Awaken to Spring
1 DRAW STRENGTH FROM THE DAWN.
“Wake up early and take a few minutes to listen to your breath and watch the darkness fade,” suggests herbalist Mike Neller. Once the sun rises, try this energizing, yogainspired move from psychiatrist Dorothea Hover-Kramer, Ed.D., author of Second Chance at Your Dream (Energy Psychology Press, 2008):
YOGA MOVE: Stand facing the sun, inhale, and slowly lift your hands above your head. Let your chest expand. “Do this several times with the intention of drawing energy up from the earth,” says Hover-Kramer. A four-month study at the University of Illinois found that yoga helped women improve their moods and energy levels.
2 EAT SOUR FOODS TO REJUVENATE.
Traditional Chinese Medicine says spring corresponds to the wood element, and wood, in turn, is related to the liver. Sour foods are thought to stimulate the liver’s energy.
BREAKFAST: Spritz lemon in your water or eat a grapefruit.
LUNCH: Top your salad with an oil-and-vinegar dressing or garnish a sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.
DINNER: Make a marinade using plum wine vinegar (umeboshi). “In Chinese medicine, plum is the fruit of spring, so umeboshi is especially rejuvenating,” says Diane Joswick, L.Ac., a licensed acupuncturist.
3 DETOX WITH QIGONG.
This ancient Chinese practice encourages slow, deep breathing and proper posture, which helps improve your energy flow. “It also helps your body flush toxins and promotes a healthy metabolism,” says Ted J. Cibik, Ph.D., N.D., a naturopath in Leechburg, Pa.
PRACTICE TIME: You need just 15 minutes a day for this practice; exercising in the morning will fire up your energy, Cibik says. “Qigong was originally developed to promote circulation after a long, cold winter,” he explains.
4 SCRUB AWAY WINTER SKIN.
The Bindi Herbal Body Treatment at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper, N.Y., uses herbs like cardamom to purify the skin, plus sesame oil and coconut milk to soothe irritation and dryness. Susan Keene, who developed the treatment based on Ayurvedic principles, says you can get the same exfoliating effect at home by making a salt scrub.
SALT SCRUB RECIPE: Combine one cup of table salt, one-eighth to one-fourth cup of olive oil, and six drops of your favorite essential oil. For rough heels and elbows, use kosher salt instead of table salt.