Updated: May 13, 2020
Spring is a miracle to behold. This blossoming season emerges from the cold, dark winter time into an explosion of colorful outward expression, waiting to be admired.
All around us the dynamic energy of the Earth is bursting into new growth and blossoms, inspiring us to lean into the possibility of new beginnings and expression in our lives. Every Spring our planet rebirths itself and, as part of nature, so do we. I invite you to to trust that this natural process of blossoming is also happening in you, no matter the circumstances.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the observation of natural cycles, bringing us helpful insights on how to live in balance and health in each season.
The energy of Spring is one of uprising, embodying an upward and outward expression that emerges from a cold, dark, internal winter time. In order to shift what is inert back into motion, there needs to be is an explosive, almost violent quality to Spring. The energy necessary for a seed to sprout or for birth to occur is one that is full of power and expression. In TCM, the organ of the springtime is the Liver. It is in charge of moving Qi, or vital energy, through the body, rules over our cycles like digestion and menstruation, and also is in charge of making sure the blood is nourished.
When Liver energy arises in a balanced state, humans exhibit creativity, creation, vision, new beginnings, service, and the kindness that comes from being of service to others. When the Liver Qi is flowing, there is movement and balance in our body, our physiological functions, and our emotions. Physically, our cycles are regulated, our hair and nails are strong, and our tendons and ligaments are flexible. Spiritually, we are peaceful, inspired, and have a zest for life. When Liver Qi is stagnant, we may feel anger, frustration, aggression, irritation, and a sensation of feeling blocked. Physically, we may experience pain under the ribs or in the the upper torso, constriction in the chest, upper back and trapezius tension, frequent sighing, irritation, frustration, mood swing, irregular bowel movements and/or irregular menstrual cycles, premenstrual syndrome, painful breasts, cramps, and mood swings. Here are a few lifestyle tips to keep yourself well during the Spring, and keep your Liver Qi moving and balanced: 1. Move your body. Whether it’s walking, yoga, dancing, running, or working out, try to integrate gentle, regular movement into your life. Moving your body is a sure way to move your energy, and circulate Qi through your system.
2. Be compassionate with your emotions. When you feel strong emotions arising in you, I invite you to embrace them tenderly and be compassionate yourself. As much as possible, take the opportunity to share your feelings with someone you trust, cry if you need to, emote in safe ways, stop and breathe through your feelings, or reach out to a mental health professional. We are human and it's okay to feel what we feel.
3. Be creative. The energy of Springtime wants to create and express itself through you! Take the opportunity to explore your creative impulses through activities like writing, dancing, painting, drawing, making music, or any practice that engages your imagination and creativity.
3. Eat green foods. Integrating fresh or cooked greens into your diet is one of the best ways to attune yourself to Springtime - dandelion greens, chickweed, spinach, kale, bok choy, lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, or any greens you can get your hands on! Also, consider integrating liquid chlorophyll, chlorella, or spirulina into your supplement regimen. 4. Eat sour foods. The flavor of the Liver is sour, so enjoying a moderate amount of citrus fruits like limes, lemons, oranges, and tangerines will help cleanse the Liver and also give the body a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Drinking water with a squeeze of lemon in the morning is beneficial. 5. Eat more plants. Other foods that are great for Spring and the Liver are all fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly apples, sprouts, sprouted beans, nuts, and seeds. 6. Avoid heavy foods. The energy of Spring is light and dynamic, so we want to encourage movement in our bodies with lighter, simpler foods. Consider reducing the amount of dairy, fried food, greasy food, processed sugar, grains, alcohol, and caffeine consumed in this season. Herbal recommendations for the Spring season are: 1. Dandelion root, dandelion greens, and milk thistle all cleanse the Liver, the organ of the springtime. Roasted dandelion root is a wonderful substitute for coffee, which can make some of us feel jittery and anxious. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Lighter, cooling teas like green tea, oolongs, sheng puerh, and white tea. Tea (Camellia Sinensis and all varietals) for centuries has been used as a meditation aide by Buddhist monks and help to awaken, center, and calm the mind and Spirit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. Mint, or Bo He, is a cooling anti-viral and diaphoretic (induces sweat) that helps us release pathogens during a viral/pathogenic attack. It also regulates the Liver Qi when we're feeling irritation, frustration, and digestive upset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Gratitude to the lineage of Chinese doctors and the Taoist sages who have gifted us this beautiful wisdom for healing and reconnection with the seasons and our true nature.