Opening to Spring Space
After a nourishing winter time, stoking the fire, and yoga vinyasa, we open to Spring, a season of change, the emerging light restores our ability to see the dark corners of our lives ready for change. Yoga helps us to balance and harmonise with the natural waxing and waning of life, we develop patience, connecting with our own inherent nature and a harmony with nature, strengthening our immune systems, as we do in autumn. This photo shows native clematis on our Tutukaka Coast.
Spring is a time of renewal, a chance to begin again, planting seeds of intention to nourish, awakening to growth and renewal. In early Spring we feel the transforming energy of the Earth and ourselves as energy beings on the Earth.It is a season of gratitude, for all that we have and the ability to start over, to lighten up, opening to new space to grow.
We begin to lighten up physically, mentally, emotionally, we spring into action, we embark on spring cleaning, a bodily cleanse, detox, a de-clutter, we feel a sense of ‘spring fever’ cleansing, purging, detoxifying, sewing seeds and planting the garden. These actions bring heat and more grounding.
Traditional Chinese Medicine awareness
Early spring brings our awareness to the Earth element which guides us to feel grounded in where we are at, and gives us a strong foundation and roots from which to transform and grow.We draw new energy up from the Earth and release waste energy back to the Earth. A cleansing to give new space for clarity more clarity and purpose. We balance our stomach and spleen meridians, connecting to our pelvic essence and foundation.
Later, we move into the Wood element with the qualities of germinating seeds for our highest potential, extending, soft gentle persistence, harmony, east, green, ‘being and becoming’
Wood involves the liver and gallbladder which can work overtime in winter as we eat heavier warming comfort food, so in spring we can begin to eat lighter wholesome easily digested food, stimulating elimination and clearing of stagnant toxins from tissues. Bitter fresh herbs, local seasonal raw greens , veg and fruit, chai and chamomile tea, reduce mucus, revitalize the liver and enhance the immune system.
The Subtle Energy Body
Chakras – subtle energy centres, activated by the nadi channels in front of the spine, carrying prana, our life force. Manipura, our inner sun, stimulates our digestive organs, building strength in our core for the physical demands of spring and summer, a centre of personal power and vitality. We build healthy digestive agni or fire to reduce toxins, in yoga ‘ama’. Anahata awareness, opening our heart with backbends to increase blood flow to and from the heart, calm windy spring emotions, develop peace and tranquility, let go of the old, renewing, growing.
Patanjalis Sutras for Spring
Yama -Ahimsa opening our heart with kindness and compassion.
Niyamas -Sauca – cleansing to give space and clarity, letting go, simplifying.
Santosha – contentment with change, what is.
Physical space around – opening to the air, feeling light and spacious, cycle of prana, being aware of yourself as an energy being on the Earth. Connecting to nature and the greater things of life, giving a perspective space. At home or on your yoga mat, creating a comfortable positive space around, that is your own and is YOU!
Physical space in the body, opening, stretching eg. the space between our shoulders and ears, between the vertebra, between our fingers and toes. Going deeper into that sense of ‘Embodiment’ – being in your body – creating space at a cellular level.
Space for the breath, permeating into every nook and cranny, releasing creased cramped areas with new energy and prana. Khumbaka – retaining the breath, allowing time and completion. Emptying fully ( Saucha – cleansing, purification).
Space in our minds – a chance to connect more deeply with our true selves, not what we feel we ought to do, or someone else is doing -letting go as we do around a New Moon and each Equinox and Solstice – releasing those things and emotions that no longer gladden our heart, nor feed our soul, resetting our Sankulpa shakti with acceptance and forgiveness, a sense of starting over always.
- Full expansion for spring,expanding the inhale, extending the exhale. Establishing a relationship with the breath, pauses and space/Khumbaka,giving us space between the thoughts.
- Ujjayi victorious breath, sounding like the hiss of the ocean, a resistance breath creating lung strength, a sense of clarity and alertness.
- Kapalbhati shining skull or breath of fire promoting heat, increasing oxygen exchange and boosting our metabolism but with a softer more passive inhalation than bhastrika in winter.
Asanas for spring involve rooting down to rise up,opening, flowing!
We have been bringing our awareness to mindful transitioning and flow, the wisdom of yoga helping us lead with the breath, link the breath with movement.
Foundation poses, building a grounding strength as we connect to the Earth.
Sun salutations – awakening, lightening up, varied and with rhythmic flow, boosting circulation, moving lymph, loosening mucus, improving spinal flexibility, even long breaths to maintain sukha and concentration, mindful transitions, integrating our neural systems, spreading prana throughout the body, calming our emotions.
Backbends open our heart and lungs and improve our immunity, tonify our kidneys and bladder, opening our shoulders and hips stabilizes our spring emotions.
Hip openers to prepare for spring activity.
Balances at the Spring Equinox, balancing light and dark
Twists and core poses alternately compressing / expanding the belly and chest to relieve sluggish winter digestion, aid metabolism and removal of toxins/ama.
Inversions for spring to cleanse our organs and promote a sense of tranquility.
After practice we should feel light, warm, invigorated if we have generated enough tapas/inner heat with sukha/ease – this develops with consistent practice, harmony of the breath with movement of the body, focus of the mind.