8 Yogi Ways to Welcome Spring


springSpring is here! Despite the chill and remnant snow, it is time to consider making some changes to compliment the season. We tend to accumulate heaviness and lethargy through the winter. Spring is a time for rejuvenation as we shed heaviness and release excess toxins. It is a time of empowerment, to reach for what we want and create opportunities for positive change. Here are some yogi ways to welcome spring. 

1) Rise and Shine! (Before 7am) 
The days are lengthening and the nights are shortening. Allow more time to prepare for the day, breathe, move and meditate. Sleeping late and too much creates lethargy and stagnation causing imbalance. If possible greet the sun and take in the beauty. 

2) Tune into Nature 
Go for walks and connect to the Earth once again. Head outdoors and observe the spring rebirth in nature. Notice buds and shoots forming and opening as you walk through your neighborhood. 

3) Eat Lighter and Wiser
Bring more awareness to your diet. Routine meals, three to four hours apart strengthens the mind and body. According to ayurveda, avoid dairy products, iced or cold food or drinks, and oily foods especially in the mornings and evenings. Increase intake of spicy, bitter and astringent foods as well as those that are high in nutrients. 
Here is a helpful spring grocery list that you can refer to and copy.

4) Clear Clutter 
With spring comes the natural urge to get rid of items that are weighing you down. Take advantage of this time. Purge, simplify, and lighten your load. Box up unnecessary items. Donate or have a garage sale. Keeping your home clean will be much easier when the clutter is gone.

5) Neti and Nasaya  
Spring brings pollen season. The yellowish dust that coats your car also fills your nasal passages, causing irritation and allergic reactions. Protect, cleanse and refresh your nasal passages by performing Neti by irrigating nasal passages with warm salt water. (Video below) This process has been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine to alleviate sinus and allergy problems. Follow Neti with Nasaya, dip a q-tip in warm sesame oil, swirl in nostrils, and inhale deeply to lubricate nasal passages. 

6) Self-massage with warm, raw sesame oil, olive oil or coconut oil. This Ayurvedic process promotes balance, lubrication and flexibility of the muscles, tissues, and joints. Ayurvedic texts also recommend daily massage for soft, youthful skin. Below is a great video on how to self-massage. 

7) Practice Bellows Breathe
This breathing technique invigorates the mind and body, supports digestion, and increases metabolism. Take a comfortable sitting position with your back straight. Breathe quickly, rhythmically, and with strength in and out through your nose for 10 to 30 breaths. Breathing is entirely from the diaphragm. When complete, sit in silence for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Contraindicated for pregnancy, uncontrolled hypertension, seizure or panic disorder. It is best not to practice on a full stomach. If you feel light-headed or uncomfortable, take a break before resuming in a less intense expression of practice.

8) Yoga
Spring is a great time to begin or renew your daily yoga practice. Show up regularly on your mat. Exercising in the morning is ideal for this time of year. Get the blood circulating, boost immunity and mood at the beginning of the day with an invigorating practice. 

Sun Salutations are invigorating. See a basic sequence below.

Backbends such as bridge pose and camel pose are energizing asanas that open the chest/heart. Twisting poses helps detoxify the organs.
Forward Folds/Bends such as seated forward fold and standing forward fold stretch the back of the body from head to toe. Downward-facing dog is an inverted forward bend that stretches the back of the body, strengthens arms, wrists, and spine, and tones core muscles. 
Lastly, slow down and keep it simple. Don’t feel like you have to make a lot of changes at once, adding to your daily to-do lists. Include practices that make sense to you. Choose things that revitalize you and make you happy. Develop a rhythm and routine that allows you to progressively lighten up physically, mentally, and emotionally. Enjoy this season and make it yours! Namaste