Winter into Spring : The Art of Seasonal Attunement

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One of the most valuable teachings of seasonal yoga and Ayurveda, is the art of seasonal attunement; the practice of pausing, as we transition from one season to another, in order to identify, and prepare for the energetic shifts that are taking place.

Both Ayurveda, and Yoga view our human body-mind as a microcosm of the larger macrocosm, which means that the changes occurring in the external environment are understood to also, be occurring within us. In other words, we are not separate. Through paying attention, and engaging seasonal wisdom practices, we can begin to tap into a deeper rhythm within the cycles of nature, and cultivate our capacity to see, hear, and feel what is present, what is coming, and also what is needed for our health and well being.

The transition from winter into spring marks a significant energetic shift within the annual cycle. Like a tree that has drawn it’s energy inwards to its core, and downward towards its roots, the winter season is like a deep, dark well. It contains wisdom in its still and silent waters. This depth is associated with yin energy, the moon, the root and womb of all possibility. If we can receive it, winter offers us much needed gestation time, and the opportunity for deep restoration, and reflection as we slowly release the end of the year.

The Spring season on the other hand, is like a tree drawing on all the nourishment of it’s roots and it’s core, as it begins to move it’s energy upwards and outwards, towards the extremities, to bloom and grow. Spring is associated with yang energy, the sun, and the creative activation of possibility. It is a time for connecting to our true desires, consciously embodying our choices, and getting behind what wants to move through us. As the ground begins to thaw, the roots soften, and new life begins to emerge, we find ourselves inside this shift as well.

Traditional Chinese medicine counsels that seasonal transitions are potentially stressful on the body, mind and emotions. It is wise, therefore to begin the transition into each new season, at the end of the previous one. As we emerge from winters dark tunnel, spring will welcome us, and pique our imaginations and longings again, dancing us forward into the fresh, new light. As we enter the yang cycle of spring, we will be called to ignite our inner fires, activate our vitality, and engage our creativity towards a new intention!

Want to learn more? Join me for the Yoga & Ayurveda Immersion: Spring

Questions about Yoga or Ayurveda? Leave a comment below.

Spring Cleansing through Yoga & Nutrition

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Within the traditional five elements Chinese system, spring is a time to nourish the liver and gallbladder organs. These organs filter toxins from our external environment, in our air, water and food, and assist in the break down of fats in our bodies. As we emerge from winter into spring, the liver and gallbladder can be overloaded, due to a heavier, building diet and decreased movement. To restore balance we can focus on a spring cleansing diet, and include a seasonal Yin practice to help channel the liver and gallbladder chi (energy).

The Liver is associated with our ability to coordinate a strong vision for our lives, with the actions that we are wiling to take to manifest it. The Liver is traditionally associated with the emotional energy of anger, which when it remains unexpressed can manifest as blockages in the body that keep us from moving forward. Symptoms of a Liver Qi blockage can include migraines/headaches, menstrual/gynecological issues, PMS, and depression.

Suggestions for a Seasonal Diet

Overall, our Spring diet calls for lightening up and increasing pungent, bitter and astringent flavours. This shift will support our body’s natural impulse to purify and renew at this time of year. By attuning our eating and lifestyle habits, in alignment with nature, we can refresh our minds and spirits as well.

Spring Green Juice
*take veggies out of fridge prior to preparation to reduce cold in Spring

1 green apple,
3 celery stalks,
1/2 cucumber
3-4 leaves of romaine
3-4 leaves of kale
1/2 lemon or lime (peeled)
1 handful parsley
1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Suggestions for a Seasonal Yin Practice

A spring Yin-Restorative practice focuses on nourishing the liver and gallbladder organs, helping us to lighten our load and to cleanse and filter toxins that may have accumulated over the winter.

Spotlight: Shoelace Pose

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Benefits: Stretches external hip rotators; opens the groins and the lower back. Liver, Kidney, and Gall Bladder meridians are stimulated. If folding forward, the Urinary Bladder line will be stimulated and the stomach compressed.

Instructions: Begin on all fours. Cross your right knee behind your left so that your right knee and shin come to the floor, then sit back between your feet so that your knees stack on top of each other. If your lower back rounds, sit on firm folded blankets to keep your sacrum tilted forward. If your hips allow it, lean forward, letting your upper back round gently.

Modifications: For discomfort in the lower knee, do the pose with that leg pointing straight forward. If the hip sensations are overwhelmingly intense, sit on blankets or bolsters and use your hands on the floor to bear some of your weight.

