Spring seems to finally be here in Portland. I know some of my friends here and around the country had a tough time with the drawn out cold and wet weather. As I write this the sun is coming up on what is sure to be a gorgeous day. Seeing the sun is even more magical when its been hiding for a little while.
The change of seasons brings an energetic shift. Its easier for me to get up when my alarm goes off (even on those 5am wake-up days), I feel more energized for my workouts and the food I crave is lighter and healthier. I feel myself shifting from the sluggishness of winter and I love it. This leo has missed the warm sun!
I believe that part of being our best selves is aligning with nature. Part of this is eating with the seasons. In Ayurveda (yoga's sister science), there is a strong emphasis on the energetics of food, the impact this has on the constitution and how this impact shifts as the world around us shifts.
Spring is a time of re-awakening, a time to release the stagnant energy of winter. In the winter months moisture builds up in the body and we need to clear that moisture to help rid the body of toxins and reset our health. In Ayurveda, this means eating food that helps to stimulate your digestive system and avoiding food that cause water retention. Here are a few tips to align your nutrition with the season this spring:
Avoid sour and salty foods
Use herbs and spices that heat the digestive system like cayenne, garlic, ginger, cumin and black pepper
Eat warm and lightly cooked meals. Cooked food is easier to digest than raw
Include plenty of high fiber foods such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and (soaked) beans that act as a chimney sweep for your digestive track.
Drink herbal teas that include herbs such as clove, cinnamon, licorice, dandelion, hibiscus and cardamom
Avoid heavy and oily foods
Yoga can help connect you to the energy of any season. In spring, I recommend emphasizing twists in your practice to help stimulate the digestive system. Twists compress your mid section and limit blood flow. When you release the twist, it stimulates flow of blood and energy to those areas. A short yoga practice is a great way to start your day. Here's a short sequence you can practice daily to to help bring you into the flow of spring. I recommend holding each static pose for 5-10 breaths per side
seated side bend
seated twist (from cross legged position)
5 rounds cat/cow
3-5 rounds sun salutations