The Spring Equinox is fast approaching, and the weather has made this known! As the seasons change, so do our bodies. All that was stored for the cold winter is now able to be released, including excess weight and toxins.
Our digestion is revving up as the sun stays in the sky for longer and our lungs are bracing for allergy season.
I am aware that this post is going out in the midst of the Coronavirus crises. With that in mind, the information in this article is also applicable as a necessary precaution to boost our bodies immunities and strength through these times.
This article is one of three on how to keep the body, mind, and energy field running smooth and healthy. Intentionally making the seasonal transition a graceful one.
SPRING CLEANING THE BODY
As the seasons change, so do our bodies. Entering Spring it is vital to support our Qi by cleansing the Lymphatic System, Detoxing the Liver, and Supporting Kidney Function.
This can be done in a few ways. First is through our diets.
When eating for the Springtime, we want to start switching those heavy chilis and stews to nutrient rich soups. Pass on the heavy meals and start indulging in lighter fare that incorporates bitter vegetables, fermented foods, raw fruits and vegetables, and herbs.
Easy Bitters to incorporate include: Burdock Root, Dandelion Leaves, Kale, Collard, Cruciferous Vegetables, Lettuce, Endive, and Green Tea
Another great option is to take a Bitters Tincture I love THIS ONE by Garden of Life (not sponsored).
A note on Green Tea: This herbal infusion is an excellent way to cleanse the body, steady the mind, and gently wake up the organ systems. It is recommended to rinse the herb first, then steep for 1-3 minutes before consuming. Drink the tea in the morning in place of the morning coffee and notice the smooth, calm energy it offers.
I know many people will be put off by the idea of fermented foods. They can take some getting used to, but with all the options out there I highly recommend experimenting and finding something that works for you! After you have done that if you still do not like fermented foods, then a probiotic will be super beneficial (I take both!) however, you will not get the extra beneficial enzyme action that sour foods offer to aid digestion, dispel gas, and increase circulation.
Some fermented foods to consider are:
- Jun (Similar to kombucha, but made with green tea and honey)
- Greek Yogurt (I make my own plant-based version!)
- Kefir (Can be found and made vegan)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (Use as salad dressing OR drink in water with lemon/lime and honey! Yum!)
An easy way to aid our digestion and help it to get going again is through the use of spices.
These spices stimulate digestion, remove excess “wind” from the body, boost circulation, and decrease inflammation: Curry, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cayenne, Fenugreek, Paprika, Fennel, Turmeric.
An easy way to clear toxins and waste from the body is to drink more water! Not a fan? Play with your water by adding different herbs and fruits to add some flavor! There is NO EXCUSE to not drink water. It is absolutely essential for our bodies functioning and it is a super easy way to feel great and energized.
Spring Iced Tea
- 3 tbsp Chamomile
- 1 tbsp Fresh Mint, Crushed
- 1 inch Sliced Ginger
- 1 tbsp Crushed Fennel
- Splash of Aloe
Add all the herbs (except the Aloe) to a quart sized mason jar. Fill it with water and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain out a cup at a time and serve with a splash of aloe vera juice. Optional: add honey or stevia, to taste.
Another great way to wake the body up from its Winter nap is through the use of herbs.
The focus here is on Gentle Cleansers – Alterative Herbs that support the cleansing functions of the Liver and Kidneys, as well as the Lymphatic System.
Amazing and generally safe herbs to work with include: Hibiscus, Rose, Mints, Hawthorn, Red Clover, Nettle, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, Violet, Chickweed.
To get the most of these herbs, I recommend making infusions. Simply put 1 ounce of the herb into a quart sized jar and fill it with hot water. Put the lid on and allow it to steep overnight before straining the tea out.
When working with Dandelion or Burdock Root, it is best to make a decoction. Use a tablespoon in 3 cups of water. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Take the decoction off the heat and let it sit for another 20 minutes before straining.
With bitters like dandelion and burdock, it may be best to turn them into a coffee substitute (so many good recipes online!) or to consume as a tincture.
The Lymphatic System
Our Lymph travels throughout the entire body clearing away wastes and producing special antibodies to “eat” any foreign invaders that enter the body. This makes it a star played in keeping our Immune System healthy and strong, preventing us from falling ill. Unfortunately, it does not clear wastes out its own and thus needs help.
Clearing the Lymph
- Dry Brushing
- Gua Sha
- Exfoliating (Salt and Sugar Scrubs)
- 20 minutes of walking a day, minimum
Movement is primal. We are always in constant motion. Our cells, blood, breath, and neurons are always on the move to keep us on the move. Exercise is just a way to tune into this primal nature and support our bodies as they grow day-to-day, year-to-year.
Movement also helps to release stress and anxiety while improving our mood, supports the release of toxins and waste from the body, and it can lengthen our lifespan.
It is not necessary to be running ultramarathons to get the most out of exercise. Simply walking or doing yoga daily for at least 20 minutes a day has its benefits. Explore with the options available, find what you like (or can tolerate), and commit to at least 3 times a week of moving your body in a way that feels good for you.
Last tip I will mention for Spring-Cleaning the body is Breathwork. The breath is a powerful tool that can be used to boost circulation, purify the blood, and increase digestive power. This is especially highlighted in practices such as Kundalini Yoga where the breath is a main focal point for all their poses.
Breathwork can be as simple as breathing fully in and fully out for a focused 5 minutes a day, or as rigorous as Breath of Fire for at least 30 seconds a day.
How to Practice Breath of Fire:
- Sit up tall, lengthening the space between your navel and your heart.
- Breathe in and out through the nose and start to pull your abdomen in during the exhale, and press it out during the inhale. Imagine your belly fills up with air during the inhale and use your abdominal muscles to push the air out during the exhale.
- Focus on making a strong exhale as you start to shorten each breath and pick up the pace. The breathing should be loud and quick.
- Equalize the inhale and the exhale in both strength and length.
- Finish with a long, smooth inhale in, holding at the top for four seconds, followed by a long, smooth exhale out.