What’s there not to love about the onset of Spring? The time of the year when everything slowly emerges from hibernation; we crawl tentatively out from underneath our winter blankets, peel off the accumulated layers of clothing and start to venture out into a world basked in golden hues and colourful blooms. There is a tangible feeling of renewal and action in Spring which makes it the perfect time of the year to start on new projects, cleanse (both our surroundings and ourselves!), and make use of the abundance of energy that comes with this new season. Spring is a time to set new intentions, to step out of the darkness and into the light, to emerge with fresh enthusiasm ready for the lighter, longer days that stretch ahead.
Are you feeling inspired already?!
I’ve collected some DIY projects for you to embrace this season that will wake up your digestion, activate your green thumb, get your skin glowing and balance your sleep patterns. Our internal and external environments benefit greatly from a simple ‘Spring cleanse.’ You may find with the new-found energy Spring offers, that your yoga practice changes also. While we may eye our mat with good intentions from the warmth of our bed throughout winter, Spring is the ideal time to move into more energizing flows, detoxifying pranayama and active meditations.
One thing’s for sure- its time to shake things up, try something new and embrace the wonders of nature during these abundant months.
IN THE KITCHEN:
The foods that dominate winter months; soups and curries, or toast and porridge take a back seat with the arrival of Spring. The new season brings a variety of fresh produce and inspiration as we shift gears towards lighter foods, alkalizing salads and cleansing juices. One simple way to introduce raw, enzyme-rich foods into your diet is to start sprouting. Sprouting is the process by which nuts, greens, legumes and grains are turned from a dormant seed into a living plant or shoot. Sprouting dramatically increases the protein, fiber and vitamin content as well as the number of enzymes, making all these nutrients more easily digested. Sprouts can be added to any of your Spring salads, they are great on top of gluten free toast with avocado and dukkha, or if you’re game, perfect to throw into your smoothies or snack on as they are!
What You’ll Need:
- Clean glass jars
- Mesh or cheesecloth
- Rubber bands
- Fresh Water (filtered where possible)
- Seeds and beans to sprout (organic where possible)
Ideal options are: mung beans,lentils, adzuki beans, radish, mustard, alfalfa, chickpeas etc. You can find these at local health food shops, bulk food stores or organic grocery stores.
Wash and rinse your jars thoroughly. Then rinse your beans/seeds thoroughly.
Fill your jar ⅓ of the way with your seeds or beans and then fill the rest of the jar with water.
Secure the cheesecloth or mesh to the top of the jar with a rubber band so it covers the mouth of the jar.
Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Drain your sprouts through the mesh. Fill the jar with fresh water and rinse before draining again.
Place the jar in a cool dry place on an angle so air can circulate.
For 2-3 days, simply repeat this process of rinsing and draining and soon your sprouts will be ready. You can tell when they begin to grow a short ‘tail’ from the seed. The longer you leave them to sprout, the longer these ‘tails’ will grow. Once they begin to sprout, you can transfer them to the fridge and seal the jar with a lid and consume within 3-4 days.
IN THE GARDEN:
For thousands of years, flowers have been used in cooking by cultures the world over. Recently, edible flowers have enjoyed a comeback on the food scene, possibly due to their ‘Instagram-worthy’ appeal. Spring is the perfect time to start planting your own edible flowers and the great news is, they don’t require all that much space and they will bring colour and vibrancy to both your garden and meals.
Simply grow your edible flowers as you would normal ornamental flowers but avoid all chemicals and avoid animal manure 4 months prior to harvesting. Instead, manually pick off pests and promote beneficial insects by growing a diversity of flowers. The flowers need little garden space and can be grown in containers on your balcony. Water gently every day or two and they are ready to pick when they are fully open. All flowers are a little different- some are fully edible, others just the leaves are edible, so check before you start munching! Make sure you wash thoroughly (and gently!) before eating.
Keep the flowers in a sealed container in the fridge and treat with care! Add to fresh salads, rice paper rolls, cakes, desserts, dressings, ice cubes and as a garnish for meals.
Popular varieties to enjoy include:
- Native violets
*Eat flowers only when you are positive that they are edible.
