Ride on the Energy of Spring
Spring is finally here – hurray! The days are longer and brighter, Nature is displaying its many colourful blossoms and there is that unmistakable energy of excitement in the air for new beginnings, new growth and new projects.
The body, in its great wisdom, is always working to stay in tune with Nature and balanced so it has been switching gears too. You may have noticed feeling more drawn to lighter foods or feeling like moving more. Or, you may have had to take some days off resting to get over a cold or flu, which is a sure way for the body to get rid of excesses and lighten its load!
Here are a few ways to encourage body, mind and spirit to embrace this new season:
– Get out into Nature and absorb the light, the colours and fresh air.
The winter cold may have kept you indoors but it’s now time to stretch your limbs outside and literally ride on the energy of spring to wake up from the stillness of the winter and move more.
If going out for walks or running is not your thing, consider joining a local food growing initiative, like a community kitchen garden, or a nature conservation group. It’s a great way to do something physical, contribute to the community and socialise. To set you off on your search, see: http://www.capitalgrowth.org/spaces/ and http://thelondonorchardproject.org/.
Remember that sweating and breathing are two important ways in which your body eliminates toxins. And as the skin is the largest organ why not treat your body to a nice scrub? You can do this either dry with a skin brush or wet with your favourite natural product.
– Declutter and spring clean your home.
There’s no time like the present and it’s the perfect time to get rid of the old and unnecessary to make space for the new.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris
As you do this, imagine cleaning your internal world of any old cobwebs too.
– Lighten your diet by using less oil, salt and heat and making the most of the season’s local fresh fruit and vegetables, especially the leafy greens.
A fantastic way to know what’s local and in season is to visit your local farmers’ market. Check http://www.lfm.org.uk to find yours. The Eat the Seasons website is also a good reference: http://www.eattheseasons.co.uk .
In Chinese medicine, the liver and gallbladder become particularly active in the spring. These organs like greens and the sour flavour. A few tips on how to easily include more of these:
- Have a fresh green side salad with every meal being adventurous with the choice of leaves, e.g. rocket and watercress
- Have a small amount of good quality pickles like sauerkraut on a daily basis
- Keep fresh herbs in your fridge, or even better garden or windowsill, and add them to your salads and cooked meals
- Include citrus zest in your morning porridge and in salad dressings
– Grow your own sprouts
You can sprout pretty much all seeds and pulses. Mung beans are easy starters as are alfalfa seeds. All you really need is a jar, water and some patience.
Here’s a step-by-step guide using mung beans as an example:
- Put 2 heaped tablespoons of dry beans in a large glass jar. Cover with water and leave to soak overnight.
- The next morning, drain, rinse with fresh water, drain again and leave the beans in the jar, loosely covered with muslin or a lid with holes.
- Repeat Step 2 daily for 3-4 days or until the beans have 2-3 cm sprouts on them. Make sure they are kept moist but not sitting in water.
- Enjoy the sprouts fresh. They will store well in the fridge for up to a week.
As you create this food for yourself, think about what you are looking to plant and grown in your life.
Having said all the above, remember that the best guidance on what to eat and not to eat is your own body. There is no one diet that fits all! A good way to fine-tune your ability to listen to your body (your life force) is to practice a meditative movement practice that unites body, mind and spirit. Yoga, 5 Rhythms, Tai chi and Qigong are all good examples.
A note on detoxes: Many people associate spring with detoxes. Whilst there are countless numbers of ways to do this, they are often quite extreme and harsh, especially when done with the pressures of everyday working life. Simply by changing the way you eat and exercising more will support the body in its natural spring detoxification process. For extra support, treat yourself to a holistic treatment and/or take some time off to look into what’s causing any sense of stuckness or symptoms of dis-ease.
Recipe: Spring Celebration Salad (Serves 2)
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 beetroot, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful of sprouts, washed
1 tbsp sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
Optional: 1 tbsp sauerkraut
Dressing: 1 tbsp cold-pressed sunflower oil*, 1 tbsp apple balsamic vinegar*, 1tbsp water, 1 tsp wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp ume plum seasoning*, 1tbsp Atlantic sea vegetable flakes*, 1 tsp orange zest (*all available from Clearspring)
- Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and the broccoli florets. Parboil for 2-3 minutes. Cool immediately under cold water and drain.
- Arrange the broccoli, beetroot, sprouts and sauerkraut on a plate and sprinkle the seeds over the top.
- Mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the top.
Eighth Element Healing News:
There are lots of new entries in the Links Page of the website with new sections for Therapists, Food and Home. Please visit and take a look: www.eighthelementhealing.com
Dates for the Diary:
June 23rd, 2-5pm: Okido Yoga Workshop with Tomoko Mori: ‘Conscious Action and Relaxation in Movement and Poses’ at Ethos (Energia Studio), 7 Prince’s Gardens, South Kensington, London SW7 1NA. Fee: £30 / £20 for students (Booking Deposit: £10). For more details: http://www.okidoyoga.org.uk/workshop_ethos.html
TO BE CONFIRMED: June 21st: Summer Solstice Evening Ceremony of Sound with Amanda Kent, Nazanine Mokhtar and Junko Maria Furugori: A Divine light filled evening of sound baths and group soundings at The Swiss Church, 79 Endell Street, London, WC2H 9DY (Nearest Tube: Covent Garden). For more details: http://www.amandajkent.co.uk/Events.html