Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Is In The Air……….

Ayurveda is the science of life and wisdom of daily living, and promotes health and longevity by living in harmony with nature’s laws.

By understanding the relationship between us and our environment, including the changes that dissolve and create all of life, and drive things in and out of balance, and living accordingly, we can better prepare for nature’s transitions, prevent disease, and cultivate a life of grace and ease for ourselves and those around us.

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the sun and the length of daylight increases as it moves towards the time of the spring equinox

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the sun. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equal in length, or the date when days and nights are the same length and everywhere the sun rises and sets due east and west. At the time of the spring equinox, with its increasing daylight, there are warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.

The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name. Snow, if a normal part of winter, begins to melt, and streams swell with runoff. Frosts, if a normal part of winter, become less severe. Temperate climates have no snow and rare frosts, the air and ground temperature increase more rapidly, though still cool compared to the upcoming summer. Many flowering plants bloom this time of year, continuing into early summer. Spring brings an increase of water and earth elements, which contain the qualities of heavy, slow, cool, oily, slimy, dense, soft and static, which provide stability, energy, lubrication, forgiveness, greed, attachment, accumulation and possessiveness.

With Ayurveda’s understanding that “elements of like qualities increase the like qualities”, during the spring season, with its heavy, dense and accumulative nature, it is a good time for cleansing and detoxification programs like panchakarma, and yoga practices and foods that focus on energizing, and purifying our mind and body.

Foods that are light, dry, and heating in nature, cooked with pungent spices counter the heavy, cool and moist qualities of the season. Adding more physical activity, and bhramana or expanding and warming yoga, like back bends, standing poses, and posture variations that raise the arms over head, along with pranayama like bastrika and right nostril breathing,  also help to stimulate the sluggish, heavy and cool nature of the season.

Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, rejuvenation, and rebirth.  The term is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times and a “spring board” for you to reset your internal clock, renew your commitment to live a life of balance, and rejoice in the gift of life you have been given.

Spring Time Recipe:

Spinach and Dahl Subji
(pictured left in the bowl along with basmati rice, cilantro chutney and ginger tea)
(Yellow mung dahl are small yellow lentils that are used due to their ease of digestion compared to other lentils and beans)

½ cup split yellow mung dahl
6 cups spinach washed and chopped
2 cups water
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed or ½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon mustard seed (omit for pitta dosha, substitute coriander)
1 pinch of hing (asefoitida)
1 small green chili or ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional-omit for pitta constitution or substitute ginger)
1 pinch of salt (rock salt or mineral salt)

Wash and soak the dahl a few hours or overnight. Strain, rinse, and put in a pot with water and bring to a boil, skimming off the foam as it develops. When the foam stops, add the spinach.
Cook, uncovered until tender and a creamy mixture, about 30 minutes, stirring often.
In another pan, heat the oil, add the cumin, mustard, hing, chili or cayenne, if using, and cook until the seeds pop. Pour this mixture into the dahl and spinach, add salt to taste, stir in and bring to a boil, then turn off the flame.

*For Vata, serve this with Basmati Rice cooked in ghee with hing, for Pitta omit the hing and add chopped ciltantro, and for Kapha with millet or quinoa cooked with hing and a few cloves.

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