After a winter rest, the power of spring time surges through nature – and through us – spring is an expression of life at it’s strongest.
At this turning point we acknowledge the wisdom of winter, the darker colder days teach us that withdrawal is neccessary for renewal. a time when we look inward, reflect, nourish ourselves with wholesome food, a slower pace of life, rest and recuperation.
In spring , those aspects of us that have been dormant over the winter months begin to awaken.
Just as nature enters a cycle of renewal, growth and expansion – so does the energy within us.
Let us encourage our energy and spirits to emerge as earth moves into a season with more warmth and light, let us focus on growth, strength and abundance.
Let us energize our bodies with more movement, breathe in the fresh spring air and see the beauty in nature as spring unfolds.
This is the season to plant seeds for a future harvest, to look ahead and make new plans, formulate new ideas, make designs, and determine our direction for the coming year ahead.
Full Worm Moon – March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signalled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.
We are approaching the threshold of winter.
Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.
And we as natural human animals are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.
But many find the descent into their body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.
This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and releasing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.
This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so we can walk into spring feeling ready to grow without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.
A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.
A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening
This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and we are left feeling as if there is something wrong with us, Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.
She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist,.
Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.
words Brigit Anna McNeill•
New Winter Routines.
When the weather turns cold and dry, it’s time to pacify vata dosha (the cold, light, dry aspect of our constitution). emphasizes the importance of including abhyanga (self-massage with oil) in our daily routine, to keep the body moist. Calming the frenetic vata energy of this season by adopting an Yoga practice that is grounding, restorative, and rejuvenating, to give us stability through the winter.
Adapting to Winter.
Follow Routine calms the Vata dosha.
Ayurveda suggests waking up a bit later in the winter (around 7 a.m.) than we would in other seasons.
Next, on rising, drink a cup of warm water to stimulate a bowel movement.
Then treat yourself to a quick massage. Rub warmed sesame oil all over your entire body, let the oil soak in for 5 to 10 minutes, then take a hot shower and exfoliate your skin.
Conclude your morning routine with yoga, pranayama, and meditation. Surya namaskara (sun salutation) and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses remove congestion in the respiratory organs. Try the fish, boat, bow, locust, lion, and camel poses, along with the shoulderstand.
Follow this with a relaxation.
After Yoga & meditation, it’s important to eat a nutritious protein rich breakfast.
An hour after breakfast, boil 1/2 teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of ground clove in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes. Drink this tea to increase your digestive fire, improve circulation, and reduce excess mucus.
Soak up the sunlight.
Walk. Sit by a window to bathe in early morning or evening light. Sun rays relax the muscles, produce vitamin D, soothe Seasonal Affective Disorder, and help the body maintain healthy sleep rhythms.
What to Eat & Drink
Incorporate steamed vegetables, warm soup cooked with ghee (clarified butter), and spicy food into your meals. Because your appetite is heartier in the winter, eat more protein—beans, tofu, eggs—and if you’re not a strict vegetarian, chicken, turkey, and fish. Add warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper to promote digestion. Drinking a small glass of Apple cider vinegar in warm apple juice with your meals will stoke your agni (digestive fire), improve your appetite, and increase circulation. Avoid cold drinks and opt for hot water, hot tea or chai.
Avoid cold drafts, wear warm clothes, and don’t forget to wear a hat outside. (Granny was right: more than half of the body’s heat is lost through the head.)
Cure a Cold. Try Ginger.
Ginger is the best remedy for colds.
Try a ginger steam treatment. Put one teaspoon powdered ginger in a pint of boiling water. put a towel over your head, and inhale the steam through your nostrils for about 5 minutes. This will relieve congestion. Drinking hot water throughout the day removes toxins from the system and speeds up your recovery time.
Why Is Your Appetite Stronger in the Winter?
In response to cold weather, the body constricts the skin pores and superficial tissue to prevent heat loss, which directs the heat away from the peripheral tissues and into the body’s core, including the stomach. Agni (and, therefore, your appetite) becomes stronger in winter
Journaling prompts for Winter transition.
