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,
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
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.