Throughout the winter months, there is a buildup of stagnant energy in the body that occurs , particularly in the colder northern climes, and especially if the diet has been more meat-based and rich in oils. Indian (Ayurvedic) Medicine says that springtime is the ideal season for cleansing and detoxification. Ayurveda, which means “life wisdom,” it is a very holistic system of health, addressing diet, herbal medicine, breath work, meditation, Ayurveda also recommends daily walking and exercise at different paces for each body type and strives to create a health prescription based on the unique health needs of each individual.
Like with the spring cleaning of a house, we do well to take a similar approach to the body (being a temple in itself, after all). The idea is that the only way to achieve abiding health and emotional balance is if all the parts are tended to and cleansed. In fact Ayurveda recommends cleaning up any clutter from your life as part of your personal cleansing, like weeding your garden. Spring becomes a good time to establish new habits, and plant new roots to take hold for growing in new directions.
In Yoga, The category of spinal twists is said to be especially good for aiding in this spring cleaning process, through movement, digestion and detoxification, as well as for cooling stresses throughout the mind/body system.
Poses such as:
Ardha Matsyendrasana / half lord of the fishes (seated)
Jatara Parivartanasana / Supine Hip Twist (lying)
Parsva Konasana / Side Angle (lunging) revolved
Are used to help aide in this process. Each pose , combined with breath creates a visceral massage of internal organs, helping to release impurities. The spinal rotations wring out the body like a washcloth.
Inversions can also be used at this time to help move the sedimentation of energy that has settled in over the winter, like turning a jar upside down to get things moving and mixing. If possible, adding in a breathe exercise, called Samma Vriti is ideal in the springtime to aid in detoxification and destressing.
The pattern is simple breathing in (through the nose, ideally) for count of five, and out for a count of five, with a brief, comfortable pause in between each. A ratio of, in for 5 / out for 8, can be used for more of a calming effect.
Coming into spring calls for more, massage and steam baths, meditation and relaxation . Each are important parts of a complete yoga program,you can cultivating the states of mind that go along with overall detoxification, such as forgiveness, gratitude, and playfulness, and create a complete palette of well being.
Cautions: don’t overdo it. Vikruti is a Sanskrit word for your overall physical condition and potential imbalances. Honor where your body is at the time. By maintaining your yoga practice you know you have time to allow for tight areas to open up. If you are new to yoga, you should definitely ease into it. No hurry. To paraphrase a Zen saying, “Sitting quietly in your pose, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.”