As Spring beckons, our direction and attention is drawn outwards and outside. We notice the lighter evenings, the birdsong returning and the gentle blossoming of plants and trees alike seem to breath life back into everything.
Perhaps you feel a sense that the time has come to set new intentions, with this new reassuring warmth of the earth and sun alike. We might be inclined to be more sociable or we may find ourselves thinking about new projects and things we wish to learn about. The seasons transition and so do we; our body subtly begin crave a feeling of lightness after the heavy sludge of winter.
In Ayurveda, there is a substance known as Ama; a toxic accumulation from undigested food residue. Ama is rather like tar, blocking the channels of the body and lodging itself within the organs. Its consistency is that of a kind of paste, whitish yellow in colour and rotten smelling. When there is ama the body can feel swollen, heavy, with stiff joints that feel achy. A white tongue and bloated belly are also symptoms.
Ama shows up in the physical body, but also affects the mind, so when there’s mental ama, there’s a feeling of sluggishness in the brain, paired with demotivation, depression, ignorance, confusion and a lack of discernment. This can end up keeping us within a cycle of self destruction, preventing us from that which brings us back to health and sattvic balance of absolute goodness, truth, serenity and peace.
Moving Towards Health and Wellness
Recommended foods to try to break the conditions and causes of Ama are foods that help to detox like apples, garlic, broccoli.. More information on these good foods can be found in our ‘Detox o’clock’ blog here. Taking care of your diet and eating light, bitter foods such as leafy vegetables, coffee, pumpkin seeds, watercress and orange peel are great for digesting more easily (and are hard to overeat!). Bitter foods are often recommended for Spring in an Ayurvedic diet because of the way the body responds to them, receiving the bitters almost as a kind of poison. Our protective detoxing organs are stimulated and begin to fully function, with bile released into the liver and gall bladder and clearing the blood of heat. The tongue and mouth generate additional saliva at the bitter taste which stimulates breath and metabolism. There are even bitter taste buds in the lungs to continue this aliveness into the respiratory system. A daily turmeric supplement is a wonderful anti-inflammatory which also helps to restore circulation and metabolism, whilst cleansing the liver.
Yoga is always at hand too with detoxing poses like twists will always help reduce Ama and stimulate the digestive tract. Here’s a simple supine twist to get you started – feel free to pop a cushion under the bottom knee or between your knees for support and be sure to turn your face in the opposite direction of your knees. Stay in the twist for several breaths, allowing your body to adapt to the shape.
Heart opening poses also work well for a Spring sequence, as they take the body in the opposite direction to the yin forward folding and juicy hip openings you’ll see in Winter and Autumn sequences and practices. Poses like this one, known as ‘Camel’ or ‘Ustrasana’ literally lift the heart towards the sky, increase your heart rate and require deep core strength to hold your body in place. This internal fire, burns away the ama and restores health and organ function.
There is so much you can do for your body in every season to feel well and avoid illness and discomfort. A regular yoga practice has an abundance of scientifically backed benefits which explains it’s global popularity and growing movement. Do yoga with us here at the Guildford Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Wellbeing Studio and let our friendly compassionate yoga (and pilates!) teachers guide you towards the happy contented place you wish to be in with your body and mental health. Everybody and every body is welcome to join our community and you will always receive a warm welcome.