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Spring and Yin-Yang Balance

Springtime has arrived!  Here in New England, spring is gradually making its’ presence known, between the warmer temperatures, greener trees, and the increase of bird species at the feeder.

For many, spring is a time of anticipation and fondness for warmth after the cold winter season.  The energy of spring brings an excitement for getting outside and back to our gardens.  The sunny, longer days give us motivation to fire up the grills or meet friends for an evening stroll or an outdoor dinner on the deck.

You may also notice a natural shift in your energy levels, where you want to move more, as opposed to winter when the inclination is to rest and stay indoors.  All of these exciting changes that we witness in the Spring are simply signs that our bodies are in tune with their natural rhythm.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, Spring and Summer are ‘yang’, (representing male, creativity, heat, and light), seasons, where Fall and Winter are ‘yin’ (representing female, earth, dark and cold), seasons.  Yin and yang, (pronounced ‘y-ahhh-ng’), represent balance, and like in nature, our body, mind and spirit needs to be in balance in order to remain healthy.

Simply, in the Spring and Summer, we may notice we naturally feel more energetic or excited about starting creative projects.  In the Fall and Winter, we notice a desire to hibernate, stay indoors and turn inward.

Every season in TCM has an associated organ. In the Spring, the organ is the Liver.  The Liver Channel is in charge of the smooth flow of qi and blood in the 12 Channels, or Meridians of the body.  If you think of the body as a roadmap, the 12 channels are like highways, and ideally, we like to travel on these highways without traffic or interruption.  When there is an accident or an excess of traffic, we are no longer traveling in a smooth, consistent manner.  This analogy can be applied to the body as well.  When we are healthy, we feel good, our blood is moving efficiently and nourishing all of our tissues, and we are in balance.  When an injury, an illness, or a lifestyle choice offsets the balance, we become sick, irritable, or just off.  Furthermore, the liver controls the muscles and tendons, and the associated emotion is anger.

If you notice that you’re more irritable, impatient, or your muscles are tighter or more sore than usual in the Springtime, this is an indication that the liver is out of balance.  Diet, yoga, sleep and meditation are all great ways to address this imbalance.  As a practitioner, I have noticed a trend with patients in the Springtime–I often see more pain cases than usual, and emotionally, they often report that they are feeling depressed or irritable.  Amy Yapp, one of our RCY teachers, shares her observation that class attendance tends to wane in the springtime: “It can feel counterintuitive to stop and take time for a yoga class while the weather is improving, and the calendar is filling up. Yet, carving out time for yoga is the perfect anecdote for feeling out of balance. Keeping up a regular yoga practice keeps our joints healthier and our muscles more supple for all of the things we love to do during the warmer months. One of my greatest joys this time of year is hearing from our students that they are noticing a deeper sense of connection to the many gifts of spring.” And knowing the connection to the liver and the muscles, doesn’t it make sense to keep practicing?

Learn how Yoga & Acupuncture are The Perfect Team at our workshop this Friday, May 11th at 7:30 PM at Revolution Community Yoga.  In this 2-hour workshop, you will flow through a calming, supportive yoga practice focused on balance and releasing stuck energy patterns that can lead to pain and tightness.  During the second hour, you will relax in Final Resting Pose and receive an Acupuncture treatment designed to help balance the liver and calm the spirit.  You will leave feeling relaxed and ready for a great night of sleep. This workshop is ideal for all levels and the perfect way to kick off Mother’s Day Weekend!