Easing into Spring

Springtime is the season of the liver, according to traditional Chinese Medical Five Phase Theory. The seasons have a profound cyclical effect on human growth and well-being. We are influenced by climatic changes and we benefit greatly when we live in harmony with them.

At this time of year, we are transitioning from winter, which in yin in nature – passive, contracted, cold, etc, – to spring, which is more yang in nature – active, expansive, and warm. You can observe this in the natural world. Let’s take a tree for example: in winter, tree sap descends deeply into the roots for a long slumber. The days become shorter and colder, and activity slows. It is a time for rest and repair. Come spring, the tree sap begins to awaken and ascends upward to bring nourishment to newly-forming leaf buds. The days become warmer, brighter and more active. Life is beginning to bloom again. This same energetic phenomenon occurs in our bodies. And there are things you can do to help in making the adjustment.

  • Rise early with the sun.
  • Take brisk walks.
  • Eat lighter meals, placing an emphasis on bitter foods such as arugula, dandelion greens, and sprouts.
  • Cook food for a shorter time at a higher temperature – saute method is appropriate.
  • Use pungent herbs, such as basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, and dill.
  • Add fresh lemon to warm or room-temperature water, and drink first thing upon rising and before breakfast. This gently cleanses the liver.
  • Clean out a cluttered closet in order to make way for something new.
  • Plant something and watch it grow.

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