Over the winter, most of us spend a majority of time indoors in the Northern Hemisphere, simply because darkness is dominant. As a culture, we are generally sedentary to begin with, and in wintertime this excess results in stagnation in the body. In order to stay balanced, we must cultivate qualities that release what we accumulated over the winter.
Ayurveda, the science of life, presents that everything is some combination of the five elements; Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In Autumn, Air and Space elements begin to dominate, with the qualities of variability, mobility(wind), dryness, and cold, which continue through winter.
As the days lengthen after Winter Solstice, the sun warms the atmosphere, melting snow and softening the earth. By winter’s end, an excess of water element can also build up within our bodies and throw our health off balance. This can appear as a runny nose from Spring allergies, the flu or a cold, or even a stomach upset. Feeling heavy or lethargic, and experiencing difficulty awakening, are symptoms of an excess of earth element, which appears stagnant, dense and cool.
The key to achieving balance year round is to cultivate the elements which contain opposite qualities of the present season. Especially in Springtime, starting the day with movement (air element) fires up the body’s circulation and brain function as it jump starts metabolism. Regularity and consistency of movement is key, and moving outdoors ideal, as daylight helps optimize our circadian rhythms, which govern hormones regulating sleep.
Here are some suggestions for getting moving early in the day.
- Get outside for a walk, even for a few minutes.
- If you like to run, but generally do so for longer periods of time, add short sprints.
- Run up and down your apartment stairs, or outdoor stadium steps.
- Sun salutations. Set a specific number. Since we’re in the middle of the month, add the numerals of the date. ie, March 20 = two sun salutations, March 21 = three sun salutations, and so on. On March 29, you’ve built up to eleven sun salutations!
Look for additional tips to Lighten up this Spring in the next couple of weeks. Until then, please comment below and let me know how you’ve added movement to start your day.