Spring is an inebriating, invigorating, sometimes even disturbing season with wild fluctuations of energy bursting throughout nature in the form of birth, arousal and movement. The momentum created by Spring Qi gives structure and continuing motion to the world; young trees thrusting skyward, icy rivers flooding valleys, newborns taking their first breath after violent birth, alluring petals opening to the light.
In humans, Qi rises like a slow tide coming up from its winter storage in the lower abdomen and moving into the chest where it stimulates the liver with fresh vitality. As an infusion of energy, the rising Qi carries benefits as well as the potential for problems.
During Spring, the Rising Yang Qi emerges from the lower abdomen (Lower Dan Tian) and begins a season-long ascent to the upper and outer regions of the body. As it passes into the chest (Middle Dan Tian), it encounters the liver. If this blood-rich organ retains stagnant blood and metabolic waste, which typically happens after winter’s inactivity, it will obstruct the Qi flow and result in stagnant liver Qi and blood. According to Chinese medicine, the liver controls the smooth and harmonious flow of Qi and blood. Any obstruction to this flow will cause a functional disruption in Qi and blood circulation. Stagnant liver Qi and blood, an all too common disorder, has physical symptoms of muscle pain, menstrual cramps, trembling movements, poor balance, headaches, neck pain, numbness in hands and feet, vision problems, digestive ailments and more. The mental and emotional symptoms can run through the spectrum from frustration and irritability to anger and rage.
The liver can therefore do with some extra care and attention during spring to maintain the health of your entire system throughout the rest of the year, just as the farmer, the seeds we plant in spring, we harvest in autumn, within our bodies too. Spring is an ideal time to assist your liver Qi through practice as well as a healthy balanced diet inclusive of raw organic fresh herbs and greens. In the list below you can see which foods are beneficial in spring.
During the seasonal sequences we practice and focus on three factors: body movement, mental intention, and rhythmic breathing. These three factors have shifting proportions depending on the season. Spring practice highlights expansive and robust external body movements. While doing these exercises, be attentive to how your muscles work, take notice of any soreness or restrictions and how that changes with practice, and combine breathing and moving to expel cloudy energy from the muscles and boost blood circulation. Put some effort (gong) into spring and reap the rewards of smoothly flowing Qi and blood.
Support your liver during spring with ten easy steps
- 1. Drink plenty of good clean water
- 2. Eat greens – kale, spinach, collard greens, brocolli, cavolo nero, watercress, chard, fresh green herbs
- 3. Eat sour tasting foods like lemon, apple cider vinyegar , saurkraut. Sour foods increase bile production
- 4. Avoid the toxic fats and increase good fats: include olive oil, avocados, nuts, flaxseeds and Omega 3 intake. If you eat meat, reduce your intake during spring and eat more fish that is low in mercury
- 5. Reduce your sugar intake: avoid sugar and fruit juices, most fruit juice is pasteurised, which means it is simply dead food, and packed with sugar. If you love fruit, eat them whole
- 6. Reduce your alcohol, caffeine and nicotine intake
- 7. Eat smaller meals, especially at night
- 8. Go to be early, the Liver repairs between 11pm-4am
- 9. Do mindful meditation that connects your awareness to your Liver and intentionally communicate positive loving emotions to the Liver
- 10. Move your body, spring is the time for a stronger and more dynamic practice, time to get moving!
View Wilmien ’s .