This winter at MoaAlm has been one of the best for years, in terms of snowfall and conditions for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing... so after six months of snow we are now very excited about the prospect of springtime!
Here in the mountains we feel the transition of seasons more intensely. The way we spend our time is determined by the weather and the generosity of Mother Nature. The days are slowly becoming warm enough to sit outside in a t-shirt, guests return home from their day of activities with rosy cheeks and a sun-kissed glow, the sound of birds in the trees is ever-present and the slow reveal of solid ground as the snow melts shows signs of the summer to come. The trickling sound of snow melting back into water in the heat of the day is a little like our own personal water feature, and with the transition into daylight savings time here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are longer meaning we spend more time outside, whether being active or relaxing! It's a time of rebirth and renewal for nature and for ourselves.
After long cold winters, whether we live in a city or on a mountain, we can be left feeling a little heavy, stagnant or weighed down. In Ayurvedic tradition (the science of life, a yogic mind-body health system), the end of the winter sees a melting of both our external and internal environments, and health-wise this can bring congestion, allergies and colds. The following are a selection of springtime practices to release the heaviness of winter and embrace the lightness, brightness and motivation of spring:
Warm digestive teas assist your body and mind in releasing winter. Try a simple lemon, honey and ginger tea, peppermint tea for digestion, or try some different blends for detoxification and energising.
Lighten your Load
During winter we experience a build-up of energy through our tendency to eat heavier foods during the colder months. In the spirit of spring, try avoiding heavy foods such as dairy products, sugar, processed foods and refined grains. Move towards legumes, green vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and try adding spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cumin and coriander to assist your body in releasing the stagnant kapha energy in your mind and body. Pungent and astringent foods are best. If possible, eat no later than 7pm to leave your body plenty of time overnight to digest and repair before eating again at breakfast.
Salute the Sun
(Sun Salutation) is a full-body practice to increase the energy flow in the body and lift mood and motivation. This is a wonderful practice for the morning, welcoming the sunshine and all it represents. Performing 3-5 rounds before you eat breakfast helps to awaken the digestive fire and start your day on the right foot. As you become stronger you could increase to 10 rounds.
Spend time in the sunshine
The best way to top up your Vitamin D levels after being covered from head to toe all winter is to sit or walk in the sunshine on a bright day, revealing your forearms, chest and face to the sky. Vitamin D is essential for your physical health, but is naturally present in very few foods. Luckily, the body produces Vitamin D in response to sun exposure. So get out there!
Release what no longer serves you
You could apply this to material possessions, bodily tension or thought patterns - whatever you feel is holding you back or weighing you down. If you feel you have too much clutter in your home and in your life, start the process of filtering out the excess - clearing out stuff, cobwebs and dust that have accumulated over winter is a great way to lighten the load. Tidy house, tidy mind! If you are holding on to friendships or relationships that are no longer growing you or making you happy, let them go. When we clear out the clutter in our lives we open up space for new, good things to come in, and this is the spirit of springtime - release the heaviness, embrace the lightness!
If combining yoga and mindfulness practices with nature is your cup of tea, a week in the mountains at MoaAlm could be perfect for you. Join us on our Mindfulness in Nature Week with Claire Thompson this June 9-16th and enjoy the transition from spring to summer with the mountains on your doorstep.