Happy New Year of the "Yin Earth Pig"! This winter into spring transition gives way to Shao Yang Qi, or: Young Yang Qi. What does this mean? It means light and yang energy are increasing daily. Our yang energy in the body is waking up!
What does this mean for your health into spring? Well, since we are made from the earth, we eat and are nourished by the earth, then it is wise to tend your body like a garden. With spring, buds form on trees, small shoots begin to emerge from the earth. These things must be tended with care and continued to be protected from frost and cold. Read on to find ways to encourage a healthy spring.
SMALL ADVICE WITH BIG BENEFITS:
This means, keep your body warm, especially the legs and feet, no shorts and sandals yet. Why? Keeping these areas warm keeps cold from traveling up the through the feet, up the legs and entering the lower belly. When this area gets cold, it cannot work for you, weight gain around the middle happens, your tire grows, depression, painful periods, prostate problems can begin here.
Best plan? As temperatures warm up, gradually remove your outer layers from the top down, hat first, gloves, jacket, etc. Keep the legs and feet toasty warm until it is truly warm outside. Continue to put your clothes on, no naked skin. The wind can come in and attack the Liver, this can show up as migraine, vertigo, eye problems.
Wear loose clothes, not too tight, so that Qi can move easily in the channels and not constrict. When you cut off circulation with tight clothes your Liver and Gallbladder channels are less efficient at circulating blood. Positive attitude, what you think now, you will cash in this fall, have a good attitude about life to prepare for the coming seasons.
HOW TO EAT FOR THE COMING SPRING:
Eat a bit of the sweet flavor to help the Liver energies rise. Eat yams, beets, corn, squash, brussel sprouts, fennel, potato, pumpkin, oyster mushroom, cherry, black beans, aduki beans, lentil, kidney bean, chickpea, coconut, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, salmon, beef, chicken, turkey, venison, butter, chicken egg, goat milk, molasses, olive oil, brown sugar.
Eating too much sour food this time of year causes the Liver Qi to condense into the liver and goes down. Pretty much, sour foods taste sour. Just like in nature you want the things to sprout up and out of the ground, so then, does your Liver energy want to be assisted to rise up and out.
Limit spicy foods which contain heat and can harm the Liver Qi. As in, make it not work so good. Hot, spicy, deep fried, hot stir fry, peppers, too much chicken, sugar and alcohol.
HOW TO DEVELOP GOOD SLEEP:
You can go to bed a bit later than in the winter, but no later than 10:30 pm, this way you nourish the heart energies at the best time. Going to bed after 11:00 PM will consume your Liver Qi. Conserve LIve Qi by having a 2 hour period before bed with no screen time, this means TV, ipad, phones, etc.
Soaking feet in warm water, ankle deep for 20 minutes before bedtime is good practice to draw energy out of the brain. Cool head, warm feet for sleep to arrive. Once in bed you can apply a hot water bottle at your feet, ice pack on forehead or back of the head at the base.
WHAT TO FOCUS ON FOR EXERCISE:
Try to relax as much as possible, do not over-do, as in over-exercise too much or too hard. When you sweat lots this time of year it opens the pores too much and cold can enter the body.
Walk easily for 30-45 minutes per day, not too vigorously, enough to warm up but not break a big sweat.
Practice qigong for the liver and gallbladder such as Jade Woman or, the Liver Purification- my teachers link for this. Use Qigong to transform energy.
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR SPIRIT HEALTH:
Qigong will help to purify the energy of the Liver & Gallbladder. Then the spirit of the Hun, the Liver spirit is also purified. This spirit helps you find direction in life, it gives you vision for your future.
These practices allow the spring energy inside to develop and grow gradually. This way you will be moving into good feeling energy for your springtime. You will find your Qi charged with happiness, you have desire to do something, you feel joy.
Your Yang Qi will slowly rise and as it does follow the rhythms of nature. Because you are a part of nature, this plan allows your energy to be assisted by the rhythm of the earth and the heavens. The pull of the moon and its influence on water systems in the body, and the warmth of the sun, which charges your Yang energy.
You will find yourself with a more content, peaceful spirit with renewed energy of spring. The opposite? Anger and frustration can happen in the spring and are a signal to you that your connection to the earth and body rhythms are not as strong as they could be.