Some flowers look VERY similar so be sure before consuming.
IN THE YOGA ROOM:
Unless you’re a Bikram devotee, it’s possible that your yoga mat remained a sweat-free zine over the cooler months of winter. With the coming of warming weather and more detoxifying asana flows, you may find your yoga mat glistening at the end of your class; a tribute to all those long side-angle holds or repeated sun salutations. Either way, it is important to remember to clean your yoga mat from time to time. It is often a habit we rarely attend to yet for our own health and the noses of our fellow yogis, a simple DIY cleaner will go a long way. The best part, it can be customized with your favourite essential oils which not only keep you may squeaky clean but also smell divine and have positive, uplifting properties that can positively affect your practice.
Here is what you will need:
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
Find or buy an empty spray bottle and clean well.
Fill your bottle about ¾ full with water, then pour in the vinegar almost to the top of the bottle.
Add in the essential oils and give the bottle a good shake.
Give your mat a few sprays after each use and wipe down with a clean cloth.
*Feel free to mix up your oils. The tea tree is great for sterilizing, but other lovely oils include lemon, orange, peppermint, frankincense, or cinnamon. Try and ensure your oils are natural.
IN THE BEDROOM:
Obviously, spending time in nature has numerous health benefits – physically, mentally and emotionally. So it makes sense that bringing a little of Mother Nature indoors is also good for us. Having plants indoors and in our bedroom can result in better air quality, reduced stress, less anxiety, headache relief, boosted mood, illness prevention, improved brain function and improved sleep. The quality of our air can greatly affect our overall health and wellness. Mould and other airborne contaminants can be a major underlying factor in illness and disease. By adding more indoor plants to your home, you will not only gain purer air but may also find that your health, attitude and energy levels begin to improve.
Spring is a perfect time to exercise your green thumb and make your home a little more jungle-friendly! These five plants can help contribute to a better vibe and atmosphere in your home and produce a calming and cleansing effect on the environment.
Aloe Vera Plant: increases oxygen supply, assists with insomnia, easy to keep alive and reproduce.
Lavender Plant- reduces anxiety and stress, slows the heart rate, improves sleep and has an overall calming effect.
Jasmine Plant: helps to improve the quality of sleep as well as alertness and productivity, reduces anxiety and stress.
English Ivy Plant: named the best air-purifying plant, beneficial to those who suffer from asthma or breathing problems, significantly improves the quality of sleep.
Snake Plant: improves air quality, helps to avoid eye irritation, respiratory symptoms, headaches and may also improve productivity levels.
Spider Plant: Has shown to remove around 90% of the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air. It will also absorb odours and fumes as well as sustaining oxygen levels in the room, promoting better sleep.
Peace Lily: helps to filter out harmful benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins in the air. The flowers can also boost a room’s humidity levels which suppresses airborne microbes and helps to relieve allergies.
IN THE BATHROOM:
Does dry, brittle, dull, cracked skin throughout the months of winter sound familiar? Luckily, the arrival of Spring welcomes brighter, healthier skin and as we peel off the layers and climb out from hibernation, our skin rejoices! Along with enjoying plenty of fresh alkalizing foods and hydration in the form of good old H2O, we can also awaken our skin with a little extra topical nourishment. DIY skincare is actually much easier than you think.
Mother nature provides us with an abundance of natural ingredients that promote moisture, and are filled with healthy fats, antioxidant properties and cleansing ingredients that our skin, cells and pores positively love.
Our skin is the body’s largest organ and studies have found that our skin absorbs at the very minimum 60-70 percent of what we put onto it. The skin on our face is more porous and will absorb even more and when it comes to our underarms the absorption rate is up to 100 percent. Try this simple face mask at home and make natural skincare a project that you embrace this Spring and beyond.
- 1 tsp matcha tea powder
- ½ a large ripe avocado
- 1 small banana
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Scoop the avocado into a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.
Either blend with an immersion blender until smooth or mash when with a fork. Apply to a clean face avoiding your eyes.
Leave the mask on for around 10 minutes and then wash off with warm water.