I know the weather can really be hit or miss these days, but there is enough proof around in nature to confirm that spring is here, and it is time to consider shifting your yoga practice to compliment the season.

Over the winter we have been doing yoga classes that emphasize Sun Salutations to promote circulation, extra twists to strengthen metabolic fire, and dynamic forward and backbends to tonify the kidneys and urinary bladder, which are the organs that regulate water in the body as well as our emotions.

Now that the winter has passed and spring is near, it’s time to start sending some T.L.C. to the liver and gallbladder, which may have been working overtime during the winter with diets heavy in fat, protein, caffeine, alcohol or sugar. The springtime is about cleansing the liver and gallbladder, which do many helpful things for our health including: filtering toxins from the external environment and food, aiding in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, helping to break down fats in the body, and processing our anger. These are exactly the organs that tend to get overloaded in the winter with extra socializing, large meals, decreased exercise, not enough rest, and other behaviors typically associated with the winter months.

It makes sense that many of us are drawn to the idea of cleansing and purging this time of year—it’s time to lighten our load. Spring is really a time to THRIVE and it’s difficult to thrive if you feel weighted down by your inner or outer world. In order to feel your best, perhaps a little cleanse is in order to get rid of any winter weight, clutter, or material possessions that keep you in the past or limit your freedom in the moment.

Now is the time to decrease heavy, oily, cold, fat foods, and increase spicy, bitter, and astringent foods to promote wellness such as arugula, mustard greens, kale, strawberries, blueberries, and sprouts. Sprouts and early dark green vegetables are a great way to increase your vitamin, nutrient and chlorophyll intake. Sprouts are even known to be a natural blood cleanser. In general, eat light, eat local.

When it comes to your asana practice, the inner legs and outer leg lines correlate to the meridian lines that feed into the liver (inner legs) and gallbladder (outer legs). It’s a great time to deepen your relationship to poses such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon), Garudasana (eagle), Prasaritta Padottanasana (wide leg forward bends, Gardasana (cow face), as these poses help you to connect to and activate the liver and gallbladder meridians.

Example of a Yin/Restorative Practice for the Spring:
Lying on your back:
Supta Baddha Konasana, Happy Baby Pose, Wide Leg Splits (while supported by the floor), Easy Twist with bent legs, “Thread the Needle”
On the knees or seated:
Wide Leg Child’s Pose, Spinx, Pigeon, Ardha Matysendrasana, Gomukasana, Upavista Konasana, Padmasana

Example of a Spring Vinyasa Yoga Practice for the Spring:
Supta Baddha Konasana, Happy Baby Pose, Wide Leg Split, Supta Padangusthasana (standard and twist), Abdominal work with Twists, Abdominal work with legs in Garudasana, Lion’s Breath, Fire Hydrant, Spinal Rolls, Uddiyana Bandha, Agni Sara, Sun Salutes with Salabhasana, Squats, Surya Namaskar B, Garudasana, Prasaritta Padottanasana Series, Sirsasana, Bakasana, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon), Gomukasana, Double Pigeon, Pursvottanasana, Mayurasana (peacock), Bharadvajasana, Maha Mudra, Janu Sirsasana, Setu Bandha, Halasana with Padmasana…finishing poses.

Posted by: Melina Meza
Melina will teach a Summer Seasonal Vinyasa Retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs in the Oregon Cascades July 30 – August 2, 2010.

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