is most prevalent which can create a kapha imbalance. In other words, the excess kapha in our external environment can create excess kapha in our internal environment. This can manifest as sluggishness, congestion- allergies and colds, weight gain and fluid retention.
What can you do about excess kapha?
Move your body- Take a walk and enjoy the blossoms. Play basketball with your kids. Garden. Practice yoga. Get your heart rate up for 20 minutes a day if possible.
Establish a daily waking routine- Skip naps even on the grayest of Portland days. If you need time to rest, try the restorative pose explained below.
Stay warm- Eat cooked, warm foods. Enjoy my chai recipe below that is full of delicious, warming spices! Wear cozy clothes and warm colors like red, orange and yellow.
Practice heating pranayama- (unless you are pregnant). Try ujjayi andkapalabhati.
Spring cleaning- (No, I have not read The Art of Tidying Up) Clear out what you don't need, remove the clutter. Aren't we all happier when our space is tidy?
Connect- Spend meaningful time with your loved ones that warm your heart.
Let me know what you try and how it goes. I would also love to have you join me on March 20th for the first workshop in my Spring Workshop series at Sculpt Yoga. Come to the Spring Equinox Restorative Workshop to make this transition together with intention and warmth. You can register here.
Rejuvenate with five minutes spent in salamba setu bandhasana, or Bridge Pose. An excellent spring time restorative yoga pose.
♥ If you don't have bolsters, use firm pillows. Place in a row as they are above
♥ Tie a strap or scarf around the thighs to promote internal rotation of your legs
♥ Lay on the bolsters with your shoulders making contact with the floor. Scoot up or down to adjust for any discomfort in the low back
♥ Place your arms in a cactus shape. Modify with pillows/blankets underneath arms for proper shoulder support.
♥ This supported back bend can help to lower blood pressure, calm the mind and rejuvenate your spirit.