March's weather in Chicagoland is crazy. You experience wind, rain, snow or sunshine - all in one week. Everything feels wet and soggy but fertile and rich at the same time. Hibernating animals come back to life and Netflix binges are not so appealing. The heavy wetness and gray thick clouds of March have emotional effects as well. Psychologically, March is a month of laziness, sadness, depression and overflow of deep rooted emotions.
As your layer of winter body fat begins to melt, it enriches your blood and congests your circulatory system. This change leaves us acceptable to respiratory congestion, loss of appetite, and sinus infection. Just as you catch common colds in fall, spring colds are a thing, along with the fight of allergies of emerging new growth. Eeven on cool days you'll notice a warmth still vibrating from the chest. With the fertility of March, the first fresh buds of spring are starting to pop, and our bodies are naturally ready to lighten up.
The answers to lightening up can be found in the wisdom of the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda. In brief, Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
Spring Eats: *Build your menu around lighter foods in general throughout spring. Start to bring in foods that build prana ~ your kinetic energy. Foods that increase prana include anything and everything green (spinach, kale, green beans) chlorophyll rich foods like spirulina. Add spirulina to your green juices - veggie juices not only builds prana, but also aids in fat metabolism. *Munch on arugula, lettuce, spinach, endive or sprouts. This is the best time of the year to enjoy salads. Aside from increasing prana, bitter greens have the added benefit of gently cleansing your liver. *Top your meals with cilantro as a garnish. Cilantro is packed with prana, a great digestive and detoxicant. *Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts also serve to balance the body that can feel heavy. Be mindful to cook these and add oil and digestive spices. *Artichoke hearts have a laxative effect, which can be helpful for springtime sluggish digestion. Be sure to cook them up with oils like ghee and add some black pepper to help with digestion. *Parsley is an exceptional diuretic. Unlike other diuretics it allows for water excretion without the loss of electrolytes. *Fresh hydrating fruits full of healthy fiber such as berries and citrus nourish the body, lift spirits and assist in digestion. *This is the time of year to spice things up. Add black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger to your teas and cooking. Spices like chili and cayenne serve to open up airways and flush excess sludge out of the body. *Drink your teas, lemon water and water in general! The intake of the right liquids aids in the removal of excess water held within the water.
Written by Brooke Halperin
Brooke teaches every Thursday at 6pm at Good Juju Lombard. Be sure to check out Brooke's classes. Book it at goodjujuyoga.com