Spring. Just hearing that word makes me smile. It’s my favourite time of year. It’s a time when we throw open our windows and let the sunshine and fresh air into our homes. It’s the time when we spring clean our homes, and we should do the same for our bodies. I want to share with you 3 Simple Tips for Spring Cleaning your body so that you too can clean up your body without strict regimes or harsh restrictions.
Spring is Kapha season, and at this time of year symptoms such as low energy, sluggish circulation, seasonal allergies, and mucus congestion are all the more common. There are, however, many ways that you can support your body through this time of seasonal change. It seems natural to everyone to spring clean your home, clearing out the dirt and junk that has accumulated over winter. But what about the junk that has accumulated inside your body? Here are the top three ways to give your body the spring clean it needs this season!
The transition from winter to spring is one of the most transformative times in nature. Similarly, your body is preparing to go through a significant transition of its own. Just like the snow melts with the rising temperature, so does the excess storage of fat you’ve accumulated during the cold, winter months. Fat cells are the storehouse for most toxins in the body. When this excess layer of insulation starts to melt, you can feel sluggish, congested, and fatigued as these metabolic toxins enter general circulation.
For thousands of years, Ayurveda has understood the importance of seasonal changes, and encourages seasonal cleansing to support the body through this transition. A seasonal cleanse is the most effective way to shed your winter coat. A cleanse gently scrubs the digestive tract and stimulates your digestive strength (agni). There are many benefits to a spring cleanse: increased energy, better digestion, fewer allergy symptoms, improved immune system function, better sleep, better concentration, healthier skin, healthy weight and many, many more.
The Holistic Highway Cleanse will guide you step by step through this process. This cleanse is different to others as it is personalized to suit your individual needs. Start by taking our modern dosha quiz to learn about your unique body type. Ayurveda recognizes that each of us are different and by knowing your metabolic type, you can customize this cleanse for better results. A key point to remember about an Ayurveda cleanse is that there is no fasting or depravation involved. Throughout the cleanse, you will be eating nourishing foods that help clear out the junk in your gut, but leave you feeling satisfied and sustained.
If you are prone to seasonal allergies, or excess mucus congestion, you probably know what an uncomfortable time of the year spring can be. Without being able to breathe properly, your energy levels will start to drop. Obstructed breathing leads to a reduced flow of prana, or your vital life force, which thrives on fresh oxygen. There are, however, a few things that you can do to clear out and protect your nasal passages this spring to ensure you can breathe easy.
The first option is a neti pot, which is used to keep the nasal passages clear, decongest excess mucus, and gently rinse irritants like dust and dirt. To a clean neti pot, add a saline solution made of ¼ teaspoon mineral salt and 1 cup of water. Standing over a sink (or in your garden on warmer days), tilt your head to the side and pour the solution into one nostril. Once the angle is right, it should flow freely through the opposite nostril. Repeat on the other side, ensuring to breathe through your mouth throughout the process. You may want to have some tissues nearby to wipe any excess saline solution away, and blow your nose afterwards!
Another effective Ayurvedic technique to improve respiration this spring is nasya, which is the nasal administration of herbalized oils. This simple technique helps protect the mucous membranes of the nostrils that get easily irritated and inflamed during allergy season. You can purchase specific nasya oils, or simply use some warm sesame oil. Each morning, coat the nostrils with a few drops of oil, and lay your head back over the side of your bed for five minutes so it has a chance to penetrate into the sinuses.
Once your nasal passages are clear and you are breathing easy, practice some daily breathing techniques. One of the best breathing techniques, or pranayamas, for spring and Kapha season is called Kapalbhati. This pranayama, also known as the “skull shining breath,” strengthens the respiratory system, stimulates metabolism and assists the body to breakdown accumulated fat and toxins. It also stimulates circulation and gets the blood moving – a great way to beat the morning sluggishness! You can learn how to practice this breathing technique here.
Another technique that holds an important place in spring to keep your body nice and clean is dry brushing, or garshana. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of Ayurveda, garshana means “friction by rubbing.” This is an Ayurvedic lymphatic massage that stimulates lymphatic circulation and assists your body to gently remove toxins. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body, purifying and removing waste products from the interstitial fluid and plasma.
The lymphatic system does not have a central pump like the circulatory system. The only way to keep it flowing is through regular movement, exercise, and physical stimulation like massage. While regular movement and exercise is the best remedy to keep lymphatic flow strong, dry brushing is a wonderful addition. Practice first thing in the morning to stimulate circulation and reduce those heavy, stagnant or sluggish feelings. It’s also a great option at the end of your work day, particularly if you have a sedentary desk job.
Not only that, dry brushing refreshes the skin, removing the top layer of dead cells. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is essential for detoxification, so make sure to care for it regularly. To practice dry brushing, get yourself a natural bristle brush or some exfoliating gloves. Start by practicing long strokes on the limbs, always moving against the direction of hair growth, towards to heart. This is to aid lymphatic drainage. Practice circular motions around the joints, and avoid the chest, face, and any areas with sensitive skin. Have a shower after to remove the dead skin cells – you’re skin will have a spring glow in no time!
Don’t forget, the most effective way to manage this seasonal change, and give your body the spring clean it deserves, is with an seasonal cleanse. Almost anyone can benefit from an Ayurveda cleanse, however it is not appropriate for anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or currently ill.
The Holistic Highway Team