It is that time of the year again! With the emergence of crocuses and daffodils in the West, life renews itself from the dormancy of winter (tamas in yoga and kapha in ayurveda). The joyful colors of Spring abound everywhere as seen in this painted haveli (old-style mansion) from the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.
We are coming up to the Spring Equinox–equal day and night. It is the time of perfect balance in nature and the rhythms of our own bodies. The inner rhythmic balance is a joyful state.
With Spring we balance the inner and outer lives as we observe the projection of our inner consciousness (inner space) reflected in our daily lives (outer space). All major religious traditions celebrate with holidays at this time of the year. We are reminded to connect with the essence of who we are–spiritual beings undergoing the human experience.
It is the perfect time for several rounds of sun salutations (surya namaskar) for balance in the body and mind. Many have been able to achieve hormonal balance through the practice of sun salutations. See the blog posts on surya namaskar and Q&A: How To Practice Surya Namaskar.
Full yogic breath or diaphragm breathing is a gentle and effective way to detoxify and clean the respiratory system and flush out lungs. Bumble bee or buzzing bee breath (bhramari) is another gentle method to detoxify and increase lung/breathing capacity. Skull shining (kapalbhati) and bellows breath (bhastrika) can be helpful for seasonal allergies along with neti. They can be help strengthen the respiratory and circulatory systems and are stronger methods for lung detoxification. Balanced breath (sama vritti) and alternate nostril breath (nadi shodhan) are perfect balancing breaths. Adding the mantra so ham or aum can make the pranayama a more meditative practice.
Chaitra Navaratri is the nine-day Spring festival (March 23 to April 1, 2012), particularly important in many states in northern India. The first three days are devoted to the removal of darkness of tamas (physical and mental inertia and negative qualities) through the worship of Durga. She is the fierce goddess who resolutely destroys the negative aspects. The destruction of undesirable clutter makes space for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. She brings in the wealth that is linked with the cultivation of positive qualities–material and spiritual wealth. She depicts rajas (activity and movement). Lakshmi is worshiped for the next three days. This prepares the aspirant for the next stage which is the light of wisdom. Wisdom is personified by the goddess Saraswati. She is worshiped for the next three days. At this stage in meditation, divine sounds such as the lute are heard in the inner space. Aum is experienced within. Saraswati is sattwa (absolute purity).