Ayurvedic tips to help maintain health and wellness balance in the changing of the seasons….
Spring is the season of transition, birth, new beginnings, renewal and growth. In Ayurveda we learn to observe and understand nature, so that we can understand ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be “in tune” with nature, we learn to be in the flow with each changing season.
Winter is a season of building; spring is a season of releasing. We eat more heavily in the winter for insulation and our digestion is stronger. By the time spring arrives, most likely we have accumulated some of the heavier foods of winter and the channels of our body can become clogged. One may notice that our appetite has decreased, we feel a heaviness in our bodies, we are susceptible to colds, coughs, allergies, congestion, increased mucus, fatigue, weight gain, foggy brain and lethargy. Some of us will crave salads, greens and lighter foods. Spring is the time to support the elimination of any accumulated excess and allow our channels to re-open and flow.
As the temperature starts to become warmer, the snow and ice melt, rivers flow and get muddy, sap flows from trees and we see little sprouts and buds starting to grow! It feels that there is a renewal or cleansing happening, there is more light and warmth and new growth begins.
Spring is the hope of a fresh, clean start. Whatever we are carrying around from winter is released, cleansed, de-cluttered and makes space for energy to flow, channels to open and room for new life to arise. Spring-cleaning happens outside in nature and inside all of us. It is time to sweep, open all the doors and windows and let the light in!
In Ayurveda, it is said, that “like increases like” and opposites are used to create balance. The qualities of spring are: heavy, cold and oily. To create balance, use lightness, warmth, dryness and sharpness in our lives. In winter we eat more sweet, sour and salty foods. In spring we eat more pungent, bitter and astringent to create balance. Mother nature provides those foods in dark greens, asparagus, rhubarb, pomegranates and many others.
Some spring Ayurveda tips…
- Eat less when the appetite is less. Make breakfast and dinner smaller meals and lunch the largest meal of the day.
- To strengthen the digestive fire, eat light, warming food and add more pungent, bitter and astringent foods. Use spices to cook with, such as, ginger, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander and fennel.
- Avoid cold, heavy, oily foods, iced drinks, processed foods, frozen, canned, non-organic, GMO foods, deep fried, leftovers and heavy sweets. Use dairy, foods that are sour, sweet and salty, raw foods and breads in moderation, or not at all. These are all hard to digest.
- Keep it simple…steamed vegetables, spicy brothy soups, lighter grains, sweet juicy fruits cooked with spices and use less oil.
- Exercise early in the morning, sometime between 6-10am or in the evening 6-10pm.
- Avoid snacking and have an early dinner, then take a walk outside.
- Drink herbal teas such as ginger, dandelion or CCF (cumin/coriander/fennel) to strengthen digestion and promote cleansing.
- Scrape your tongue to remove bacteria and use a neti pot to clean nasal passages.
- Dry brush your skin in the morning to assist in lymphatic drainage. Use warm sesame oil for self-massage for the whole body, leave on for 15-20 minutes and then shower.
- Breath deeply and take time to turn your attention inward with meditation, journaling, reflection, gratitude and discover new intentions, creativity and joy!
Mother Earth is waking up and so are we. Spring is a season of celebration, movement, inspiration, love, sunshine, bird song and the bloom of color returning. Align oneself with the flow and beauty of spring. Keep the chest open and the heart-space expanded…wishing you all a happy springtime!!
Nancy Carlson, Ayurvedic Health Counselor and Integrative Health & Wellness Nurse Coach, brings a multi- dimensional approach to her work by combining her experience as an RN in conventional western medicine with holistic healing modalities.