WELCOME TO SPRING…
Greens and flowers sprouting, red clovers are scattered through the grass and dandelions pop up in masses inviting us to cleanse and lighten following spring’s desire to lighten as well. Winter’s heaviness has accumulated, and the wetness of spring can manifest within as our digestion and lymphatic system gets a bit sluggish. What we digested more easily in the winter, those heavier foods, root vegetables, maybe meats, and treats, can’t be assimilated and digested as well as spring approaches.
Do you feel tired, sluggish, or dull? It’s time to tone the inner tissues, cleanse and reset. This can be a one day cleansing reset, three days or three weeks. I’ve got a plan for you if you want to chat. Spring is the time to lighten up.
There’s some ideas below, or check out Banyon Botanicals for more information on cleanses, Pancha Karma, and the preciousness of kitcharee. Lifespa, Dr.John Doulliard’s site, has some resources and a group cleanse coming up you might want to check out.
For optimal wellness in spring favor the tastes
BITTER, ASTRINGENT, and PUNGENT.
It’ll help remove winter’s accumulation and prepare for summer. Bitter, astringent, and pungent are the three tastes that reduce kapha, the water and earth elements that resides in our body and around us this time of year. These tastes are necessary to tone and cleanse our organs and tissues helping to squeeze winter out, squeeze sluggishness out, and lighten within. This will help reset our digestive system, clear our mind and overall help us feel great.
The dosha kapha, and it’s elements originates in the stomach and lower lungs. When in excess these elements overflow and we might experience congestion, whether that be lymphatic congestion, sinus congestion, colds, seasonal asthma, foggy mind, etc...
WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW:
RELEASE accumulated winter from our tissues.
Drink a cup of warm water upon rising.
Sip warm water through the day.
Scrap your tongue gently with a tongue scrapper in the morning.
CORIANDER and GINGER TEA:
Put a pinch of each of these powders or coriander seeds and a slice or two of fresh ginger into a cup of boiled water.
Drink this 2x a day.
CARDAMOM, CINNAMON, and GINGER: put equal parts of the powders of these spices together in a spice jar and sprinkle on your food; use 1/2 tsp in dishes as a hint of a secret ingredient; put 1/8-1/4 in a cup and fill with hot water to make a tea
TRIPHALA POWDER: put 1/2 tsp triphala powder into a 1/4 cup of water at night, in the morning at a tad of boiled water to the cup and drink. If there’s sediment in the bottom, leave it there and refill with a little water, drink this at night 1 hour before bed and start with fresh powder and begin process again.
GET UP AN D GET MOVING, upon rising in the morning! Get the lymphatic system going. Stretch, do jumping jacks, run in place or shake your booty and dance into your morning. In spring we can feel stuck and stagnant if we don’t shake off winter’s density and springs wetness. So shake it.
ABOUT THAT RISING PART, rise with the sun, it’ll be the key to resetting your system and it creates a positive cycle setting the stage for bringing your body into balance. In general, bed by 10 and up by 6:30. If you know your dosha, kapha will be most balanced if up at 5:00, Pitta at 5:30 and Vata at 6:00. These times can actually be about 30 minutes earlier then this if you’re use to early rising. But if you’re not, even just rising 15 minutes earlier a day will help to reset your body’s rhythm and allow the right bedtime, better sleep.
When rising with the sun you will be more ready to have your biggest meal of the day between 11 and 1. This may have just seemed random to throw this in but it’s all part of the rhythmic cycle of our body and the cyclical nature of it all. When we find our way back to be in sync with the cycles of nature we can also come to a place of our ultimate wellness.
OTHER DAILY RHYTHMS:
Neti pot gentle nasal irrigation:
1/4 tsp sea salt in 1 cup of boiled water that’s been cooled off to a warm temperature.The right temperature and right about of sea salt makes for a smooth experience. See what is best for you. If you haven’t done this before and you have or will get a neti pot, you’ll be tilting your head to the side, placing the neti pot at the upside nostril and pouring while closing the throat as if you were saying the sound “K”. Do one side, then the other.
Do neti pot in the morning followed by oiling the nasals.
Don’t do this before lying down, don’t blow hard after.
Do lean forward to let excess water come out, and you can very glently blow.
Oil the nasals morning and night. You can use a cotton swab dipped in oil or you can drop 3 drops in each nostril (sesame oil, or Banyon Botanicals nasya nose oil or get some from me). My nasals need more attention to just the oiling but the neti pot does help many ward off colds and keep allergy sinuses clear. Put partaking in neti post is best when a sinus infection isn’t present.
Apply oil topically preferably before you bathe (since it brings toxins to the surface doing it before bathing will help to cleanse), At the least, apply oil to the bottoms of your feet before bed. It can help you sleep more soundly.
