Spring: Reawakening our Fire
As we enter winter, our bodies slow down and our movement tends to be more limited. Winter is a time of rest and deep relaxation — a true pause. As we shift from this place with the emergence of longer days, gentle spring scents and warmer sun, it‘s like arising from a night’s sleep. We are hungry but not ravenous. Our digestion is present but needs to be treated with gentleness. Much like starting a campfire requires smaller kindling and just the right amount of fuel and air to ignite, we also must treat our digestive fire similarly.
Thankfully nature provides the food to help us do just that in the form of vegetables like lettuce, arugula, spinach, cabbage, carrots and celery. And in the form of fruits such as apricots, mango, kiwi, rhubarb and pineapple. Pungent, bitter and astringent tastes present in early blooms, shoots and fruits have a light, warm and dry quality with a little punch to bring us out of our sluggish space. They provide fuel without blowing out our digestive power. Spring is an ideal time for juicing because - in the liquid form - fruits and vegetables become more easily digestible, aiding gently in our renewal. Meanwhile with the cold press process, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals are preserved and able to pass easily into the body. Eating room temperature fruits, veggies and herbs is ideal as ice tends to slow digestion (save ice cold for the summer!). Favoring hot, dry and light qualities is best. It is a great time to try a tea / juice combo! Black pepper (think peppery arugula), turmeric, cinnamon, mint (try orange or pineapple mint), anise, mustard seed and ginger have a kick which will assist in increasing digestion. While consuming in-season drier herbs such as sage, chamomile, thyme, and dill will also help pull water out of the body and get things moving.
We tend to think of our stomach as the only place in the body that digests but there are actually 13 types of digestive fires in the body according to Ayurveda. The main digestive fire is located in the stomach (Jatharagni) and additionally there are 5 fires for the 5 elements (Bhutagni) and 7 fires for the 7 bodily tissues (Dhatwagni). It’s really imperative the stomach fire is functioning well as this sets the tone for the additional fires in the body. Think about the support you can give to your liver, skin, eyes, and mind also with nourishing, seasonal produce! It is a great time to give our body a break from digesting winter grounding foods and switch to lighter liquids as doing so allows the body to do its own spring cleaning to prepare for the next yearly cycle.
Happy Spring - and don’t forget to treat yourself to a massage, do some breathwork, stretch your body, and soak up the scents of the season!
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