As we emerge from the darkest parts of Winter, from slow and cold hibernation, we welcome sunshine and longer days with Spring in mind. Winter guided us through stillness and peace as we reflected and rejuvenated from the previous fall. Now comes the time to build our energy slowly as we awaken from this slumber, bracing for the movement of Spring ahead. As we think about how to subtly change our routine and perspective for the needs of this season, consider these Ayurvedic remedies to transition smoothly.
Spring is a beautiful time to build Ojas, an Ayurvedic principle referring to vitality and vigor, or “nectar of life”. Ojas is strength and stability of our entire being, it promotes prosperity and happiness by offering energy and inspiration for life as we move through it. When we have a filling and nutritious meal, Ojas is the physical substance that remains after we have digested nutrients through all tissue layers. Ojas is the final energy we get to soak up.
When we have STRONG Ojas our bodily systems thrive and our vital energy pulses through our day bringing harmony and connection to self and community. In this state our immune system and digestion is strong and our mind resilient, able to make quick changes and adapt to the environment. We feel happy and content when we have built Ojas and are able to function at our highest potential.
When we have WEAK Ojas we feel dull, depleted, frustrated, sick and disconnected. In this state our immune system is unsteady, inspiration and enjoyment for life lacks and our digestion is slow. We often have the most trouble sleeping when we have low Ojas while also feeling mental and bodily fatigue.
Considering the impact of Ojas on our ability to function at our most clear and confident state, it is important to build Ojas through simple adaptations to our daily habits. To understand better how to incorporate Ojas building habits into our Spring transitional routine, keep reading below!
The Food We Eat
In Spring we notice the qualities of wet, heavy, cloudy and dense with the seasonal transition bringing in mobility. Therefore, our food we eat should ideally have a component of hot, dry, light and also static qualities.
We want to focus on warming spices and foods, comfort foods that provide nutients for Ojas and to warm internally with April showers.
Comfort foods are the go-to during this season, think of…
Stews, soups and hearty dishes that are high in oil, nutrient dense vegetables and grains, and filled with spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, chili and nutmeg.
We also want to consider eating the biggest meal at noon when our digestive fire is high, and a smaller meal in the evening so we can sleep easy.
Follow this recipe for Ghee Soaked Dates and consume throughout the season.
Drink Golden Milk Tea to improve immune system and warm your body with spices.
Ghee Soaked Dates
+1 – 2lb organic butter
–Melt butter in a pot (1 – 2 lbs) on medium heat, bring to a boil
–Reduce heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes.
–Butter will pop and bubble and then calm into a frothy paste that slowly turns amber.
–The butter will form big bubbles and then very small bubbles, you may find milk solids sticking to the bottom of a pan.
–Watch carefully here as you don’t want to burn the Ghee, wait until there are a few seconds in between big pops.
–Take off the heat and cool slightly before straining through a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer before transfering to a mason jar.*
*If making Ghee dates, continue recipe directions below…
+Optional: Add Pistachios for a grounding, warming effect
+Warming spices such as: Cardamom, Saffron, Clove and Cinnamon
+1 cup dates, pitted
–Cut up dates into halves lengthwise, add to mason jar.
–Stir in spices and nutes to the hot ghee and let cool 2 minutes, pour Ghee over dates.
–Store on countertop in a cool, dark environment for 1 month.
Spread Ghee and Dates on toast, add to oatmeal or rice.
Golden Milk Tea
Golden Milk Paste:
+1/2 cup ground Turmeric
+1 cup water
—Simmer together on low for up to 10 minutes to form a thick paste.
—Remove from heat and add ground spices:
—Start with 1/4 tsp each, increase to your liking
—Add 3 tbs ghee, or butter
–Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 months
+Coconut milk, organic whole milk, other milk alternative, or water
–Add 1 tbs+ of paste to liquid of choice and simmer until throughly blended (Alternatively you can simply add hot water to your cup and stir well)
–Add 1tbs honey after heat to marry the spices together
Find a cozy spot and a friend to share your tea!
Our Daily Routine
How we wake up reflects on our energy and mental focus for the rest of the day. Consider the phrase “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” Daily routines will vary from season to season, the most important thing to consider in Spring is to bring warmth, awareness, and lightness to our minds and bodies.
Oral and Face Care:
Begin each day by bringing attention and cleansing to the senses.
