Nothing compares to the rush of new energy we feel when nature awakens all around us in spring. With the sun progressively warming the earth with its rays and the extra daylight hours permitting to stay outside for longer, our spirits are revived and inspired as we tap into the intrinsic energy of the year’s most colorful season. Spring is associated with fertility, growth and new life, and you don’t have to be extremely sensitive to feel the stimulating and rejuvenating vibes of this beautiful season. And springtime offers plenty of options for mindful activities – here are my top 5 rituals to try this year!
1. Take your practice outside
While the perfect yoga space can be anywhere you roll out your mat, taking your practice outside has an especially fulfilling quality. With no studio walls as physical boundaries you may notice that flowing through your favorite yoga sequence feels much more free, open and natural. Sensory stimuli – like the gentle breeze that sweeps your face, the scent of freshly blossoming buds, or the feeling of your bare feet on the grass – add a wonderful holistic quality to your practice and create an intrinsic connection to nature.
So find yourself a feel-good place outside and roll out your mat to enjoy the stimulating effect of flowing in the midst of nature. Connect with the abundant energies all around you and utilize them to fuel your practice and enhance your awareness. Notice all the little differences that come along with practicing outside compared to a polished studio floor: the playful effect of moving on an uneven ground, the stimulation of your circulation by the warm sunshine, the joy of fresh air filling your lungs, and the invigorating feeling of letting Mother Nature guide your movements. My favorite part of my spring practice is meditating with my eyes open so I can watch nature’s magic happening all around me. And of course feeling the earth pulsating underneath me in Savasana while I watch white clouds glide across the clear-blue sky! Pure bliss!
2. Get to know nature
Whenever my little niece comes visiting and we go for a walk in nature, I carry my little plant identification book along so I can answer her questions about the names of all the flowers we come across. She has so much fun getting to know all the plants that grow throughout the year and learn what they are useful for, and it’s amazing how many of them she can remember.What about you? Do you know the names of all the early bloomers that dot the ground in spring? No? Then take the opportunity to go for a botanical exploration tour and see what treasures you can find.
Spring time is the perfect season for expeditions like this. Nature bursts with new life, and every square inch of ground sprouts with countless little blossoms in all colors. You can easily fill an entire day rambling through fields and forests, looking for different species and trying to find out what they are. You will be surprised how many different plant species there are. Many of them are even edible or have palatable blossoms which you can put into your salad or on your favorite bread spread. If you want to you can even collect samples of your favorite blossoms and leaves to press and dry them between the pages of a fat book and create your own plant journal with them – a wilderness explorer game that is fun for kids and adults alike!
3. Spring clean
Cleaning the house in spring is a well-known tradition for many people. Some like to clear out their closet and sort out cast-off clothes, shoes or books, others give their entire home a makeover. It can be really liberating to let go of things that have served their purpose and make room for fresh vibes. You you don’t have to turn your whole house upside down and get rid of each and every dispensable item. Take it slow and start with just one room or even just a corner that could use some purification and refreshing. Even a small change works wonders!
But spring cleaning doesn’t have to involve mopping, dusting and polishing. You can just as well use the vibes of growth and renewal to perform some inner de-cluttering. If you want to say good-bye to a bad habit, shed some emotional baggage or let go of energy-draining influences, now’s the perfect time for it.
A wonderful little ritual that supports emotional spring cleaning is a combination of journaling and intention-setting. Take your time to become clear about what you no longer want or need in your life and what you would like to invite into it instead. Personally I like to “conclude” my diary every year in spring. I take time to reflect and write down a recap of everything I’ve learned plus a list of things I want to let go of. And then I close this chapter symbolically and start over by beginning a new journal, starting with a written intention for the year to come.
4. Aroma therapy
The air in springtime is full of fragrant scents from freshly awoken nature. Even the smallest blossoms exude delightful smells and flavor the air with their aromas. The olfactory sense is not only our most sensitive sense (research has found that the human nose can detect approximately a trillion different smells), it is also the one that’s most strongly linked to emotional perception. Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most primal part of the brain, often called “the seat of emotion”.
It is well known how healing and energizing a deep breath of fresh air can be – but have you ever taken the time to notice what’s in that breath? Delight in the aromas and scents of spring. Let the aromas of blossoming flowers, grass and trees inspire and energize your senses and watch how they act on your body and mind. The earthy smell of forest ground may be calming and grounding for you, freshly mown grass may be uplifting and motivating. Notice how every olfactory stimulus makes you feel, what thoughts and mindset it inspires and what memories and associations it evokes.
5. Conscious listening
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” is one of my favorite quotes, and one that couldn’t be more fitting when it comes to practicing mindful awareness. Conscious listening is a technique that a meditation teacher once taught me during a retreat. Focusing on sensations and impressions that happen around us as we meditate is one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring the awareness to the here and now. It anchors the attention in the present moment and creates relaxed yet receptive awareness.
Find yourself a place outside where you can sit comfortably and are largely undisturbed by passers-by. Close your eyes and shift your senses to hearing all the sounds around you. Try to identify every single one of them: the different bird songs, rustling leaves, or humming insects. Shift your perception between close and distant noises, between loud ones and such that are barely audible. Take it all in and tune in to nature’s music. Concentrate only on what you hear, and enjoy how this technique helps your mind to stay in the here and now, clears your head from overthinking and prevents your thoughts from wandering.
Give these mindfulness exercises a try this spring and let me know if you’ve enjoyed them! 🙂