This morning I noticed that there were little leaves beginning to sprout from one of my indoor house plants.
It made me grateful to see this clear sign that spring is here.
Each year as spring approaches, my houseplants shed their leaves. Sometimes I help them along and pluck the leaves that are dry or discolored. Other times, I remove leaves that are still green because I know that doing so will allow the plant to flourish. I always hesitate a little before removing leaves for fear that I am causing a premature end to their existence. Each time I do however, I can almost hear the plant letting out a big sigh of relief as the weight of the old leaves no longer drains it of precious nutrients. This shedding of old leaves prepares the plant for the new growth that always comes in springtime.
Just like plants and animals, we are affected by the seasons. Our bodies mirror what is happening in nature. The cold and snowy days cause us to eat more, sleep more, and spend more time inside which can show up in our bodies as excess weight. The excess weight we carry doesn't only show up on a scale. We can also feel a heaviness in our energy that can show up as fatigue, lethargy or even depression. According to Ayurveda, this heaviness is caused by a build up of kapha. This damp and heavy energy is a result of the cold and wet days of winter. An excess of kapha is the cause of the congestion, allergies, and weight gain that are so common in the springtime. Ayurveda suggests that we consciously rid ourselves of this heaviness when the spring comes to keep ourselves healthy and strong as we enter into a new season.
The focus of your self care in spring should be to clear out and lighten up. Following these simple guidelines can keep you strong and healthy.
* Get outside and breathe the fresh air.
* Exercise vigorously everyday, focusing on building strength and endurance.
* Go to sleep by 10PM and wake up by 6AM to be rested and clear in your mind.
* Clear out clutter in your home, car, and workspace to avoid feeling burdened by your stuff.
* Reduce or eliminate dairy products since they cause mucus, congestion, and sluggishness.
* Reduce or eliminate sugar which causes weight gain, brain fog, and inflammation.
* Cut down on red meat which can be heavy and slow down digestion.
* Drink ginger tea as a digestive aid.
All living things are impacted by the changing seasons. We can learn to move with grace and ease into the spring by emulating the intelligence and perfection in nature. Make a commitment to shed the excesses of winter and like my plant, you will be ready and open to the new growth that always comes in spring.
If you know me well, you know that I love scars. Especially on faces. They are so beautiful to me because they cannot be hidden. They reveal the truth.
We all have something that we would rather not reveal to the world. If it's a physical affliction, we can sometimes cover it up. Our mental and emotional afflictions however, are much harder to hide.
Buddha said, "there are three things that cannot long be hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth."
The part of ourselves that we don't want to reveal can become our shadow. It lurks inside of us just under the surface until something forces it out of it's hiding. Usually, our shadow side is revealed through our relationships with others.
Carl Jung said that "what we dislike in others is a crack in the door of who WE are." So, what you vehemently acuse another of, is often really what you deny in yourself. We are afraid to reveal our shadow side so instead we project it onto others.
In yoga philosophy we learn to turn our attention inward and study ourselves. This practice of svadhyaya helps us to get to know ourselves deeply and start to acknowledge that what happens outside of us can act as a mirror to what is going on inside of us. When we keep our inward focus we can learn to reveal, accept, and have compassion for our shadow side. We are only human after all and to quote Deepak Chopra, "we are all part saint and part sinner."
Once we see honestly that part of us that we deem as a "sinner" we can release it from where it is hidden so that it no longer has power over us.
When the light of truth and understanding shines through our "cracks", the perfection that is within us can be revealed.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras