Spring Cleaning

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Spring has sprung! The days are getting brighter, the air is getting warmer, birds are starting to sing and green buds are poking out from the cold, hard, ground. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m coming out of hibernation.

My body feels more alive than it did just a week ago when it took two snooze buttons, a whiney puppy, and a cat knocking everything off my bedside table for me to finally drag my body out of bed. Now each morning I wake up (before my alarm) and my body is ready to ready to do something, anything. Take the puppy for a leisurely walk through town – yes please! Make a quiche just for the heck of it – why not? Do the dishes from the night before and then end up cleaning the whole kitchen – sounds like fun! It’s a motivation to get up and really take advantage of every day.

There’s a reason they call it spring cleaning. Something about the rebirth happening outside, make it seem natural to relook at the inside. There are corners that have been dark and ignored all winter and clothes that are wrinkled from months of being abandoned. This is the perfect time to really observe and fix up what’s happening inside before it gets too nice outside.

Now is also a great time to take a good look at your life: current habits or trends, clutter that has built up in your schedule, dust that has gathered over winter. Maybe there are things that you need to cut back on or things that you want to increase. I know I built up some habits that I should let go of. I live walking distance to the studio but often I would find a reason to drive. It was always too cold, or dark, or wet, so I would drive the mile and then feel guilty. I drink a lot more coffee in the winter, there’s something soothing about that warm coffee mug. It’s not necessarily a bad habit, but I probably don’t need it every morning, and I don’t want to need it. I also watch more TV in the winter. It’s so easy to sit on the couch, cuddle with the puppy, and watch an episode of Project Runway, and even easier to instead watch three or four episodes. Something about the winter makes my body more stationary, like it’s rebooting from the previous year, or preparing for the warm weather.

Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal, so if there’s any big life changes you’ve been meaning to start – there’s no better time! I decided now was the time to bring more yoga into my life. I don’t mean the asanas although hopefully more of that will come too, I mean the other stuff. The real yoga. I want to listen to my body and let it decide whether I should go further, take on more responsibility, or take a step back and maybe say no for a change. I want to be in this moment each day and really experience it, because tomorrow it will be gone. That means going outside now, because tomorrow it might be 30 degrees and rainy again (that’s spring in New England). I want to honor my body and nourish it so that I can go on adventures in the summer. Maybe instead of coffee every morning I’ll start with a good old glass of water, or green tea. Small steps, but like yoga, life is a practice not a performance. If I practice listening to my body every day, it will get easier.

Rebirth is hard though – just because it’s all sunshine and roses outside doesn’t mean the earth isn’t working hard beneath the scenes. Maybe now isn’t the time for you to start making big changes, maybe it’s the time to save energy for another aspect of your life. Just like in your yoga class – listen inward for guidance! If your body is waking up before the sun and itching to move than go somewhere, do something, but if you’re still feeling sluggish or tired than maybe you should take a day off, or an afternoon at least for yourself. So if you feel like this spring is causing more hardship than hope just remember that it takes work for flowers to grow. You can’t just plant the seeds and expect magic. Plants require nourishment, lots of sun and water. So give your body what it needs, what it’s asking for and maybe you’ll be surprised at what it grows.

–Gretchen

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