Write the following contemplation questions in your journal.
Last Years Reflections…
For me the last Year has been…
What I have learned is…
What I am most proud of is…
If I knew I couldn’t fail, what do I think I would be doing that I’m not?
Why is doing this important to me?
What’s my why?
What is standing in my way? What has stopped me from achieving this goal in the past?
What kind of support do I need?
Are there people in my life currently who are working toward a similar goal?
Are there people in my life who will work against me, consciously or otherwise, in achieving this goal?
How will I overcome this?
What do I need to incorporate this intention into my life?
My goals/intentions for the next Year are…
My first step towards my goal for next Year is?
My word for next Year is?
For next Year I commit to…
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
It’s officially Autumn – the temperature has dropped, the leaves are too, and our surroundings are bursting with rich oranges, reds and yellows. The long days of summer are over, and as we get back into our busy routines of school, work, sports and other activities, it is important that we listen to our bodies and not forget about our well-being. Autumn is the season of the lungs, a time to pay extra attention and TLC to these powerhouse organs that they are! During this time of the year, the seasonal climate turns crisp and clear. We want nature on our side, especially when it comes to our health, so let’s use this time wisely and focus on our lungs.
It is our lungs job, along with taking in, and purifying air, to maintain a strong barrier between our internal environment and the world around us. When our lungs are healthy, our immune system is strong, our skin is clear and moisturized, our voice is clear, and our breath is deep.
The health of our lungs depends on many factors, and there are many things that we may be doing to damage our lungs. In Chinese Medicine, the lung is called the delicate organ, as it is extremely sensitive to dryness, dampness, cold, heat, and most of all to fire and wind.
Some of the more obvious ways we can avoid lung damage are by not smoking, wrapping up warm to go outside, especially on cold, dry, windy days, avoiding heavily polluted areas, and practicing controlled, deep breathing. Some of the less obvious things to consider are dealing with unresolved grief and sadness. Grief directly effects the lungs, which is why we often get a lump in our throat when we receive bad news, the energy actually gets stuck in the throat, or sometimes in the chest, and if left untreated, can cause many further complications and imbalances in the body.
Coughing is a major indicator of lung imbalance, but there are many other symptoms a person can experience when dealing with unhappy lungs. Frequent sighing, overproduction of saliva, weak voice, the constant desire to lay down, headaches, restless legs, puffy face, skin impurities, and itching can all be the result of an issue residing in the lungs.
So, what does a person do to help clear any obstructions and make sure their lungs are functioning at optimal level? There are many ways to improve lung function, regular exercise, Restorative yoga poses all help to stretch the lungs as well as the lung meridian, where Prana and blood flow to and from the organs. Practicing deep controlled breathing, as mentioned earlier, and visualizing the energy and breath entering and leaving every cell in the body can work wonders at lessening symptoms, such as anxiety and shortness of breath.
Avoiding cold foods, like ice cream and frozen foods, and incorporating more warm and spiced food can help.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal (the morning pages is one of my favourites. Writing 3 pages of anything that comes up as soon as you wake up) is a great way to work through stuck emotions or old grief, but sometimes it is necessary to talk to a Professional for guidance on working through particularly long standing, or extremely deep grief.
Dry brushing the skin is a great way to ensure that the pores are healthy and clear and able to open and close smoothly under direction of the lungs.
Many factors that affect the lung are just simply out of our control, but there are many ways to achieve and maintain a perfectly healthy internal balance. Now is the time to ensure our lungs are functioning at optimal levels, so why not take a little time to fit in an Autumnal walk, attend a regular Yoga class, take time out to simply breathe, your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!
The pigeon breath is a Pranayama technique which helps us to become calm and peaceful, enhance and strengthen the breathing apparatus
Some of the other benefits of this technique are:
raising the elbows with the inhale brings air into the sides of the lungs
the diaphragm is consciously used and engaged encouraging full expansion of the lower lobes of the lungs
slow conscious exhalation promotes full expulsion of ‘old’ air, making way for more oxygen intake with the next breath
opens shoulders and mobilises neck area – helping to relieve physical tension
freeing tension from the lungs and rib cage is particularly beneficial for asthmatics
the lungs are said to hold the emotion of grief – by opening up the lungs and heart centre you can consciously let go of unresolved emotions and therefore initiate a deeper level of healing after the loss of a loved one.