Contraindications: Knee pain. Omit forward bending if you have sciatica or disk displacement or are in your second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Interested in learning more? Join me for the Spring Yin-Restorative series, starting Tuesday April 11th @7pm. Click here for more info and to register.

Ayurvedic Living: Self-Care for Fall

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According to Ayurveda, autumn is Vata season (a predominant increase in the elements of air and ether/space). As the elements of air and space increase in the natural environment, and within our bodies, we can naturally experience increased lightness, coldness, dryness, roughness, mobility, subtlety, and clarity/emptiness. In order to support and deeply care for our selves, and our families, we can begin to shift our diet and lifestyle towards more grounding and nourishing practices, in order to prevent seasonal imbalances in the body, mind and spirit.

The Fall Diet

Generally, our fall diet focuses on increasing our intake of warm, oily, well-cooked, moderately-spiced foods and favouring the sweet, sour, and salty rasas (tastes). We want to focus on foods that are easier to digest, grounding and nourishing. Slow cooked meals like soups, and stews with spices like ginger, tumeric, cumin, cinnamon and cardamon are ideal options for fall. If meat and eggs are in your diet fall is a good time to re-introduce high-quality sources, along with high-quality oils and fats such as organic ghee, olive oil and sesame oil. Generally we want to avoid cold drinks, raw veggies, salads, frozen foods and reduce the pungent, bitter, and astringent flavours.

Practicing regular meal times and avoiding snacking between meals supports good digestion. Also savouring warm, non-caffeinated teas with fresh ginger, spices and a little honey between meals will help to stimulate “agni” (digestive fire).

The Fall Lifestyle

A simple daily routine is a powerful practice for creating balance in the fall season. Rise early, if possible, to benefit from the healing stillness of the early morning hours. Upon rising – hydrate, eliminate and practice yoga and meditation before moving into your day. Shower and massage your skin daily with warm oil, to counter dryness in the skin and joints. Also lubricate the nasal passages with naysa oil or coconut oil to protect the respiratory tract and calm the mind.

For exercise, focus on grounding and strengthening practices. Practice yoga at a mindful pace, with a focus on strength, stability and attention on maintaining breath awareness. Strong standing poses, inversions, twists and restoratives are all great practices for Fall.

If you have the desire to go deeper, consider joining me for my upcoming Yoga Immersion – Fall at The Haven, Oct 13 – 16th, 2017 on beautiful Gabriola Island. We will take a delicious, deep dive into the seasonal yoga practice for fall, including; asana, pranayama, meditation along with Ayurvedic tips for seasonal nutrition and cleansing. To register, or for more information contact me here.

with warmth,
Kelly

Spring – The Energy of Renewal

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As we step into the energy of renewal for Spring we are invited to transform. But to do so we need to recognize how we are holding on to old ways of being that no longer serve us. Are we willing to release these old, well worn patterns that have kept us safe but that are now working against us? Mark Nepo says “Often we give up our right to renewal to accommodate the anxiety of those around us”. It takes presence, courage and humility to admit where and how we are not fully showing up in our lives. But the energy of Spring is on our side, calling us to grow, enhancing our awareness of our true desires, our dreams and passions and connecting us to our power to transform. Like a seed, we contain all that we need within us.

SPRING YIN-RESTORATIVE – Cultivate your True Desires
Mondays 7:00pm – 8:15pm
(March 30th, April 6th, 13th, 20th. May 4th, 11th, 18th. 25th, June 1st, 8th)
Pre-registration $150 or SPRING PUNCH CARD.

SPRING VINYASA – Expand from your Heart
Fridays 11:00am – 12:15pm
(March 27th, April 3rd, 10th, 17th, May 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, June 5th, 12th)
Pre-registration $150 or SPRING PUNCH CARD.

YOGA FOR RECOVERY – From Surviving to Thriving
Saturdays 3:30pm – 4:45pm
(March 28th, April 4th, 11th. 18th, May 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, June 6th, 13th)
Pre-registration $150 or SPRING PUNCH CARD.

Please Note: Space is limited to 10 participants per class.
Pre-registration is encouraged.
SPRING PUNCH CARDS are available for drop-in, if space permits.

All Classes are held at The Rose Crystal Studio, 380 Stephens Rd., Gabriola.

For more information and to register please contact me directly. e. kellypriceyoga@gmail.com p. 250.713.6082

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