Tuesday, March 20, 2018


At the threshold of each seasonal transition my kids and I plod down to the storage room and rummage
through bins searching for a particular set of books. In June we dig for pages lined with sunshine and
beaches, in September the topics we seek are school and apples and harvest. December we hunt
snowflakes, christmas trees and colorful lights. And then comes March. March maybe holds the most
anticipation. Christmas has it’s obvious excitement but March has a charm all its own - spring. For
months we wait through ice and snow and all things winter. We enjoy the powder while longing for
green. We cuddle up by fires, warm liquid tucked between our hands and soak up the short days and
long rest. Then the month turns to three and we stretch out our limbs, open our hearts and turn to the
sun. “Awake!” our bodies cry. Take a deep breath, get outside and take in the joy that brings us
northerners to tears. And we do. When the thermometer hits fifty and the sun shines bright, we throw
open our windows, tuck our boots away and slip into our shorts as quickly as possible fueled by a
little fear that the warmth might not stay. We know better of course and yet we do it anyway. We
breathe into the spaces that have been hunched over, tight and playing defense and we exhale deeply.

And then it’s spring.

Julie Fogliano may have coined it first. Maybe not. Either way And Then It’s Spring maintains its
place at the top of the list as our favorite springtime book. It pulls at my heartstrings as it narrates
so aptly our journey through spring. The hope, the worry [Will it ever come? Will it stay?], the
preparation and finally the transformation. The more I ponder and observe the more I’m convinced
that spring is a mirror for the journey that unfolds within us. We step out in faith that something will
happen. We meditate, practice asana and pranayama, we eat well, learn and find our teachers. We
spread seeds and hope for rain. It doesn’t look promising at first, bleak even, and our path may be
filled with a mirage of change but we step anyway. We plant anyway. Fools play really. And then a
hum awakens within us. The hum feeding something but we’re not quite sure what. We trust it’s
important - a sign maybe or sweet song encouraging us to keep on. We do so with childlike glee.
Even if it snows a little, we’ve built up enough momentum to get us through. Change pulses through
our bodies and enlivens our minds. And still we wait, ears tuned and hearts ready.

This is spring. The push/pull, desperation and euphoria, beautiful anticipation of it all.

One of the things I find most helpful as the seasonal transition occurs is to stay grounded and balanced.
Spring draws dormate energy up as seeds spring to life and thrust skyward seeking the sun. Branches
transform from lifeless to budding and the wombs of creatures pulsate with expectancy. There’s a
vibrancy and beat about spring. It’s easy to lose our feet and sail to space. Couple this with a body
sloughing off hibernation and the heaviness of winter, we can quickly find ourselves congested,
anxious, on edge. So we ground, we root and then we rise.

Below you’ll find a handful of practices to incorporate this spring. Based on Ayurveda or “the science
of life”, these suggestions are built on an ancient tradition rather than the here today, gone tomorrow
health culture we currently experience. My hope is they’ll help you set roots so your growth can be
anchored, enduring and alive with pleasure.

May you stay firmly rooted as your inner child dances with excitement and radiates the promise of


Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like. Brushing your dry body. At first glance this may fall in
the kooky category but it’s a simple practice with immediate gratification. Dry brushing helps to
slough away dead skin while stimulating circulation and lymphatic movement. This practice is best
integrated into your morning routine as it is invigorating by nature. I love dry brushing because it’s
easy to incorporate, accessible and simple to do. For more information and detailed instructions
visit Joyful Belly, My New Roots or Banyan Botanicals. Note: If you have a significant vata
imbalance this practice may not be appropriate for you at this time. Skip ahead to the oil massage and
enjoy that while working with your diet and, if possible, an Ayurvedic professional to restore harmony.

Abhyanga or Oil Massage
The word “massage” may be enough enticement to give this one a try. One of the most balancing and
grounding practices Ayurveda has to offer, self-massage with oil truly connects you with the loving,
nurturing one within. It’s benefits are many: imparts muscle tone, lubricates the joints, increases
circulation, stimulates the internal organs, assists in detoxification, calms the nerves, deepens sleep
and on and on. Sunflower oil is a fantastic choice for the spring season as it’s one of the more neutral
oils. For instructions visit The Chopra Center or Banyan Botanicals.

Traditionally known as the season of Kapha, early greens tend to be astringent for a reason. Mucus
has a way of building up over winter and spring invites a mass exodus of phlegm. If you’re no
stranger to the springtime sniffles, nettle may be a buddy to invite over to play. Nettle aids in
strengthening the nervous system, increases circulation, reduces inflammation and histamines, and
increases ojas (put very simply, the essence of assimilation). Purusha Ayurveda has a lovely overview
if you’d like to learn more. It’s worth noting that although nettle is beneficial for all three doshas, if
taken in excess an imbalance in vata may occur.

Food & Water
Spring ushers in an overwhelming urge to purge. We clean our homes, clean our cars and look to
switch up our diet. It’s tempting to hop on the pendulum and let it carry you away from the heavier
foods of winter on to singing the salad balad. The thing about transitions is that they are just that -
transitions. Moving from one extreme to other can be detrimental (think backbend to forward fold -
ouch!). I’ve found the best foods for seasonal shifts are simple, easy to digest and relatively bland.
Kichari/kitchari (traditional or soup), ghee, stewed fruit, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), and cooked
root veggies offer balanced nutrition without creating stress for your digestive system. Specifically in
spring, the earth offers early growth like cilantro, stinging nettles, asparagus, ramps and leeks perfect
for gently clearing out stagnant mucus. When choosing food think warm, light and easy to digest, just
like the season itself.  

And then there’s water. I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of drinking pure water. For
a more in depth look at water check out Joyful Belly. Dr. Vasant Lad recommends Ayurvedic Gatorade
to increase the proper absorption of the water we do drink. Spring may be a nice time to add a splash
of apple or pomegranate juice to aid in the dispersal of excess mucous. I will also add that slightly
warmed water is ideal. I keep a pump thermos on the counter filled with warm water so it’s on hand
the whole day through.

Dr. Lad's Ayurvedic Gatorade
pinch of raw sugar, honey or maple syrup
pinch of salt
juice of one-half lime or seasonally appropriate juice (optional)
1 cup water
Mix the sweetener, salt and water together until well blended. Add the juice and mix again.

Bare your Feet

As soon as it’s warm enough, throw off your shoes, spread your toes, sink your heels into the earth
and walk barefoot in the grass. Listing here all the benefits may be helpful but in my experience
there’s no substitute for trying it yourself and letting your own participation speak. Walk slow, feel
fully, breathe deeply.

Peace to you, peace to all.


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