Soon enough, the signs that it had arrived became more and more noticeable, and I loved to think that I had something to do with it. Little did I know at the time, from a Chinese medicine standpoint, spring begins to wake up right after Chinese New Year, building up Yang quietly until it gathers enough force to burst through visibly in nature.
Though there may still be snow on the ground, springtime energy is already blossoming when March rolls around. With Yang energies picking up momentum, spring is a time of expansion, enthusiasm, rapid growth, and transformation. It is the early-childhood season of the year. Nature is budding and buzzing all around us, waking up from winter dormancy to delight in fresh possibilities, actively make decisions, and push them into manifestation.
It’s time for you to do the same, and these tips will help you tune into the season so you can rise to your fullest potential.
Renew Your Resolutions:
Many New Year’s resolutions are based on intentions of pushing oneself further, adopting a more active lifestyle, or cultivating more positive interactions. But when following the Western calendar, the new year begins at the heart of winter, when the days are short and the weather is cold.
With all other living things hibernating, who would really want to go out and do anything other than cuddle up with a nice cup of hot tea? It’s no wonder that so many resolutions are quickly broken!
But pushing power and renewal belong to spring, not winter.
Spring is when nature uses all that stored winter energy to burst forth and become more active. As the birds outside become more social, so should you. As sprouts break through barriers, so should you.
Take another look at those “failed” January resolutions and see if maybe these coming spring months might better support you in your endeavors. Use the enthusiastic force of spring to your advantage as you give your neglected goals another go, and transform them into habits that stick.
Feeling restless? That’s normal this time of year. Instead of letting that agitation irritate you, harness it to take your practice to the next level. Now is the time to challenge yourself.
If you usually go to hatha or yin classes, try taking a vinyasa or ashtanga class and see what happens. If you usually practice 2-days a week, try going 3 times, or 4, or even do a 30-day yoga challenge. If you’ve doubted that you’re ready for that advanced class, this would be a great time to check it out.
Of course you should still honor your body and rest when you need to, but don’t use that as an excuse to be lazy. Conquer your fear and step up to the plate first. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish, and how great you feel, when you do.
Wake-Up Earlier and Play Outside:
The sun is shining earlier and staying out later, gently waking what was dormant with its emerging brilliance. Support the stirring exuberance inside of you and experiment by starting your day with the sun.
Go outside to watch the dawn. Let yourself laugh and play and feel the fresh spring air as a child would. Celebrate the newness and potential of the season as you emerge from your own hibernation. Even if you’re grumpy getting out of bed earlier, give yourself the chance to see what happens when you let yourself out of your shell and feel the earth under your feet. You might just discover something new.
Spring is a time for directing energy, not storing. Therefore, heavier, slow-cooked winter meals should increasingly be replaced with briskly-cooked fresh ingredients. Instead of eating root vegetables, try eating more of the veggies that are popping up above the soil. Also, replace soups and roasts with lightly steamed or stir-fried ingredients that still have a bit of their crunch.
Furthermore, support your liver, (the organ associated with spring,) by eating small amounts of sour foods like vinegar dressing and lemon-water, and balance the astringency and strength of the season by adding pungency to every dish. Sprucing up your meals with mint, spring onions, ginger, horseradish, mustard, and pepper will leave you feeling clear and invigorated.
Finally, fending off the cool spring winds with gently warming herbs like fennel, oregano, rosemary, caraway, dill, and bay leaves will keep you thriving until the summer heat hits full-force.