Thursday, March 17, 2011

Early Spring Seasonal Vinyasa

In traditional Chinese medicine, the passing of winter is seen as a great time to start sending some extra love and attention to the liver and gallbladder, organs that tend to get overloaded with extra socializing, large meals, decreased exercise, inadequate rest, and other behaviors typically associated with that time of the year. These two organs are extremely beneficial: they filter toxins from the external environment and the food that we eat; aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein; break down fats in the body; and, on a more bio-energetic level, process emotions like anger.

Breaking habits—something that both spring and cleansing call us to do—is not easy, but it can be done. I have found it incredibly useful in my practice to do regular habit checks to see if the habit is driving my life, or vice versa. Since changing old patterns and habits can often lead to feelings of frustration or irritation, I find it best to spend a little more time alone when cleansing; if possible, I like to go on a retreat and let others support me. The more time and energy you can devote to your spring intentions up front, the higher your success rate.

For starters, try incorporating an inversion into your daily routine (Examples: Headstand, Handstand, Downward Dog, Standing Forward Folds, Shoulderstand).

Here is one asana tip from my recent book, Art of Sequencing - Volume Two:

• Inversions to turn your world and organs upside down. Think of your body like a jug of orange juice. If it sits in one position—upright—for too long, the pulp ends up settling to the bottom of the container. The yogis believe the same thing happens in our bodies, particularly in the organs. The pulp in this case is undigested, inorganic matter that we ingest through the air we breathe or food we eat. By flipping your body upside down, you create a gentle cleanse, where toxins or waste products get pulled by gravity from deep inside your tissues towards the center of the body. With sufficient hydration and exercise, these toxins can move out through the skin (via perspiration), exhaled breaths, urination, and bowel movements.

If you are looking for Spring retreats, check out:

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