by Jillian Pransky
Yoga always places a high value on purification of body and mind at all levels, all the time, but especially in spring as we need to rid the body of the sludge and heaviness of winter, ridding us of any built up residue of the mind and body.
It is a time to release toxins and lighten up. Some extra heat as well, stimulates and revitalizes the liver and large intestines. To do this we can and incorporate mindful yoga flows (moving at the pace of the breath), twists, side leans and inversions. Heat helps generate sweat and naturally detoxify our bodies.
Slow flows are ideal for movement that can be vigorous, but keep you feeling grounded. Twists stimulate the organs (especially the liver) and balance the hemispheres of the brain to enable greater mental and emotional balance.
Inversions (even gentle inversions like legs up the wall) can aid the flow of blood back to the lungs and heart for purification. In addition, inversions and most yoga asanas assist the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system circulates lymph fluid and transports cellular waste, viruses and bacteria from the tissues to the lymph nodes.
Most importantly, your yoga practice should not leave you feeling depleted, but rather “ready to go.” Stay rooted while you begin to rise up and out, rejuvenated but relaxed.
FLOWING WITH CHANGE
During these times of transformation being out in nature can help you feel centered and make the transition easier. Walking through the park or woods, digging in the dirt and breathing in the fresh spring air are a few simple ways to harmonize with spring’s energy. As you step outside for the first time each day, pause, breathe deeply and feel your feet on the ground. Notice what has changed around you. Are there new buds on the trees, or a new flower rising? Affirm to yourself that you, too, have the ability to change.
STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS, NOW.
To help center your self at any point of the day–stop and actually smell the flowers!
Literally, smell a flower, taking a few full complete breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply. Not only do you get the joy of a delicious scent, but breathing like this, while placing your mind on the flower, helps relax the mind’s habit of forwarding, rewinding, analyzing, worrying and complaining. Instead, you can become more centered and clear about what’s really important to you. Plus, it evokes the Relaxation Response, which literally calms your nervous system and brings down your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and levels of stress hormones.
KEEP THE FAITH
“Keep your faith in all beautiful things; in the sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone.” – Roy R. Gilson
Try this short 8-minute slow flow perfect to fit in every morning upon waking, or at any point during the day. Done regularly it can help create inner warmth, tone the abdomen, stimulate the digestive and elimination systems, open the lungs, and release overall tension.
Jillian Pransky is an international presenter, National Director of Restorative Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training for Yoga Works and co-founder of the Bright Spirit Yoga Teacher Training. She leads programs at Kripalu, Omega and Mohonk. Jillian’s Calm Body, Clear Mind DVD and Relaxmore CD have garnered excellent reviews from many including Dr. Memhet Oz. She has been featured in many magazines including Yoga Journal, Self Magazine, Family Circle and appeared on CNN. See all of Jillian’s workshops here.