Dinacharya is the mystical secret of the east that has all the solutions you would ever need to keep young, happy and full of energy. ‘Din’ mean ‘day’ and ’ acharya’ means wisdom – in a word – Dinacharya is the the most amazing way to create a daily routine that guarantees an enriching and energising day. Fortunately for us, Ayurveda is steeped in a multitude of techniques, practices and therapies that have the ability to totally enrich our every day experience in every way possible. The good news is that it is an all natural approach to health!
You may well know that Ayurveda is based on the 5 elements that form a combination of 3 main constitutions – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata people are mobile, light, dry, creative, quick thinking, light hearted and they are great communicators. People with a Pitta constitution are ambitious, good leaders, passionate, friendly and confident. Kapha people are grounded, loyal, stable, kind and loving. The following routines are designed to support all three doshas.
There are two ways of using Dinacharya. The traditional morning health sequence and the daily practices that can be used throughout your day.
The easiest way to incorporate these practices is to do one thing until it becomes a habit, and then add another, small steps are much more effective than taking on too much and not being able to commit fully.
The traditional Dinacharya health sequence
Have a go and discover the power that you can access from within. Gain greater mental clarity and improved memory and joy.
Start your day by getting up a little earlier, 6am in the Spring & Summer, 7am in Autumn and Winter, getting to bed 30 minutes earlier, it is best to be in bed by 10pm is a goal to work towards.
Warm water:start your day with a warm drink of water & Lemon.
Body massage:now take a few minutes to massage your body with a warm oil (sesame oil is a good all rounder). You may wish to add essential oils too.
Warm shower: enjoy a warm shower that will allow the oil to enter deeper into the skin.
Neti:this is a pot of warm (salty) water that will clear your head and sinuses when gently poured through one nostril to the other.
Nasya:is where you place a small amount of ghee or sesame oil in the opening of the nostrils to help lubricate and clear the head (you can also lubricate the ears with some ghee to help the nervous system).
Dinacharya for the rest of the day!
These are tried and tested techniques that will increase your health and youthfulness and give you an abundance of energy
Take a walk daily as this brings a sense of connection to the elements and is very Earthing
Yoga and relaxation – this can be further developed by practising a daily sequence suitable to your mood or health focus.
Epsom salt bath at night with 10 drops of oils of your choice added.
Meditation aim to sit and be still for 10 minutes a day, this is a great practice to develop a sense of calm, balance and focus on the day ahead, or quiet reflection on the day.
Regularly top up with Water and herb tea’s
Eating in Season is so beneficial for the health, grow and cook your own wherever possible and also shop as locally as possible.
Try juicing each day, I make a green juice daily with added supplements for energy.
Supplements or herbs that are a general all round asset to your health kit:
Triphala: This is a popular supplement that is helped to promote bowel movement. Many individuals also experience constipation and bowel irregularity.
Tumeric: Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that is beneficial as an an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic. Superfood powders, Spirulina, Barleygrass Wheatgrass, Chia and Macca are all great added to juices and smoothies.
I hope you can try any of the above practices to help improve your health and well being. As you feel more energy, you will feel younger and lighter in mind, body and soul. Ayurveda and Herbal remedies are a great way to learn many different ways to improve your health, correct your weight, and enjoy many more years of life and abundance.
Welcome to the Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra, our inner sunshine…
“I live with integrity and a high respect for myself and others.
I am in alignment with the abundant flow of the Universe.
I stand courageous and full of personal power.
I am more than enough.
Fire moves upwards destroying form. It gives us our will. Our will liberates us from fixed patterns, addictions, expectations of others. Allows us to take challenges and move towards something new, to overcome inertia.
