Spring Wellness with Ayurveda

Using ayurveda to adjust with the seasons

The natural world in springtime endures obvious, drastic changes: first rain and gloom, then a mood-swing to sunshine and flowers. Parallel swings occur in our bodies and minds, but often, we're too preoccupied to notice. Emotions and mental states can run the gamut as days grow longer, and physical conditions ranging from aggravated allergies to colds. Leftover flab and lethargy from winter can frustrate the renewal that has been the season's focus across cultures and throughout centuries.

If your spring wellness repertoire consists only of popping sniffle-chasing pills, or if you've never even noticed the effects of seasonal change, it might be time to check out the possibilities that Ayurveda offers. This millennia-old, holistic approach to human health provides a way to shed unwanted weight, physical and otherwise, and to healthily adjust to the season.

If you practice yoga, you've probably already dabbled in Ayurveda without knowing it; yoga is as central as breathing, diet and herbs to this traditional Indian medicine, although the latter two are often given an undue share of attention. (One common misperception is that Ayurveda merely prescribes foods you should and shouldn't eat-an inaccurate and incomplete impression.)

Ayurveda isn't one-size-fits-all, and ultimately, you'll want a personalized regimen of yoga, diet and lifestyle. Workshops and lectures are a good way to get to know the practice. Noted Ayurveda authority Dr. Robert Svoboda has written extensively on Ayurveda.

You can also start small-very small, in your own kitchen, by making a bowl of mung dal kitchari from a recipe Scott Blossom, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic consultant recommends on his website. The kitchari is eaten to balance all three Ayurvedic doshas, or life energies. When you're done eating, read a good introduction to Blossom's springtime Ayurveda advice in a past article he wrote for Yoga Journal, which discusses several breathing techniques (such as Lion's breath) and yoga poses (plow, cobra) that create cleansing inner heat.

Keep in mind that Ayurveda isn't only for spring, and it isn't a dabbler's delight-popping mung beans instead of Claritin from March through May isn't a miracle cleansing trick. If you're serious about keeping your health in balance year-round, you'll want to start listening to your own body.

Or perhaps you already have — what's your body been saying this spring? Have you ever used Ayurveda?

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