It’s Spring—Time to reroot, replant and renew
Spring is just the best, isn’t it? With the exception of allergies, an unfortunate reality for many in this town, spring conjures up a sense of joy, renewal, and hope. It is a time to come out of hibernation and reawaken to lighter evenings, lighter clothing, and fresh growth. A lot of us get back in touch with the earth with outside projects. It’s a great time to reconnect to what “roots” us, to plant literal and figurative seeds, and start again. And when we do that, we can connect to ourselves again, especially if we have (and we have) lost touch with ourselves through the business of the holiday season, the fervor and self-inflicted pressure of new year’s resolutions and the barrage of negativity in the media and political scene. And every time we reconnect to ourselves we have the opportunity to see ourselves again. I love this T.S. Elliott poem, and it is perfect for how I feel about the spring:
We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we first started
And know that place for the first time.
So, since spring has sprung, here are a few things you can do to “know that place for the first time” and be new again.
Connect to your roots:
If you like to think in terms of the Chakras, and you know I do, this is all about feeling at home in your body, understanding that you have a right to be here and to take up space and live your life. It’s about standing your ground on your own two feet, yet still being able to move nimbly from that home base out into the world in any and all directions that you chose.
- Engage with the earth. ntlk barefoot (where it’s safe to do so!). Take a walk or run. Hug a tree. Do some projects in the garden. Run some dirt or soil through your fingers. All of these things and more can put you in direct contact with the earth that supports us.
- Take a grounding stance.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let the outer edges of the feet be parallel to one another.
- Inhale and slowly bend your knees, keeping your shoulders over your hips
- Exhale, and push through the core of each leg, imagining roots growing from your feet are penetrating the earth. Let your legs lengthen/straighten about 90 percent of the way.
- Repeat for a few minutes. The legs will begin to tremble. Allow for that trembling to move energy and allow it to activate the first chakra near the base of the spine.
- Shake out your legs when you are finished.
Plant some seeds:
Spring is a great time to set some new intentions. Intentions are different from resolutions or goals. With intention, you think about the way you’d like to be, in order to move towards what you want. For example, if you are working towards a long-term goal, you might set an intention to be focused and patient as you move toward your goal. So, you have control of this, and, no matter what obstacles come your way, you can still choose to honor your intention, remaining focused and patient, and thus ensuring that you don’t fall off course just because something doesn’t go your way.
- Take some time each day to set an intention for the day. Take a few minutes at the beginning of the day. Reflect on the day ahead and what you want to do. Then think about how you have to be in order to move toward what you want, in the way that you want to do it. So, it’s not really what you do, but rather how and why you do it. Notice how that approach helps to plant the seeds for a long-term approach to a more fulfilling life.
- Cultivate a mindful practice. Let this be something that you count on each day to check in with yourself and reconnect. It might be a five-minute morning walk or meditation, or perhaps some Yoga asana (physical practice) to tune in to your body. Another practice that can be helpful is a breathing, or pranayama practice. Here are two simple breath exercise to help clear your mind at the beginning or end of the day.
- Three-part breath. Sit comfortably and quietly. Notice that you are breathing. When you inhale, allow yourself to receive the inhalation and feel it fill the space behind the heart, then feel it stretch the rib cage, and finally, feel it relax the belly. Pause when the breath has filled you up. Then exhale, gently pulling the belly towards the spine, let the ribs contract, and feel the heart melt toward the back body. Continue for three minutes, consciously connecting the three parts of the breath—heart, ribs, belly on the inhale, and then belly, ribs, heart on the exhale.
- Ujayi breath. Sit comfortably and quietly. Observe the breath as it comes in and goes out. Gently pull the breath towards the back of the throat, making the sound of the wind or an ocean wave. Not sure how to get the breath to the back of the throat? It may be easier to find it first with the mouth open. When you inhale, open the mouth and “gasp,” and when you exhale, let the breath out as if you were trying to fog a mirror. Then close the mouth, keeping the breath at the back of the throat. This will relax the nervous system and help you reconnect to yourself, free of the monkey-mind that sometimes comes in to distract us.
- Take a break from your daily routine. We are often so caught up in our activities that we seldom stop to check in to see if our activities are in line with our values and dreams. A great way to do this is to take some time away. A retreat, whether for an extended period of time, or even for a day, where you step away from your activities, roles and environment can do wonders.
- Reconnect with friends. I recently had the opportunity to spend time with a fabulous group of women with whom I began my career in marketing. It’s great to be with people who “knew you when” and connect with the you that you were when you were a bit younger and less “seasoned”, and then to reflect on where you have been.
- Learn something new. This may be an intellectual pursuit, a hobby or just a class about something that interest you. This will let you see things in a different way.
I wish you a fresh and revitalizing Spring season. At Being Well Yoga, we offer tools to help you re-root, plant seeds and renew. Join us this week for A Sigh of Relief Yin Yoga for Stress Relief Workshop, or sign up for the Costa Rica Retreat in June. If I can help you in any way, please let me know!