The hardest part is getting started, fire burns easily, once it gets going.
Based at the Solar plexus,just above the navel, the energy of this Chakra rises.
If we are grounded, this can be stimulating, empowering but if we aren’t grounded, we get a flurry of undirected energy which can leave us feeling snappy and out of control.
When we feel powerless we withdraw and become passive, holding our movements in check, blocking our own power and expression., becoming withdrawn and appearing cold and controlled.
This control takes energy to maintain yet doesn’t produce energy so eventually we become depleted. Natural enthusiasm for life dwindles and we turn to stimulants which further deplete us. We become a closed system, our expression often turns in on itself as anger and self critisism which wears us down further.
Fire needs fuel to burn, and in a closed system, the fuel eventually burns up. Only in a dynamic state of interaction with the world can we keep up the movement and contact that feeds our fire and zest for life.
To break the cycle of fear and withdrawal we need to re connect with the lower chakras, give ourselves time to breathe, to explore, to make mistakes. This gives our fire air to burn again, connecting us with our true spirit, and reigniting the spark.
Feeling grounded and centered will help us feel the power within rather than it being outside of ourselves. This will give is self confidence, high self esteem and strength to our will so we can direct our lives towards that which we love.
This in turn, will ignite, challenge and renew us.
Extract from Andonea Judith – Wheels of Life.
Here we tune into our gut feelings, the intuition that comes from your belly – you will rarely find it to be wrong. We draw on natural resources to heal and balance our Chakra system, tune into the solar energy from the sunlight. Spend a few minutes each day making a connection with the sun and feel its rays pouring into your own solar plexus, charging up your energy levels, your will power and your drive.
Visualise your solar plexus as a beautiful golden jewel, like a yellow diamond shining out, let it be your anchor to your personal power.
Manipura is the seat of our masculine energy, Yang consciousness which is the same in men and women. Connection can be made with masculine symbols like the sun, fire and the warrior. As the solar energy is stimulated an inner confidence and determination emerges, and we can re discover our own unique individuality.
Deities associated with this Chakra are Sun gods and Goddesses, Agni, the fire in the belly & Kali the dark one, she will help you stand in your power. Kali, in spite of her fearful appearance, is a goddess who takes the form of the ever caring Mother. Call on Kali when you feel over whelmed with emotions, she will hold the energy when you are finding it difficult to hold it yourself. Her mantra Om Kleem Kalika-ye Namaha
Amber, Citrine, tigers eye and topaz all resonate with Solar plexus Chakra. Amber provides positive and soothing energy, Citrine raises damaged self esteem and gives positive energy, warmth and optimism. Tigers eye connects us to our will power and confidence. Topaz is warming and soothing.
Rosemary, peppermint, black pepper and ginger all have a stimulating effect on the solar plexus. These oils can be used in massage treatments, burned in a diffuser, or you could add a few drops into the bath when you need charging up!!
Yoga for the Solar Plexus includes
Dru Sun Sequence, Power Sequence & Inner Fire sequences, postures Warriors, side bending and twists, plank, bow and boat poses, abdominal strengthening.
Fire breath and Tratak (candle gazing meditations)
The Solar Plexus Health Check.
I feel confident in most situations Y N
I am able to laugh easily Y N
I see projects and commitments through to completion Y N
I have the courage to take risks when necessary Y N
I establish appropriate boundaries for myself Y N
I stand up for myself when i need to Y N
I am in the career that feels right for me Y N
I can make my own decisions with ease Y N
I usually feel like i have enough energy to do what i need to do Y N
I have a clear sense of the direction i want to go in Y N
If you answered no more than 3 – 4 times, it may indicate that you have an imbalance in the solar plexus chakra.
Balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra
Take responsibility for your life, and not blame others, circumstances, or the Universe.
Keep sight of your own unique direction, ambitions and goals. Take the right action to achieve these goals – even if it is one step at a time.
Find appropriate self discipline in your life.
Focus on creating good boundaries.
Call to mind and celebrate your achievements and successes.