Spring forth!

How to embrace the Spring Equinox

It has been a particularly challenging winter this year and no doubt many of us have been looking forward to spring for quite some time. Spring is traditionally a time of new life and hope, when trees begin to grow their leaves again, animals come out of hibernation and flowers bloom once more. This year, the Spring Equinox takes place on Saturday 20 March. At this time of new beginnings, why not embrace the changes and welcome the new season with some healthy new habits?

Spend time in nature

“Spending as much time as you can in nature is the perfect way to stay in balance on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – throughout the year and it is especially beneficial in spring.” This is the advice of Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a neurophysiologist, sleep expert and author of The Little Book of Sleep: The Art of Natural Sleep (www.drnerinawebinars.com). She adds: “I have a dog so it helps as I have to get out regardless of the weather. I make a point of going out without my phone so this is precious, uninterrupted time with my dog, nature, the trees and whatever the weather is going to throw at me. Being tech-free means you can be more present with everything around you. As we go into the Spring Equinox we can start to pay more attention to the changes happening and welcome the new season: the first buds, leaves and green shoots appearing, the longer days, the changes in temperature.

Be present with it all and notice how this mirrors our own internal shifts in energy, mood and rhythms as the days become longer.”

Use your time creatively

“How do we balance body, mind and spirit?” asks Serge Beddington-Behrens, author of Gateways to the Soul (sergebeddingtonbehrens.com). “It’s not a rational thing. If we listen carefully to our inner self, it will tell us what we need at any time, which is why meditation is so vitally important, as is doing some kind of exercise that we resonate with. We need to give ourselves what makes our heart sing at any time. Is it reading a great novel, doing a Skype with a dear buddy, listening to rockabilly, gentle flute music or Beethoven, or maybe learning a new language? Everything has something to offer us at different times and we need to avoid getting caught in a rut. If our work has temporarily shut down or dried up, we need to use the time on our hands creatively – maybe do a bit of reinventing of ourselves. We also need to avoid too much telly and getting too hung up in the huge dramas out in the world. In every cyclone, there remains a still place in its very centre. Can we learn to discover that place within ourselves?”

Set intentions for new beginnings

“We all think of the new calendar year as the time to make resolutions,” says therapist Ceryn Rowntree (www.divinefeminist.com). “But when the weather is cold and dark our energy levels are often nowhere near the place of new beginnings! Instead, take your cues from the natural world and set intentions for new beginnings just as nature begins to bloom in to life. You can do this in whatever way works for you, but one of the simplest is to take some time early in the morning of the Spring Equinox with your journal and a cup of your favourite tea. Give yourself some space to really consider what you want to do and who you want to be over the year ahead, and then allow yourself to set intentions and begin to make plans from there.

“Spring is a particularly good time to set intentions around our physical selves – whether that be moving more or in different ways, taking care of our skin or finally listening to those aches and pains and giving our physical selves what they need. As we reach spring and head into summer we feel a natural pull to be more active, so let yourself lean in to that and make even just one commitment to take care of your physical body in a way that feels good to you!”

Grow your relationships with others

“If you can grow a literal garden or plants in your home then that is a tried and tested activity to boost wellbeing all round,” says Kirsty Lucinda Allan, an alternative psychologist and author of Ironic Fundamentalism (www.kirstylucindaallan.com). “Absolutely do this if you can. However, I’m taking about something more. Growing your relationships with others can yield a blooming effect of opportunity. This is because everyone is in the same situation and looking for support, warmth, nutrition and light. Reach out to those you know nourish you (not the ones you know deplete you) because when you talk and share and listen and care, a beautiful thing happens – everybody grows together. New ideas, new pathways, old ideas with new angles, old pathways with new feet upon them … When minds and hearts come together, there is new space created for everyone. Be prepared to rest, walk and play in the avant-garden where new fruit grows in abundance.”

Practise some sun salutations

“As the Northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun, light and warmth welcome us out of hibernation habits,” says Gem Hansen, a yoga teacher based on the Isles of Scilly, who teaches yoga and holds retreats on the island of Tresco (www.tresco.co.uk). “The magic after dawn of sparkling dew, spiders’ webs intact and new blooms around every corner sets an emotional tone of promise for the day ahead. Whatever activity takes you outside – gardening or barefoot wandering – you are absorbing earth chi which is grounding, stable and peaceful. Gentle yoga outside would be a wonderful choice. I will be practising sun salutations facing east at dawn and west at sunset to mark the Spring Equinox.”

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