I remember the first time I held my baby son in my arms.
I was so incredibly focused and alert, and as I gazed in awe at this beautiful new creature, I remember thinking and feeling that I was looking into the face of God. Three and a half years later, I was struck with that same intense feeling when I first held my newborn daughter.
I felt as if the wisdom of the ages was hiding behind her beautiful blue eyes. Many might say that this phenomenon could have been a result of the flood of new mommy hormones that accompany birth. I, however, feel deeply that newborn babies carry within them all of the secrets of the universe and creation. Indeed, we all still do, just as the potential of an entire forest is ever-present in one tiny seed. And at no time is this most evident than during the spring, when all of nature is vibrating with the abundant energy of creation.
As the sun lingers a bit longer in the sky, beckoning us outdoors to marvel at the bright greens and yellows of first blooms, our attention is hyper-focused on the potentiality of new beginnings. Cleansing spring rains bring vitality back to the sleepy earth; fertility and growth abound in all things. This powerful energy permeates through our systems, and if we pay attention, we can access and employ this creativity to serve us in boundless ways. Here lie the mysteries of the universe, just waiting to be discovered; accessed only through presence, concentration, perseverance, and introspection.
One way to tap into this well of universal knowledge is through yoga.
That’s right, dear ones, our practice can help us transform right along with those beautiful flowering branches!
How, you ask? A little spring purging can clear the clutter from our minds and bodies, and leave us much more open and receptive to initiating change. And when I think of purging the energy in the body, I begin with the lower abdomen and hips, and all of the delicious twists and forward folds that I can incorporate into my practice. Deep twists not only awaken and clear the energy along the spine (our energetic highway) but also massage the internal organs of the abdominal cavity, which are essential for detoxification. The center of digestion, the abdomen is also the seat of the Manipura Chakra, or fire element, which purifies one’s energy and illuminates one’s mind. Imbalances in this energy center can leave us feeling heavy, depressed, inadequate, and even narcissistic. But once balanced, we are alert, bright, intelligent, and receptive.
Deep forward folds such as Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose) ease fatigue and reset the brain. Poses that engage the abdominal wall, such as Chaturanga Dandasana (Incline plank) bring balance and support to the lower abdomen and back. Twists massage the internal organs, while backbends like Upward-Facing Dog expand and lengthen the stomach muscles, keeping them supple and energized. When linked with heat building Ujaii breathing, a healthy transformation begins to occur deep within the body, allowing for the systematic release of not only physical but also mental and energetic stagnation. And then, the bliss; the feeling of light and bright energy permeating the system, leaving it feeling alive and ripe with possibility!
Are you ready to give this spring yoga purge a try?
First of all, get to class! Every day, if you can, and set an intention to dig deep into your body and psyche as you embark on your transformation. Incorporate a few diet changes to include spring’s nutrient-rich foods, to further cleanse the digestive organs and increase their efficiency and function. (Check out this yummy recipe for fresh spring pea soup! ) Can’t commit to a daily class? Visit my Facebook page for an upcoming quick guided sequence that you can do daily when you are short on time, to maintain your commitment to your spring renewal.
I hope you join me in class this week (click here for schedule) for a kick-start to spring’s detox. Next week, we continue to de-clutter by going deep into the hips!