Spring Cleaning: An Ayurvedic Routine for Mind-Body Health
Spring is so promising that after the cold season, we are all excited to open our windows and greet the sun! The flowers are starting to bloom and the bees; bats, and snakes are waking up from hibernation as well. It’s truly an amazing new beginning with nature, everything fresh and new.
As the season changes, humans also have to transition from the dull winter to spring. Just like the overwhelming feeling of cleaning our homes after winter, our bodies need to refresh to get rid of the heavy and sluggish mood we got from winter. So, how do we perform spring cleaning and detoxify so we could harmoniously connect with nature while the Sun is out?
Ayurveda, the ancient science which is 40,000 years old, but has remained relevant in today’s modern world, shows us that the key to feeling in step with the seasons is to harmonize with nature, to follow her lead and dance to her rhythm. You can read more about it here.
The ideal Ayurvedic routines are based on patterns of nature. We are part of nature. Whatever happens in the environment also takes place in our bodies. We are immediately and intimately affected by the change of season, climate, and locale.
How we live our daily lives is the key factor in determining our health and quality of our experience. It is also the factor over which we have the most control. We can’t control the weather or our genetic makeup, but what we do every day either builds up our health, vitality, and resistance to disease or wears us down. Our moment to moment choices – what to eat, how much to eat, how to respond to others, whether to exercise or not, how late to stay up at night, and so on – play a major role in our mental and physical health.
Spring is one of the seasons when cleansing and detoxification is highly recommended. Therefore, spring cleaning is done to clear out excess accumulation we may have gained during the winter months. We also want to give our liver some special attention so that we are ready to handle the heat of the summer quickly approaching. Our liver stores heat, so releasing some of this now will make for cooler and calmer months ahead. Along with a few simple daily routines, choosing the right foods is one of the best ways to gently detoxify the body. Furthermore, spring is a time of high Kapha, when the elements earth and water are at their strongest. According to Ayurveda, the seasons have an influence on our digestion and health and so we have to be in tune with nature with our daily routines.
Harmony with Nature
The key to having a healthier body, mind, and spirit is having a daily routine that is in agreement with nature’s rhythms. Making this a daily practice creates balance in our mind-body type. When our biological clock is well adjusted with nature it generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness and longevity. Going against nature’s rhythm can damage our magical connection with the natural world as our well-balanced connection indirectly aids in our body’s system such as in digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food.
In Ayurveda, the seasons like times of the day are characterized by cycles of vata, pitta, and kapha. It is important for us to learn and adjust to the changes in the outer environment through the food we choose to eat, the type and amount of exercise that we do, and even the clothes that we wear.
Ayurveda recommends a seasonal specific, daily routine. Depending on your mind-body type, there can be specific recommendations that are suitable for each of us. For example, Fire or Pitta achieves strength in the environment and the body, hence, Ayurveda recommends eating light, easily digestible, more liquid foods and a little spicing. Also, avoid strenuous exercise and dressing lightly is advised.
In addition, to eliminate excessive doshas from the body, Ayurveda recommends panchakarma treatments at the time of change of season when nature is transitioning from one season to another.
Tips to transitioning from Winter to Spring for a Healthy Mind and Body
At Ayurveda Awareness Centre we offer a wide range of therapies to help clients achieve a sense of calm and centeredness. We start with a preliminary consultation for assessing your individual issues and needs and develop a customized detoxification and rejuvenation program. Panchakarma, our lead therapy is a sequence of treatments designed to eliminate impurities and imbalances and rejuvenate the body and mind. We consider this a “spring cleaning” of body and mind.
As mucous secretions become more readily available for elimination, some of the things that can help :
- Gandush- gargling with warm saline solution or cold pressed black seed sesame oil (also known as oil pulling) , first thing in the morning, to clear mucous from the nasal passages and throat.
- Warm showers – dilate the srotas (micro channels) and help the body expel kapha.
- Dress warmly – until the coolness in the environment subsides.
- Apply ghee to the inside of the nasal passages to protect against airborne allergens (pollen). Ghee is anti-inflammatory in nature.
Kapha gets vitiated during spring and may become excessive. This is another reason as to why Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma.
Panchakarma & Change of Seasons
Panchakarma is the most effective way of ridding the body of harmful toxins and rejuvenating it to the deepest cellular level. It’s a highly effective way of de-stressing and reversing the aging process. The most profound effect Panchakarma treatments offer is the manner in which they reconnect the individual to their true nature that is often obscured by stress and toxic accumulation. The rebalancing that occurs in the nervous system is most noticeable, and the deep sense of feeling centered is often transformational. At times a few kilograms in weight are lost during treatment – a positive sign that toxins are indeed being.
It is our important job to look after our health – physical, mental, emotional – like we send our car for regular servicing and we pull the weeds regularly to keep the garden looking beautiful, with Ayurveda, we work at prevention of illness and rejuvenation. Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s gift to us to do just that. Change of season is the best time to do Panchakarma treatments according to Ayurvedic texts as we are aligning with the rhythms of nature.