Did you know you can use oil to wash your face and body? It efficiently cleanses the pores, it’s antimicrobial and helps hydrate skin (wet face with warm water, wash with a little high quality appropriate skin type oil, then wipe off with warm water, this is especially great for vata dryer skin and some pitta sensitive skin).
Cook with ghee (it’s lactose free and considered an oil rather then a butter and it contains Butyric acid which is an important element in our digestive system.
THE BASICS, tastes, meals, sleep
- Avoid sweet, sour and salty and favor bitter, astringent, and pungent.
- Try to have three meals a day so that your metabolism has a chane to reset. When we have those hours in between meals without the snacking the fat layer of our body can burn out toxins. By having a break from food in between meals it acts as a natural cleansing process. When we snack it stops this process. I find that my energy gets low if I haven’t eaten enough at a meal when I’m trying to do three meals a day. I’m a grazer it seems but when I’m not a grazer and I’m trying for three meals a day, I often need a protein drink or some sort of snack but I’ll try to choose when that is rather then falling into the habit of grazing. Habits can be easy to fall into so setting an intention and honing in on a plan can help.
- Have your biggest meal at lunch. Lunch is the easiest meal to digest when eaten between 11 and 2. Metabolism and energy are increased by eating your largest meal at lunch; eat a smaller dinner, aka supper, that is supplemental meal. If you’re starving at night for dinner, you didn’t have enough for lunch. Take a break in your day to rekindle your energy and rest for 5-10 minutes after lunch, not sleeping but resting before going about the rest of your day, lie down on your left side and then take a short walk. You’ll find sustained energy when beginning this practice and your biorhythms will begin to balance out allowing for easier waking in the morning, better sleep at night, and you’ll help your metabolism.
- And again just repeating get up early in the morning, that is, rise with the sun, this will help reset your inner clock, will help tune up your natural self-healing abilities. Your immune system gets challenged when the seasons change, and you might notice that you are ready to go to sleep earlier or you are feeling sluggish and instead of an afternoon nap or sitting in the evening after dinner, take a relaxing walk to better prepare for you slumber,that most rejuvenating time of day. Listen to your body. It might be whispering to you rather then yelling out so check in.
- Spring is the time to spice up your day when needed, change your routine when it’s stagnate, do something spontaneous, shake up your schedule if it’s weighing you down.
- Meditate (at least 10 minutes) in the morning
- Massage the whole body with sesame or sunflower at least two-three times a week. Prior to your bath or shower, oil your body with sesame oil, which can feel heavy for some, so for a lighter oil choose almond or sunflower oil. For those with any skin rashes or sensitive skin try sunflower oil as it helps to relieve skin irritations. It’ll help warm your body and create health and ease in your tissues, and in turn helps to relax the mind
- Flow, breath with movement, sun salutes
- Lie on your back, hold onto your knees, inhale knees away from you, exhale knees into your chest and at the same time head to your knees
- kapha’s origin is the chest and lower lungs so poses that help massage and open and relax this area are beneficial
General Eating Tips:
- Sit to eat, give thanks, chew with mindfulness
- Sip warm water throughout the day
- Proteins with veggies, and carbs with veggies but proteins and carbs together are hard to digest. Rules smules I say but what is good to remember is what we do most of the time is what matters most.
- Eat fruit alone! Not by yourself but rather eat fruit by itself without combining other foods as tough as that might be.
Kitcharee: a yummy dish of mung (moong dal) and rice, enjoy it at least twice a week, soak it and rinse it really well.
See the recipe in “recipes”.
One day cleanse: Eat kitchare for three meals, sip hot water through the day, drink coriander and ginger tea....in short...
Or with more variations and details a 3 week more pancha karma based cleanse can renew and reset your whole self.
Listed below are considered the best choices but of course many others can be chosen just think bitter, astringent, pungent and if it’s not that just have it in moderation....
FRUITS: dried fruits that aren’t too sweet like cherries and cranberries. Granny Smith apples, pomegranate, grapefruit.
VEGETABLES: sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cilantro, corn, kale, leafy greens!!
GRAINS: amaranth, barley, basmati rice, buckwheat, corn flour, quinoa.
LEGUMES: mung beans, red lentils
DAIRY: goat milk and this is the time of year to avoid diary, although ghee will be fine, just not in excess. And for some like myself who have vata in their nature might find they need to keep some oil in their diet, I’m in my 40s and vata/pitta and find that my body needs either daily ghee or avocado.
NUTS AND SEEDS: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
MEATS (if you partake): chicken, turkey, fresh water fish
SPICES: just about all spices, but avoid salt
OILS: safflower, sunflower, mustard seed
SWEETENERS: raw honey
BLESSING AND HAPPY SPRING
Tap the reservoir of strength within,
there’s an inner light that shines bright,
it’s steady and it’s strong
amid busy lives and an uncertain world,
there is peace in this present moment,
breathe deeply now,
And for this moment just be,
you are enough!