Spring is upon us. The time of year of new beginnings. Fresh starts and clean states. Spring cleaning. A time when we align ourselves with nature in an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality.
In the natural world, not constrained by calendars and other social norms, spring is when life begins. Animals come out of hibernation, babies are born and shoots push through. The weather begins to warm, the days get longer. The world is fresh and anew.
I feel that many of us too feel the natural pull to energise ourselves. We can put away our sleepy winter selves and emerge ready to move, to progress. One beautiful way to engage this energy is to get out in it. Go outside, be in nature. Feel the breeze on your skin and if possible, the sun on your face. For me, this really inspires me to move, to put my all into whatever projects I have going.
A few weeks ago, on the spring equinox, I completed 108 sun salutations. I did them one after the other with just short resting breaks every few flows. The tradition of completing 108 sun salutations on the spring equinox is considered cleansing. It is a clearing away of old, stuck energy and making way for the fresh and the new. As I did each flow, and took each breath, I tried to focus on inhaling prana and exhaling apana. That is inhaling energy and exhaling waste. One of the aims of this tradition is to help you let go of what is no longer serving you to make space for other energy in your life.
I definitely felt a burning up of certain stories I hold about myself. I had the realisation that I a, worth trying for. I have written before about my struggle against lethargy. It’s not lethargy because I want to be lazy but rather a security blanket. If I don’t try I can’t fail. This is something I’ve thought about myself for as long as I can remember. Over the past few years, through my yoga practice I have started to overcome this belief that I’m not good enough to try for. I have moments that feel like epiphanies of realisation and each one breaks down my story a little bit more.
The 108 sun salutations was hard. Really hard. After about 30 rounds I felt like I couldn’t go on. But I did, and when I got to 54 I felt so elated, I knew I could finish. There were moments again I felt like I had to stop, but I didn’t and once I’d regained my strength after the 108th I felt like I could do anything. I realised that I do have willpower, I can see things through. If I can do it on my mat I can do it elsewhere. I can surrender to myself rather than my ego. I have the ability to work hard, to maintain, and I am worth every effort.
It is a lesson I learn repeatedly and completing this practice was another moment that it became clear. This realisation helped me understand (again) what is important to me, what I want to spend my time on. I feel more focused than before, I have more clarity and am more productive with my time.
Both the tradition of completing 108 sun salutations on the spring equinox and spring itself are symbols of renewal and rejuvenation. Spring is time for us to move into our potential, to feel the abundant energy of the season and use it to grow ourselves.
Spring invites us to reconnect to earth, to be energised by the Earth’s unfolding energy. In my yoga practice (when I’m not doing 108 sun salutations…) I like to include lots of strong grounding standing poses, like the warrior poses and goddess pose. These help me to feel my strength in relation to Earth, to ground and steady myself in this new uplifting energy. I also like to do lots of heart opening poses, opening myself to the energy of this time of year. Wheel pose and camel pose are two of my favourite because I always feel so whole and connected to myself in these asanas. Adding backbends into standing poses like lunges is also elevating and helps to enliven my practice.
Of course spring is not only time for refreshing our yoga practice. We can take these feelings and moments and realisations we have on the mat out into the rest of our lives. For me, considering and resetting my intentions and goals happens quite naturally now too. I positively want to look at where I am and where I’m going. I use this time to check in with myself sure I’m living the way I want to.
Do you have any spring time rituals? What energy do you feel around this time of year? Are you starting anew? Energising? Giving yourself time to relax and take in where you are in this moment? What does your yoga practice feel like now? What lessons does your practice teach you? Is there something that comes back to you again and again, a little bit clearer each time?