After this long, dark (Covid) winter, we are sure we can speak for the majority that we are more than ready to crack open the windows, dust ourselves off, and crawl out our dens (safely). As we shift energies from Yin to Yang, there are many physical and energetic changes that we can practice for smooth transfer.
According to the theory of Five Elements, Spring is of the Wood element, which is associated with the Liver and its partner organ, the Gallbladder. We’ve outlined a couple suggestions to aid a smooth transition from the Yin to Yang.
Inviting movement and stretching into the body helps improve the flow especially being more sedentary during the winter months, aiding in unwind knots physical and energetic. Moving the body also supports the Liver as is aid in invigorating the flow of energy and blood and energizing the tendons and muscles it governs. Activities like taking a brisk walk, gentle yoga, or qigong are a great start! Be mindful of wanting to push too hard especially as the weather gets nicer. We are still quite vulnerable to catching a cold. Like the crocuses, they do not push right out of the ground in one day, we should not rush the process of emerging either.
Herbs like Dandelion (Pu Gong Ying) and Milk Thistle are a great support to the Liver during the spring season as they clear heat and toxicity and generally support Liver health. Astragalus Root (Bei Qi) supports the immune system during this change when we are most susceptible to contracting illness.
Spring is a great time to invite young greens into our diet to clear heat and toxins from our Liver. In winter our body asks for more carb-y, fatty, sugar-y foods to keep us warm and sustain us in those cold months. Avoiding that may stress the Liver such as fried, refined, and processed foods in favour sour. A bit of lemon or apple cider vinegar in some warm water first thing in the morning is a great kick-start for your Liver. Savour the abundance of the earth of the spring and coming summer seasons.
The act of cleaning the home in spring both stems from necessity and tradition. Persian New Year, Passover, and Easter are all traditions where cleaning the home are practiced. For others, perhaps brighter days might just mean we can see all the dust accumulated in previously dark corners. Doing a little declutter and wipe down allows us to re-examine how we inhabit space and what we choose to fill it with. Do those things serve us anymore? Is there a space in our home we neglect? Can our space be used more wisely?
5. Let go
The mind-body connection is very important in TCM theory. Aside from conducting the smooth flow of blood, Qi (energy), and essential substances of the body, the Liver also ensures the smooth flow of emotions. Letting go of grudges or resentments benefit the Liver as they can stagnate. They ask us to hold on to things that do not serve us anymore causing emotional, mental, and in the case of the Liver, physical blockage as well. Letting go can also take the forms of trying something new, even small. A sprout would never bloom into its potential if it stayed in its seed. Invite playfulness.
The power of Wood is flexible, yet ground and filled with potential with the power of being and becoming. A tree is rooted deep into the earth, while reaching high into the heavens. It draws up from its well of the roots to bloom in the spring and sways gently in the breeze while remaining solid. Springtime is that magical invitation to renew, to shift, to create, to move, to cleanse, and to bloom. How can we take the lessons of Spring and wood to move forward with compassion especially after the year of 2020?