Purify Your Body In March

 Purify Your Body  In March

By Jennifer Kelleher

It’s hard to believe that we are almost through winter. I love to watch nature’s patterns from the big windows of our beautiful yoga studio on the third floor of the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. Over the past month, brilliant sunsets during our weekly 5 p.m. Monday Pilates Class begin to remind us of longer days and warmer weather.

Springing forward on March 10 and officially moving into the spring season on March 19-20, there is much to say about the pivotal month before us. Ayurveda (India’s natural medicine system) describes that from the body’s perspective, March may as well be the hottest month of the year. After your body has built resiliency to the cold all winter long, the sudden rise in temperature can be shocking. Winter fat begins to melt into the bloodstream, thickening it and congesting the circulatory system.

As we move into March, our bodies initiate a natural process of clearing themselves out in preparation for Spring, which is why I thought, “What better Ocean Bliss Yoga studio theme for the month than Saucha (‘purity’– read on below)?”

Rising temperatures in March signal to our cells that it is time to begin a shedding process. You may notice that you are not as hungry as you were during late fall into winter and that instead of rich, oily, sweet foods, you are beginning to crave lighter, naturally green-colored foods that are rich in ‘prana’ (kinetic energy). In terms of taste, Ayurveda recommends focusing on bitter, pungent, and astringent. Enjoy salads and vegetable juices to build prana and gently cleanse your liver. Add pungent spices to your meals (in proportions that feel right for your constitution) to open your pathways and flush out winter’s excess. Including cooked brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) will also help your body in its natural cleansing process.

Saucha is the first Niyama (internal observance) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and it translates to mean “cleanliness” or “purity.” Saucha applies not only to our physical bodies, but also our environments, mental bodies, spiritual bodies, and practices (actions). Again, just like our physical systems naturally begin their clearing process at the start of spring, this time of year also often inspires us to do some ‘Spring Cleaning’ in our surrounding environments. Energy increases and we start to feel more extroverted with an organic momentum to spring forward, free of anything that might slow us down or clutter our path.

I invite you to reflect: What are some ways that you can practice Saucha this month? Notice how cleaning out one area of your life effortlessly brings clarity to your entire being.

In terms of breath work, I recommend practicing Kapalabhati (‘Breath of Fire’– join us in the studio to learn) during this time of year. This cleansing and energizing pranayama technique clears the lungs and the mind, purifies the blood and meridians, improves circulation, increases alertness and cognitive function, tones the organs, balances and strengthens the immune system, and improves immunity. Practice with caution if you: are pregnant, have high or low blood pressure, have coronary heart disease, or have problems with your eyes, ears, or nose bleeds.

For yoga postures and stretches, focus on twists. Twists are cleansing, clearing, and detoxifying. Physically, twisting helps to restore and maintain the spine’s natural range of motion by decompressing and neutralizing the vertebrae, lengthening the spine, and increasing vital energy. Twists are also great for digestion, as they “wring out” areas in and around the organs and help food to move through the digestive tract. Finally, twisting engages and balances both hemispheres of the brain. This stabilizes the mental field, resulting in greater clarity, broader perspective, and increased memory.

There are many variations of twists for all bodies and levels. Practice caution while twisting if pregnant.

We invite you to join us in the studio all March as we practice and explore Saucha through breath work, yoga postures, meditation, lifestyle, and more! Check our website at oceanblissyoga.net to register for classes and workshops. Call or text me at 917-318-1168 with any questions.

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