The Shala London

Springtime practices

Springtime – an expansive, strong yang time of year, where we can begin to experience a significant, energetic shift.

|    Wellness, Yoga

By Mimi Kuo-Deemer

Ahhh, springtime. This is an expansive, strong yang time of year, where we can begin to experience a significant, energetic shift. After the quiet, cold winter months, everything is starting to transform and expand: trees are budding, flowers are blooming, the days are growing longer and (a bit) warmer. Soon, Nature will reveal a magnificent showcase of bright green leaves and colorful flowers. The potent energy of spring can be a relief for many who see winter as one long shivering event, but it can also conjure a sense of unsettling change. If we’re unprepared for it, the outburst of energy can knock us off balance and be a shock to the spirit. In fact, in many countries, depression and suicide rates peak in the spring and early summer:  for some, the introspective, quiet energy of winter is a safe haven, and the outwardly exposed spring and summer a source of greater anxiety and fear.

Whether you’re excited for spring, or not quite ready to leave the inner calm and quiet of winter, treat this time of year with curiosity. During any period of transition, it’s helpful to approach the changes that happen with patience and gentle encouragement. Invite the layers of warm clothing to slowly come off. Pace your days with deep breath. Do more yoga to steady your spirit. Stay warm and cozy under the thick layers of your comforter, and, most importantly, treat yourself with kindness and respect.

In a special Shala workshop on Saturday, April 25, I’ll be sharing ways that yoga and qigong can help us navigate the rising yang energy of spring in productive ways. You’ll learn some qigong practises to bring greater vitality and health to the organs associated with spring in Chinese medicine – the liver and gall bladder – as well as a few deer-inspired exercises (Daoists practitioners throughout the centuries have associate the deer with spring, fertility, and spirit).  These qigong exercises will be integrated into a fluid vinyasa flow focusing on prana and apana (rising and rooting energy), constructive alignment, reasonable flexibility, and satisfying integration and strength in our tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.  

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