An Ode to Spring

3 Simple Ways to Conquer Spring

Spring is a transformational time of the year. The world awakens the the warmth of a new year, and slowly the dreariness of winter meets the warming, longing days of summer. It's also a transformational time for your body, mind, and spirit. It's in this time of renewal that your body reflect the energy of the world. You shed the weight (literal and figurative) of the long winter passed, and you prepare yourself for summer: a time of relaxation, warmth, and comfort. There's much to do this season.

Now in the month May, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the change. Perhaps you have yet to complete all your seasonal tasks, or feel behind in work – and summer is just around the corner. For a time of transformation, this is natural.

If you're feeling swamped, there are a number of traditions that help ease the transition. Let's look at 3 simple ways to welcome the Spring season, and how they work with our practice as yogis:

1. Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a near ubiquitous practice across the world. Though it's usually queued by the Spring equinox, now is still a good time to take a moment to step away from work, school, and commitments, and simply cleanse the area around you. It's encouraged you cleanse deeply. Spend the extra time cleaning the corners and crevasses of your space (including your yoga space). Compost old food, wipe down the inside of your refrigerator, take those extra items out of your living room, brush the cobwebs out of the garage, clean the restroom completely.

Remember that your spaces in life often carry their own aura about them. Spatially, these areas hold particular vibrations and energies, manifested by real things, like dirt, germs, dust, and clutter. By cleansing these elements, their energies are smoothed away, and openness and cleanliness are allowed to take root. This helps equally cleanse your mind, and will better enable you to think clearly during this time of transition.

2. A Spring Mantra

We've talked about mantras before, and how they work to center the mind on a particular thought. Mantras are tools that help us tune our mind and being to a particular idea and energy.

For Spring, consider what this transformation of energy means for you. You need to take root in the season and in the new soil of this year. In many ways, the root chakra is what you need to open and renew.

One powerful mantra to help focus on this idea is as follows:

Om Gam Ganapataye Namah

Here's a link to hear it in person.

This is one of the mantras of Lord Ganesh, remover of obstacles and the master of wisdom and knowledge. Practice this mantra if you feel like your sense of mind is blocking you from realizing the transition of this season. Focus on each part of the mantra and clear your mind of the thoughts, burdens, and demands you feel. Visualize your path forward not as a series of specific tasks but as a realization of the result in time.

3. A Spring Cleanse

Still groggy from your heavy eating and drinking over winter? This may be what's holding you back from transitioning the physical feeling of the new season. A great way to overcome this is with a spring cleanse.

It's not suggested you jump right into a heavy detox, but rather take incremental steps to cleanse the body by eating cleaner, more wholesome foods (less processed, no alcohol, no substances). You can also try reducing your intake of foods, in a diet-fast combines. In Ayurveda, the mono-diet fast is a simple one that combines the base level of food to help encourage complete processing and the cleansing of the gut. For five days, eat one cup of kitchari for each meal:

"To make kitchari, double rinse 1 cup each of basmati rice and yellow split mung dal (beans). Add the rice, dal, and a small handful of chopped cilantro leaves to 6 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to low and cook partially covered for 25 to 30 minutes. Each kitchari garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) three times and day for five days to cleanse your body and mind."

Transform with Spring

After you've worked through each step, reflect on the new sense of being you carry with you. Focus on the specific timbre and harmony of body with the world around it – do you feel the sense of the season in your space, mind and body? If you're still feeling caught up or stymied by the transforming energies around you, try to identify the source and continue to work at retuning it. With time, you'll fully realize the transformation of the season.