In Spring, the body naturally prepares to shake off the weight of hibernation, readying itself to lighten the load both physically and mentally.
Compared to dry autumn, in spring nature starts getting wet and “mud-luscious,” to use e.e. cummings’s evocative phrase – yet simultaneously the first flowers miraculously rise up out of that heavy mud.
Nature holds both for a moment: the enlivening, uplifting quality of surging life, and the heaviness of the moisture that’s feeding it. It teeters for a moment like a see-saw on a fulcrum, and if we don’t take care to keep it balanced, it can crash easily to one side (the heavy one!).
Our body is similarly holding both influences. The moisture that was so welcome to offset the dryness of autumn is now flowing through our tissues, but if we don’t watch out, it can easily overflow its riverbanks, manifesting as the congestion of a spring cold or allergies.
The ancient and reliable guidance of Ayurveda offers a specific intervention for this very moment in Nature’s calendar to help us maintain that balance point.
A seasonal digestive reset or Ayurvedic “cleanse” is a series of actions that increase digestive strength and help the body un-clog the inner passageways that can get overrun by spring’s mucus-y moisture.
Generally speaking, when the digestive fires (i.e. gastric acids and enzymes) are burning appropriately, the body readily breaks down food, assimilates nutrients effectively, and protects the body from bacteria and other food-borne intruders.
However, when spring hits and inner moisture starts to rise, the fire naturally diminishes. It becomes easier to overpower our digestive strength, especially if we eat too much heavy or oily foods, or simply overeat what our fire can manage.
If the fire is diminished, digestion is imparied and then excess waste is created, like the smoke and ash of a failing campfire. Like the drain in a sink, the pathways of waste removal can slowly get clogged, causing a backlog of sludge (called ama in Ayurveda) that slowly robs us of our energy. This waste leaves us feeling cruddy over time and sets the stage for disease to take hold.
This can happen to all of us, regardless of how “clean” or healthy our food choices are. Spring always means weaker fire, or agni. And these days, even organic foods carry some level of chemical toxins, not to mention air-borne pollution- and who doesn’t grab a preservative-rich granola bar now and then?
We must also consider the high level of mental “toxins” created by our modern, busy lifestyle. Information overload, stress, and overwhelming demands on our time produce a physical effect of stress hormones and neurotransmitters, like cortisol and norepinephrine, which directly inhibit effective digestion. Negative thinking or excessive worry clog our subtle energy network. All of these factors compromise our system’s ability to process, filter, assimilate, and remain balanced.
While the body is exquisitely designed to maintain equilibrium, when the inner fire is weakened and sludge backs up, we all need periodic help to recover.
And then spring arrives, right on time.
Spring is when the body is naturally primed to loosen up and shake it all off! In the weeks ahead, I will be offering you specific suggestions to facilitate this natural lightening up. Keep your eyes out for easy tips to strengthen the fire, remove waste, and restore proper movement.
And for those in the Triangle, here is my #1 recommendation: Join me for the Spring Digestive Reset: a 12-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse and Rejuvenation.
This group program will walk you through a thorough yet nourishing process to reduce toxins, stoke the digestive fire, and pull old waste from the deep tissues of the body to be eliminated. We will lean into the support of the group, soothe the mind, and find inspiration to propel us into the rest of the year with clarity and enthusiasm.
I hope you’ll join us. I promise – jump in today, and for the rest of the year you’ll be grateful you did.