I don’t know about you… but Spring is one of my favorite times of year.
Today, March 20th, is the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. This day marks the beginning of longer days and brighter colors. A new cycle of life begins to emerge, and we say goodbye (hopefully!) to the snow falls of Winter and say hello the the awakening energy of Spring.
So… what does Equinox really mean anyway? Derived from the Latin word, Equinox essentially means “equal night.” As on this day, the night and day are exactly the same length -twelve hours- all over the world.
This time of year is all about rebirth, cleansing, equilibrium and welcoming new beginnings. A time in which we can tap into the power of ritual, to greet the new season with intention and grace.
There are traditions and rituals all over the world, in all different cultures, that are used to celebrate the coming of Spring. If you are excited for Spring and its new beginning of life- here are a few rituals you can consider, no matter what your intention may be for the upcoming season.
1.) Sun Salutations and/or Mala Bead Meditation
Sun Salutations have always been a traditional way to welcome in the change of seasons. Usually 108 salutations (which is a LOT, even for those who practice Asana regularly) due to the sacred number of 108. In due time, this could come- but for now, practice salutations at your own pace.
Ask yourself… what number seems to come to you first? Would you like to connect this number to something that means something special for you?
If you would like to include the sacredness of 108, I encourage you to do a Mala bead meditation. Mala beads are sacred necklaces that usually have 108 beads, often used in meditation. As you roll your fingers over each bead, repeat a mantra after each inhale. On the exhale, move to the next bead and repeat, continuing until you reach the end.
2.) Practice Lions Breath + Apan Mudra
A huge part of Spring time is cleansing. Taking the energy of winter and cleansing what is no longer needed for the new season. Lions breath is my FAVORITE pranayama… It feels so freeing, to be able to just release in such a physical way. The Apan mudra or Energy mudra, is connected to the energy of the liver and the gallbladder. Also containing a balancing effect on the mind, this mudra is about connecting with a sense of equilibrium within. Cleansing + balancing… the perfect combo for Spring-time.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to practice this pranayama + mudra:
- Come to a comfortable seated position. If you find yourself hunching over, I invite you to sit up against a wall to keep your torso open + lifted.
- Begin connecting with your breath. Fill up your low belly to its fullest potential and on the exhale, release through the mouth. Imagine that you are trying to fog up a window, and simultaneously stick your tongue out.
- Find a fluidity between breath and body that feels natural and rhythmic for you, and continue exhaling through the mouth sticking the tongue out, feeling the breath hitting the back of the throat. Imagine you are releasing all that no longer serves you, cleansing with every breath.
- Continue practicing the lions breath as you rest your hands wherever feels natural for you, palms face up. With both hands, bring your middle and ring finger to connect with the thumb, extending the index and pinky finger out to come to Apan mudra.
- Feel the energy balancing within, as you breathe in all that sustains you and breathe our all that depletes you. Cleansing and balancing with every breath.
3.) Cleanse your space
Spring cleaning is a REAL thing. Take the time to de-clutter, let go of what no longer serves a purpose in your life (purge, purge, purge!), do a cleansing ritual with herbs of your choice (i.e sage) and invite in the new blessings you hope for as you enter the new season.
Example cleansing ritual:
- Light candles, put on some healing ceremony music.
- Use a mantra or affirmation that resonates with you in your cleansing ritual to chant while you burn the herbs/sage throughout your space and yourself.
- Move freely, and express whatever you feel throughout the ritual.
- End in gratitude, thanks, and devotion.
4.) Get colorful!
Brighten up your environment. Re-decorate with flowers, bring out the colorful clothing and put away the heavy winter stuff. In India, the coming of Spring is celebrated with Holi, the festival of colors… or the festival of love. Traditionally an ancient Hindu festival, participants toss brightly-colored powders at friends and strangers alike. Dancing and playing in the streets… Sounds like my kind of celebration! Though it does not land directly on the Equinox, this is an ancient tradition of celebrating Spring that is still practiced today. Be colorful my friends!
5.) Plant seeds, literally + figuratively
Plant the seeds of intention into your life, welcoming equilibrium. Write a journal entry or meditate about the intention.
Are there some things in your life that you feel are out of balance? Are you constantly going from the light, to the dark? Yin and yang? The Equinox is about discovering the duality between the two forces. See if you can base your intentions around this idea of connecting with balance.
Also, literally plant the seeds of flowers, plants, + herbs! Welcome in the Spring time with a new cycle of life, right before your eyes.
6.) Get Outside!
Plan a picnic with a loved one, go on a walk, sit outside and read or write, practice yoga outside. Spend time appreciating the life blooming around you, smell the freshness lingering in the air and if you can, put your bare feet in the grass. I don’t know that there is anything that feels better than the sun shining on your skin with your bare feet on the Earth.
Happy first day of Spring, my friends!
As always, with endless amounts of gratitude~