Spring is here ! Spring is the green colour on the top of the five elements chart, it symbolises dawn (birth, new beginnings). I find that Spring is always difficult for me as coming out of hibernation to go to new projects is a challenge.Spring is the Wood element with an energy movement of rising upward and outward.
We say that Winter is the mother of Spring (hence the arrow of one season generating the next): Indeed in Winter the seed is deep into the earth and gets ready to sprout upwards in the Spring. It is important that it keeps all its energy and posture to be ready when Spring arrives. So to ensure an optimal Spring we need to gather our energy and rest in Winter and to work on our posture in the Winter and in the coming time to Spring. Then in the Spring we start bringing more movement to our body and walk.
Watch nature to see what it is doing and try and copy it, and here are my keys to making the most of Spring :
1) Start a new yoga or chi gong class (or pilates or gymnastics, find one that suits your body and energy, not bores or exhausts you).
You need to bring movement and space into your joints, movement is key to staying healthy – gentle rotations of the joints from the ankles up to the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and neck, and start with a good posture (see your shiatsu practitioner or instructor for confirmation of a good posture). Find a routine of simple movements that you can repeat every day or at least 3 days a week, and remember : better to do a little regularly than a lot only once and then nothing for a week
2) Go for a walk : start slowly with no more than what you were used to in the Winter and gradually extend it longer. For example, if you are used to a 10 minute walk to the bus or tube stop, start with 10-15 minute walk 3 times a week, and take it slowly to 30 minutes, or even 45 or one hour if you can spare the time. Put pace in to your walk so that it will feel like exercise. And as for 1) better little often… I remember one shiatsu practitioner who used to tell me ”if you can only do one exercise, the best one is walking, it moves every muscle in your body”
3) Exercise your Sight : as it is the sense of Spring. take your walk to beautiful sceneries whenever possible, from polluted city streets to the river side, or a forest or the mountains, with an open view, where you can breathe fresh air and exercise your eyes. Practise looking at the scenery and try far and near vision, left and right to improve your panoramic vision, take the time to detail the elements in the landscape. If you cannot go outside, you can try these exercises found online https://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-Your-Eyes. If you work in front of a computer it is even more important to take regular breaks and rest your eyes
4) Observe and transform your emotions : Spring associated emotion is Anger, the one that comes from frustration, from lack of progress in a new project, or from not being understood. The quality of resilient wood is flexibility, like the bamboo used for skyscrapers in Asia (picture) and translating to us humans it would be Creativity. My project is stuck so I need to find another way, another direction, another space to go into, rather than go to more rigidity and end up in a dead end with no movement or a break-up.
5) Express your feelings : Shouting is the vocal expression of Spring : it is a good way to ”get it out”. I remember a trip to Yunnan, China where I went to walk around a lake at dawn and heard people shouting as a therapeutic exercise. In a busy environment it is difficult to find the space for such an exercise. Some martial arts like karate include shouting. But expressing one’s feeling as often as possible, recognizing our emotions and giving time and space to let go of them is easier said than done. Meditation is a good way to observe what is happening in our mind and assert what emotion arises and to detach from it. Practising patience and forgiveness can greatly help.
6) Adapt your Food to the Season : more Green It is good to have rainbow meals (several different colours). In the Spring we can have more green : green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, artichokes…), sprouts from seeds, celery and cucumber. Cooking mode is for lighter cooking than in winter (stir fry, steaming, raw food)
7) Do a gentle detox : as the organs associated with Wood are Liver and Gall Bladder and they easily get overworked, Spring (but also Autumn) is a good time for detoxing. Start with a glass of room temperature water and add a little fresh lemon in it (then try to drink plenty in the morning, outside meals, and less at night). Eat organic apples outside meals (malic acid will soften the clogged gallbladder stones) , cut down on fried greasy food and on meat. Spring is a good time to cut down on coffee, alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. And if you want to do a full detox find a professional to help plan and follow up
8) Start planning, stop procrastinating : the liver is the ”general of the army” in the body and it likes to plan. Have a pen and paper near your bed (not a smartphone) to write a To Do list before going to bed (you will sleep better), or to write when you wake up in the night (gall bladder and liver times, 11 pm to 3 pm). Write how you would like to feel, and what you would like to see happen. Spring is the time to stop procrastinating !
So, to recap : It is Spring, and now is the time to take up gentle exercise and longer walks, exercise your eyes, transform Anger into Creativity, Express your feelings, cook lighter and greener, detox and plan ! Come for a Shiatsu session to help kickstart the change !
If you liked reading about these 8 keys and want to use them, and if you have yours to share, below is the space to comment !