The Chinese Calendar traditionally divides the whole year into 24 Solstice sections. This divides up the yearly seasons into twenty-four finer periods. It makes it easier to distinguish the different makeups of our yearly cycle. The twenty-four solstice differentials are made of twelve that mark the change of energy, and twelve that mark the peak height of that energy. This is where the 24 solstice windows for maintenance in Traditional Chinese Medicine comes from.
The first solstice differential of every year is termed “Spring Established 立春”, and marks the day when the energy shifts from cooling to warming. This day usually falls on Feb. 3rd-5th. Approximately 45 days after Winter Solstice. It is when the yearly Yang energy starts to sprout and grow, and hence I term it “Spring Established”. From this day forward we are officially in Spring. It will become evident that the days are becoming longer and the weather will be getting warmer.
Do: Comb or brush your hair more with something made out of natural material.
Do: Strengthen Yang Energy
Do: Clear Heat, Remove Toxins
Do Not: Expose yourself to wind
Do Not: Eat Spicy foods
The temperatures in Spring will gradually increase, but the chill of Winter has not dissipated completely. Temperature fluctuations and drops can still occur. The inner chi of the body is slowly surfacing and spreading. The pores of the skin shift from a state of tightly closed to being relaxed and slowly opening. Should you expose your pores to the wind, or get chilled during this phase, the reflex of the pores will cause it to shut closed and disrupt the surfacing of the internal yang energy, causing stagnation and blockage of the energy. Signs of this kind of disruption includes: dry throat, chapped lips, dry stools, loss of appetite and more.
Methods of assisting the rise and spread of yang energy at home are intake and use of onions, leeks, shallots and garlic in your cooking. Ingesting more sprouts and shoots is also advisable.
Leeks have different properties during the different seasons: Aromatic during Spring, Spicy during Summer, Bitter during Fall, Sweet during Winter. The aromatic properties has a soothing effect on the liver and helps it to function making the liver happy. Leeks are considered Yang Tonifying and helps to strengthen the liver yang.
Leeks and onions can be mixed with eggs to create a fragrant omelet. Due to the Yang nature of onions and leeks, they can be used to help regulate the pores to sweat. Folks with excessive Yang, indegestion or diarrhea should avoid leeks. Note: Yin deficient type heat or folks with eye or intestinal issues should avoid leeks as it might exacerbate the problems.
Green is the color belonging to the liver. Green colored vegetables, like spinach, are good during this time. It can nourish the yin and moisten the dry, but also sooth the liver and nourish the blood. Sour flavors enter the liver, thus throwing the liver into over function and agitating the spleen and stomach. Limiting foods and flavors that are sour is highly recommended during Spring. As always, staying away from fried foods, cold foods and spicy foods during this time should be remembered. Eating too much fried foods early in life can cause high blood pressure later on. This is due to the effect on the liver energies.
Spring means Yang growth and that also means moving more. Outdoor exercise is especially encouraged. Breath the fresh Spring air and inhale the Spring Sunshine. Fuse the life energy from the Sun into each organ and cell. Increase your youth and health. Circulate your blood. Exhale the stale inner breath.
Do: move and exercise.
Do: Chigong, Yoga.
Do: perspire so that you are slightly moist.
Do not: Over-exercise
Do not: perspire to be dripping or soaking in sweat
Sweat is the fluid of the heart. Too much sweating can weaken the heart, can cause yin deficient heat, and can disrupt the closing ability of the pores, can cause one to catch colds easily, can affect health.
Balance is the key! We want to assist the liver in Spring. We want to grow the Yang. We want to circulate and move the blood. We want to spread the Yang energy. But, we can only achieve better health if you understand balance and know control.