I hope each of you are enjoying this wonderful weather today. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. While winter is the time to nourish the body and allow time for rest, to conserve and build the body’s qi (vital energy), springtime seems to invoke a natural tendency for all of us to want to create a healthier food plan, begin or re-evaluate our fitness goals, and cleanse and detoxify our systems with the young greens that are beginning to grow.
Increasing physical activity, as well as the amount of natural fiber we eat, helps rid the body of all that waste accumulated over the winter. One way to detoxify the body and vitalize all body systems is through juicing. Juicing is always a great idea no matter the season. Fresh organic produce invites clean, vibrant enzymes to flood our body’s cells with energy. According to Chinese Medicine, the organ most associated with spring (and in need of cleansing at this time) is the liver.
Juice for Liver Sake!
Carrot-celery and carrot-parsnip juices are excellent aids in detoxification. Carrot-beet helps the liver and kidneys. Sprouts can be juiced, too, for their live enzymes and rich nutrient value. In addition, a little dandelion works well to move a sluggish liver and alleviate such conditions as skin abnormalities.
Spring Into Health:
• Set your alarm for 7am at the latest; preferably earlier as sleeping later will further aggravate kapha (a winter dosha). Massage your body with warm sesame or sunflower oil, followed by a warm shower. Dry skin brushing is excellent for stimulating lymph and sloughing off dead skin cells. Use firm sweeping strokes towards the heart to aid the elimination of fluid. Saunas can be a useful for drying up excess secretions.
• Engage in moderate exercise to get the lymph moving in the body, preventing congestive problems. It is also one of the best ways to stimulate a sluggish digestion and aid detoxification. Make your yoga practice dynamic and stimulating. Sun salutations are ideal as they build up heat, working all the major muscles. Kappalabhati pranayama is also good for generating internal heat and burning toxins.
• A spring Ayurvedic diet recommends more bitter tastes (ex: herbs such as dandelion), as well as spicy (ex: fresh ginger herbal tea). These tastes open the channels of elimination, clearing excess mucus and moisture from the body. Reduce kapha-aggravating sweet, sour and salty foods which could cause water retention at this time. In common with the winter diet, minimize raw and cold foods, favoring warm, lightly cooked meals. Lighter grains such as quinoa, millet and barley are all Kapha reducing, but minimize wheat dominant foods.
• Use a neti pot to give the nose a daily rinse with warm, salt water over a sink. This not only helps ward off colds and hay fever, but will also improve your pranayama. Read David Frawley’s ‘Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda’ which includes information on adding herbs to your neti to aid detoxification.
• For a spring cold, help clear mucous by eating light, warm, simple foods as you rest. Soup is ideal. Avoid dairy products, sweets, fried foods and bread made with yeast which increase congestion. Fresh ginger tea is excellent, especially with raw honey added once the tea has cooled down. Raw honey clears mucous and kapha due to its heating, drying and channel clearing effect. It is the best sweetener for kapha types and is good for all in spring. (www.http://www.yoga-abode.com)
When in doubt about your fitness or nutritional needs, seek professionals in these fields for answers. Always check in with your doctor to review any concerns, make an appointment for a check up, or have your blood checked for vitamin/mineral deficiencies.