May 14 , 2021
"It's never too late or too early to make the most of the season you are currently in"
Morgan Harper Nichols
Have you noticed the highs and lows of your energy through the year? In the Summer months we expand with energy, filling our calendar with holidays and every possible social engagement, energy peaks and we want to do ALL the things. Then as Autumn begins, cosy nights are calling and we find ourselves craving the comfort of home. Sounds familiar, right? Take a moment and consider the natural world around us, how effortlessly it transforms from one season to the next, each and every year this same cycle of Seasons just happens. In Seasonal Yoga we draw upon the ancient teachings of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to merge a modern way to live seasonally through all aspects of our lives, finding balance and harmony.
The fusion of Seasonal Yoga and TCM make for a potent pairing, inviting us to transform our practice on and off the mat, throughout the year by responding to the changes in nature. Each Season is linked with a different element, pair of organs, a colour and specific theme’s which support us to be in tune with the natural world around us and to become the best version of ourselves. By leaning towards these teachings we find that by doing so our overall wellbeing can vastly improve, we stop fighting and begin to go with the flow of life and nature.
Right now, we’re in Spring. Do you feel ready to emerge into the Season? The energy at this time of year is fresh, full of possibility and invites us to be reborn. We only have to step outside and look around to see all of the potential in the shoots of green poking through the earth, to know that we are on the edge of something magical. The world quite literally comes alive in Spring. So what does that mean in Seasonal Yoga and TCM? Well, the element of Spring is Wood, the colour is green and the organs associated with the season are the Liver and the Gall Bladder.
Firstly let’s explore the element of Wood, which at first glance appears hard and powerful. Yet, when we look beyond the superficial layers we find there is way more depth. Roots, firmly grounded in the earth gathering nourishment, sap rising, branches expanding and new buds forming, ready to burst into life. Trees stand strong and unwavering, but able to move and flow with the winds. On our yoga mats we can use this to be inspired to be grounded in our foundation, strong in our trunk, yet able to move and flow with the breath in our practice. Off the mat, the Wood element invites us to grow and flourish. Spring is the time to explore creative projects, to action positive change and to emerge with confidence. From deep roots, high branches grow.
Physically, the Liver and the Gall Bladder play an important part for balancing hormones, digestion and blood flow. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that now is the time to ‘Spring clean’, not only your home but your body and mind too? It’s the ideal time to clear away the cobwebs, gain vision and lean in towards the aspects in your life that offer expansive energy and growth. Working with the meridian lines of these two organs, along with cleansing breathwork and body tapping, are all uplifting ways on the mat for moving stagnant energy and awakening to the rising yang energy of Spring.
The Liver, seen in TCM as the one with the vision and governs the flow of qi (energy/prana) through the body and detoxification. In Eastern philosophy it’s said that when the Liver isn’t functioning optimally it can disturb our emotional well-being, harbouring feelings of anger, impatience and irritability. It also can mean we are stagnant and stuck. On the flip side of this, a good functioning Liver promotes assertiveness, good humour and the ability to generate creative ideas. So how do we optimise our Liver health? The tonic to good Liver function, sadly isn’t a G&T, instead think green! Plenty of green leafy vegetables and whole grain foods make for a more friendly, functioning Liver. Emotionally we can support ourselves by letting go of resentment and practicing patience.
The Gall Bladder is like the younger sibling to the Liver, it’s functions to store and excrete bile but also balances energy through the hormones. In TCM we know that emotionally the Gall Bladder supports the Liver to control judgement and the ability to make judgements and spark initiative. Together, they are a potent pair for creating vision, hatching plans and gaining momentum and energy to strive forward.
In Seasonal Yoga, we combine all of these teachings to develop a Spring practice this is rooted deeply in the teachings from TCM. Postures are paired with the meridian lines of the Liver and Gall Bladder, offering themes of grounding and side-opening poses a-plenty . In our yoga practice we draw towards focus and drishti to support the creation of clarity, purpose and vision as we spearhead into Spring with full intention to grow our branches, expand our energy, whilst staying very much rooted to our truth and values.
Spring offers new perspective and the capacity to grow. Themes of hope, new beginning and optimism are high as we respond to the warmer temperatures and the lighter, brighter and longer days ahead. Spring energy lends itself well to the formation of new healthy habits too. Much more so than in January when we often set unrealistic resolutions, Spring is the time to spur into action and plan your year ahead. Whether it’s waking with the sun, drinking more water, having that green juice every day or finally making time for that creative project. Do it now!
Join me on the mat and practice a Spring inspired flow to move stagnant energy and life your spirits with the energy of the Season!
Varrie is a 200hr Yoga Teacher who loves nothing more than sharing her passion for this practice.
Varrie brings a spirit of playfulness to her teachings, combining creative sequencing, compassion-centred philosophy and a gentle nature to encourage students to find feel-good movement in their practice. Her classes are a blend of thought-provoking meditations, breath-led movement and guided relaxations, combining elements of Vinyasa Flow and Seasonal Yoga.
Find out more by visiting her website: https://www.yogawithvarrie.com