Reflections on Spring

The spring season officially began on March 20th with the vernal equinox. The name “equinox” derives from Latin, meaning “equal night” and refers to the roughly equal length of daylight and darkness this time of year. This is a time of celebration and in many traditions it marks the beginning of a new life cycle. Spring is the time when life awakens from its winter slumber and new vitality surfaces. 

Spring in Chinese medicine brings yang energy (movement), which beacons us out of our winter cocoons and allows us to begin shedding the excesses of winter. For several months now the heater has been on, the blankets have been out, and soup has been on the stove, but spring calls us outside to begin moving. We begin to sow seeds, and just as new buds and flowers start to grow, so too can our lives. 

In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have such spectacular spring colors. From the cherry blossoms starting to bloom, to the wildflowers along the hillsides, change is unfolding. The many vibrant colors and fragrances ground us in our senses and the present moment. They invite to pause, and amidst the liveliness to reexamine our lives and surroundings.

In Chinese medicine, health and wellness centers on living in balance with nature. This is about relationship, and the notion that you are both a part of and the result of everything around you. From this prospective humans and nature are one, meaning that as the seasons change, so too must our lives. 

The quality of spring is growth, which is reflected to us daily in nature’s evolving dance of new life. As part of this season however, we also must internalize growth and reinspire our health and harmony with the world around us for the coming year. This springtime, go for a walk, find a tree to revel at, plant a garden, reflect on a beach, and open yourself to the potential to renew your own life.

    Tips for a Healthy Spring:

    1. Eat plenty of local in season dark leafy greens – Leafy green help to cleanse the liver, and support a natural and gentle spring detox. Greens also help stimulate our digestion to keep things moving and promote health.

    2. Exercise – Spring is the perfect season to get outside and start moving. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

    3. Reflection/meditation/prayer – Consider developing or delving deeper into a reflective practice.

    4. Go to bed early – Spring is the season of the liver, and liver time in Chinese medicine is between 11pm and 3am. This is the time when the liver’s energy peaks, and if we are awake during these hours emotional and physical health can suffer. 

    5. Pursue a creative outlet - This is the time of year to pursue new hobbies and get inspired to build new routines into your life. Consider planting a garden, or taking an art or music lesson. Its never too late to start learning something new.