On March 20th, and throughout the entire week, Gaia will go through her quarterly metabolic shift; this time the Spring Equinox. No need to go far to see new shoots from trees and plants coming out of their hibernating state. It’s Wood energy, both powerfully and gently moving through the earth as it grows upward, towards the sun. This is a time for birth and renewal.
Attuning to the “Wood” Season
Like our fellow plants, we too have a seasonal supported opportunity to wake up from hibernation and begin anew. In Oriental Medicine, we believe that the body is a miniature reflection of Nature and that when we allow our “small universe” to attune to the greater rhythms of the Earth, we can create the right conditions for health. Wu Xing (The 5 Elements) is a very useful map that describes how life moves and manifests in accordance with each of the 5 Seasons. Winter, for example, is likened to the potential of a seed which conserves and stores energy in the understanding that the manifesting power of the Spring will soon follow. Sometimes Wood energy comes as a mighty force that pushes us to acknowledge and get in touch with areas or aspects of ourselves and of our relationships carefully swept under the rug during the dormant season of Winter. This may translate into a feeling of urgency to finish or start that one project already overcooking in the cauldron of our dreams. Spring is a time in which impatience may turn into anger a bit easier and faster than at other times; that is why the ancient ones advise us to arise early and go walking (or in modern times, we may go jogging, cycling, rowing…) in order to absorb the fresh, invigorating energy of the season so as to be able to course and transform the powerful energy of anger into creative action.
If your intention is to “live” the gifts of Spring in flesh and bone, I suggest that for the next 7 days you attune to the energy of the Wood element by paying attention to where in your body and in your life you feel alive and ready for a new beginning. If you feel called to go deeper into this seasonal exploration, sign up here to receive 30 days worth of emails. The daily seasonal reminders will suggest simple exercises and practices that will help you “unfold” the mystery of the Spring awakening in your body.
Spring is an excellent time to attend to the Liver and Gall Bladder by cleansing the body of the fats and heavier foods of the Winter.
Some of us may undergo some form of “flu” that will invite us to make a pause and allow the junk to come out in the form of phlegm, loose stools and a bit of more sweating.
If you feel that your liver is somewhat burdened, I recommend that you go on a Cleanse, either a 10 or 28-day detox program or a more moderate one-day detox. You can also use the following herbs to cleanse and tonify your Wood element:
• Dandelion is an overall liver cleanser and tonic. Particularly effective for PMS (premenstrual syndrome), mood swings, bloating and breast tenderness
•Peppermint is a mood-elevating, invigorating herb that can aid digestion, bloating and poor appetite.
• Milk Thistle is the premier herb for anyone who has been exposed to toxic chemicals and should be taken for at least two months after exposure. In addition, for those who work with chemicals or are routinely exposed to pollution, milk thistle can be taken on a regular basis with a one week break every six weeks
The diet should be the lightest of the year and contain foods that emphasize the ascending and expansive qualities of the spring, like:
~ Young plants
~ Fresh Greens
~ And immature wheat or other cereal grasses.
Of course, always listen to your own needs, especially in cases in which you may have certain food allergies!
Salty foods such as soy sauce, miso and sodium-rich meats all have a strong component of sinking energy and it’s best to limit during this season. Instead, you can use pungent cooking herbs such as:
~ Bay leaf
Certain intensely pungent flavors are employed in the Spring by Western folk healers as medicine: a week-long daily dose of raw onions and garlic acts as a potion to rid the body of parasites (no romantic dates that week!).
Food preparation becomes simpler in the spring. Cook your food for a shorter time but at a higher temperature, in this way the food is not as thoroughly cooked, especially the inner part. If oil is used, a quick high-temperature sauté is appropriate. When cooking with water, light steaming or minimal simmering is ideal.
Treat yourself with a soothing and delicious tea!
Since coffee is not the most appropriate beverage for this time of the year, I suggest that you treat yourself with this “Liver calming” tea. It’s very simple to make; just gather the following ingredients and make an infusion.
* Mint leaves (fresh when possible)
* Goji berries (look for the ones that are red and not orange since the latter are treated with sulfur), and
If you want, you may also add a few drops of fresh lemon to your tea. I truly enjoy this combination of herbs, especially during Spring time!
According to Chinese Medicine, this is the most appropriate time of the year to reorganize your inner space by cleansing and nourishing your body and mind. You have the opportunity to create a “pause” in your habit-energy so as to shed new light into old assumptions about yourself and others.
The energy of this season as manifested by the Wood element presents you with the opportunity to discern your path, to stay clear on your direction, to move forward toward manifesting your dreams and to take a stand for what you believe is wholesome and in accordance to your Destiny.
This is certainly a time for birth and renewal; may you enjoy every bit of it!
To our Health!
Yamin Chehin L.Ac, Dipl O.M
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