–FACE: Washing your face with cold water in the mornings is a great way to jump start your energy and clarity. Give special attention to eyes and ears.
–MOUTH: Tongue scraping and oil pulling cleans the toxins gently from the tongue and mouth. Before consuming any water or food, right as you get out of bed, grab a spoon and turn it upside-down and pull from the back of the tongue to the front. You will notice a discolored mucus, these are the toxins your body wasn’t able to digest through the night. It is our responsibility to cleanse the mouth as we wake up to prevent reabsorption of these toxins. Oil pulling is another option, swishing oil around in your mouth binds to the remaining toxins and when you spit out the oil all the toxins go along with.
–SKIN: Massaging oil or lotions into our skin as an act of self-love provides the necessary moisture and touch we need to take on the day. Sesame oil is heating and powerful to use during this wet and cold season, though if you tend on toward a warmer body temperature try Sunflower oil for a slightly cooler to neutral effect!
–NOSE, EARS: Clearing the nostrils and ears then adding oil gently around the base helps us to purify these senses and protects from particles and pollution.
Try bringing awareness to our bodies first thing when you get out of bed by practicing some gentle stretching routines to wake up the spine and activiate your energy centers.
–Find yourself in a seated position and begin to make circles from the lowest part of your lumbar spine and hips, bring your chest in large circles nearly grazing your legs in a seated position, circle each direction for a few minutes.
–Then begin to extend and contract your lower belly with movement starting from your navel.
–Take the movement now to between the shoulder blades as you round and look toward your navel and then exhale as you open your chest toward the sky.
–Finally, practice some neck rotations, side stretches and simple twists to finish waking up the spine.
Food and Liquid:
Remember that warm foods and heating spices are the best for this season.
–Consume hot tea or warm water throughout the day to aid in active digestion. A simple spice blend of Cumin, Corriander, and Fennel turns into a balancing daily tea that supports all digestive types! While drinking Golden Milk Tea is a great way to start or end your day.
–Allow yourself to drink warm or scalded milk with spices. Whole and organic milk can be very stimulating for Ojas, though you can use other milk alternatives such as oat or almond for a similar effect.
–Start off the day with a warming egg-drop vegetable stock soup and wait until lunch to have your biggest meal. Allow your body to ease off digestion when it comes to dinner, and if you’re craving something sweet try one of your Ghee Dates!
Focus on activites that build heat while providing restoration to our body to retain energy, build Ojas, and keep us thriving through the season.
— Weekly with Restorative or Yin Yoga classes bring balance to support our mind and body.
–Meditation, especially Yoga Nidra, bring intention and presence into our daily routine. These practices calm and restore our vagus nerve, which governs our response of stress.
–Taking long-walks in the sun for your Vitamin D fix and to ground us through the movement into Spring.
–Cuddling up with pillows and blankets. Spring is not all about contrasting stillness with action, this is a perfect season to listen to when our bodies want to cuddle up and restore.
Just as Winter season brings the new year and urges us into slowness, it also shows stillness and dormancy to our natural spaces. The transition into Spring offers us mobility and a chance to put into action what we have harbored during winter.
Give yourself compassion and grace by allowing actions to come with slow and deliberate intention, there is no need to hurry.
Start by considering awareness to your true nature or purpose. This can mean identifying goals you wish to take on throughout the year, activities you feel inspired to continue, and how your place in the community can be tended to. When we feel supported in our community and supported in our pursuits, we are actively engaging in our essence of Ojas.
Bring to mind the previous year, allowing it to absorb into your senses through this season. By acknowledging where we have come from, we can prepare for future growth. This is a season to identify what we wish to manifest or bring into our lives for the coming seasons.
Pay special attention to the awakening of your senses through this season. Dive into the sound of song birds returning, water melting from snow, the warm Spring winds, and how the season feels on your skin. The senses enable us to digest life and allow for more presence in our actions.
A great way to bring a tangible presence to this season is by planting flowers or other herbs. Plants that can germinate inside and then are taken outside as the season changes can be our companions as we begin to take on the energy of Summer.
In all, Spring is a time for rooting into our sacral chakra to bring confidence and purpose into our actions. Spring bears in mind what we have learned in Winter about self-love and the graceful presence of restoration and begins to put everything in order for Summer action.