Living in harmony with the seasons
By Sarah Lange
“As Above So Below — As Within So Without”
Do you recognize this statement? This expression is considered to be a universal truth of our connectedness with all that is. Some may use it to express how thoughts manifest into reality. While others see it as the cyclical patterns of nature. Another view, that is also currently relevant, is how each being on this planet has an intuitive pull to live in harmony with the natural environment. And as the seasons begin to shift this pull becomes stronger, signaling each of us to adapt to the next phase of the year.
Eastern practices like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda from the Indian Vedic culture have long held the belief that lifestyle changes are necessary to adapt to the seasons. Even in our western culture we have traditions involving activities and cuisine that we associate with seasonal living. Let’s look at how each of these cultures recommend we transition from the cold winter months to the vibrant hot months of summer.
Spring Rituals to Transition to Summer
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
Cleanse the Liver
Now is the time to do a liver detox to avoid the symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation. These symptoms include irritability, easily angered/frustrated, nausea, fatigue and a tight inflamed feeling in the body and soft tissues. Aim to Drink: Warm water with lemon upon waking, 2 liters of water throughout the day and milk thistle tea at night for two weeks. Aim to Eat: As much green foods as possible, this contains chlorophyll which assists in liver detoxification and the much needed nutrient, magnesium.
Amp Up Your Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise to break a sweat is great for free-coursing the Qi — which counteracts stagnation — and venting stagnant heat in the body. This leaves you with more physical and mental energy.
Support the Lymphatic System
Drink a detox tea, stand on a vibration plate and spend 10-15 minutes a day rebounding. This can be hopping on a trampoline, jumping around to your favorite music, or jogging around your yard.
Wake with the Sunrise
After the long dark months, our circadian rhythms that are affected by light are in need of some adjustments. If you aim to wake with the sun now, the longer days of summer won’t be such a shock to your system.
Get Moving in the Morning
Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is when the muscles are strongest during spring. So get the body used to being more active again after a restful winter.
Lighten Up the Diet
Try foods that are pungent, bitter and astringent, including kale, collards, dandelion, spinach and mustard greens; strawberries, cherries and blueberries; fresh green peas; and barley, quinoa and millet.
Declutter/Clean Your House
Oh what a freeing feeling it is to purge (recycle or donate) what you no longer need. Your environment is lifted into a place of peace with more space to feel at ease.
Start a Garden
There’s no better way to transition with the natural world than getting our hands right in the earth. The smell of fresh air, feel of sunshine and dirt, sounds of the birds above and the taste and smell of plant foods promotes the feeling of deep connection.
Eat More Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Popular cuisine shifts to light summer salads, smoothies and fresh juice to make us feel more energetic and vibrant through the long days.
Overall, I’d say it’s plain to see the theme here — wake early, eat light, get moving and clear space for the active months ahead.
Sarah Lange is the founder and acupuncturist at Live Well Acupuncture & Massage in Petoskey; (231) 492-7600; www.livewellacuhealth.com. She is also a certified Pilates instructor.
Written By By Sarah Lange