The Spring Equinox is on 20 March and the season lasts until 20 May. This is the time when we have new energy and this propels us into forward planning, having a clear vision and sense of purpose. It is a time for personal growth, change and new challenges. It is a time to cleanse, detox and declutter, whether that is your body, your home or your thoughts. Who doesn’t love a good spring-clean!
Spring is related to the element of wood and the organs of the liver and gall bladder. One of the main functions of the liver is that it stores blood and regulates the volume of blood in the body. When more blood is needed, for example during exercise, it sends out blood to nourish the muscles and tissues in the body. It makes bile to aid digestion and also helps to detoxify by removing bacteria, breaking down drugs, alcohol etc. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the liver is believed to govern our sight and helps us see the direction for the future. The paired organ of the gall bladder stores up to a litre of bile and balances energy through hormone production. In TCM it is seen as the decision maker and controller of our judgment.
The meridian lines (energy pathways that flow through our body) for the liver run from the lateral side of the big toe, up the inner thigh to the chest. For the gallbladder, they start on the side of the head, run down the sides of the body and end in the outside of the little toe. When the energy of the liver flows smoothly and is balanced you will feel energised, focused and clear-headed but when imbalances exist you may feel anger, frustration, irratibility and struggle with forward planning.
In your spring yoga practise, focus on foundation, like the roots of the tree, pulling in new energy and creating strength and stability for the body and mind. Side bends and twists are intergral to our spring practise, opening up the meridian lines for the liver and gallbladder, cleansing and harmonising the body’s organs. Move smoothly from one pose to another, stay soft yet strong but maintain focus by fixing the eye on a specific point (drishti).
Spring is an important time to pay special attention to your eyesight. Try splashing your eyes with water 20 times, both morning and night. It will give them a good cleanse. Another soothing technique is palming. Rub your palms together until you create a bit of heat, and then gently place your palms over closed eyes. This will help rest and relax the eyes. Try this exercise to keep the eye muscles strong. Look up and down then look as far as you can to the right and then the left. Next move your eyes diagonally up to the left and then down to the right then move diagonally up to the right and then down to the left. Finally make wide circles clockwise and anti-clockwise then softly close and rest your eyes.
Having emerged from our winters rest, we should now feel rejuvenated and have a spring in our step. With a clear vision for the year ahead, be sure to keep motivated and don’t let other peoples negative vibes get you down. Spring is a wonderful time to have a clear out and cleanse … be it in the house, or by means of a detoxing diet or massage to free the body of toxins. Clear out any old unwanted things and if possible use toxin-free cleaning products. Then work on de-cluttering your own thoughts – set goals, start something new, detox mentally and make positive changes. One of the Niyamas (personal observances) of the 8 limbs path of yoga is Saucha, cleanliness. This asks us to be pure and clean both in body and mind. So think about cleansing the body with a good diet but also have pure, kind thoughts and actions. The colour for spring is green, so support the health of your liver by eating lots of cleansing fresh green vegetables. Drink nettle and fennel tea for a refreshing detoxifying alternative to caffiene.
“Your vision will become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens” – Carl Jung