I don’t think I’ve ever felt as excited and grateful for the coming of spring as I do this year. I feel like I’ve been given this fresh perspective on all that I once took for granted. Watching from one still spot; the turning of the seasons. Rather than thinking about where I might go next, chasing sunshine or distraction, and trips abroad to ‘have a break’. All that choice has been stripped and I am left with what’s really going on, inside me and all around me. And I can’t help feeling that this is a gift.
Ayurveda asks us to stop, look, listen and feel
What I love about Ayurveda, is that it is constantly asking us to stop and take a moment. What is your body saying, what is your mind feeling, and where are your surroundings at? Are they in harmony with one another, or are they fighting. Is there peace and clarity or is there distortion, craving, aversion or lethargy? Ayurveda asks us to constantly assess the situation, respond with wisdom and intuition, and grow our internal confidence-monitor that knows what is best for us. It is like a series of mini rituals that can anchor us hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-month-to-year. And then we can fully immerse ourselves in our experience, as a participant and observer.
So where are we at right now?
We are just coming out of the depths of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, entering the first sprinklings of longer days and buds emerging from the soil. In the UK we have snowdrops and daffodils starting to sprout and crocuses on their way.
We are in a kapha period, meaning it is mostly cold and wet, but there is a steadiness in the air. There is a stillness around as we prepare for the light and renewal of life that is coming. It does mean we might be prone to sniffles and colds. The winter season has filled its chilly cup up inside our bodies, and it might start overflowing out of our noses. We need to think about reigning in the sweet, sour, overly salty foods, and start peppering our meals with astringent, pungent and bitter tastes to ward off potential kapha imbalance.
Look at what is growing around you for clues…
I suggest looking at the vegetables and herbs that are growing natively around you, they are nature’s gift and key in knowing what supports us. In the UK, nettles, wild garlic, dandelion and burdock will start growing soon, and these are a medicinal bounty for this time of year. It’s one of my favourite things about this season in the UK, the wild-growing forage-able foods that are so medicinal. Do also think about pencilling in a seasonal fast over the next few weeks to balance out possible allergies, rhinitis, runny noses, colds and sneezes that come with the kapha season territory.
The light is coming…
We had Imbolc a couple of weeks ago. Imbolc is the Celtic festival that celebrates us having made it through winter, and being on the way towards spring. Legend says this is the time when the Goddess is awoken from her slumber because of the light that is coming in from longer days. This warmth then begins to fertilise her (she is also Mother Earth of course) causing seeds to sprout. It is this gently gently opening up to the light of spring and new beginnings that I suggest we focus on now. Slowly coming out of hibernation and into a new season of possibility and hope.
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is” (extract from T.S. Eliot’s Burnt Norton, 1936)
By Selina Van Orden