Chinese Knowledge of the Spring Season
Every individual’s life is intimately connected with nature. How people accommodate and adapt to the seasons and the laws of nature will determine how well they draw from the origin or spring of their lives.
Seasonally, the spring and summer are characterized by an abundance of yang.
Yin Yang is a philosophical concept of balance. The image consists of a circle divided into two teardrop-shaped halves - one white and the other black. Within each half is contained a smaller circle of the opposite colour.
The Chinese characters for Yin Yang are 陰陽 / 阴阳. The first character 陰 / 阴 (yīn) means: overcast weather; feminine; moon; cloudy; negative electrical charge; shady.
The second character 陽 / 阳 (yáng) means: positive electrical charge; sun.
But Yin Yang is much more than just a pair of opposites. It conveys the idea that each of the opposites is dependent on the other, and how they continuously transform from one into the other.
The three months of spring season bring about the revitalization of all things in nature. It is the time of birth. This is when heaven and earth are reborn. During this season it is advisable to retire early. Arise early also and go walking in order to absorb the fresh, invigorating energy. Since this is the season in which universal energy begins anew and rejuvenates, one should attempt to correspond to it directly by being open and unsuppressed, both physically and emotionally.
On the physical level it is good to exercise more frequently and wear loose-fitting clothing. This is the time to do stretching exercises to loosen up the tendons and muscles.
Emotionally, it is good to develop equanimity. This is because spring is the season of the liver, and indulgence in anger, frustration, depression, sadness, or any excess emotion can injure the liver.
Each internal organ has a mental-emotional aspect and spiritual aspect, for the liver we understand this as anger. The positive aspect of anger is assertiveness and being able to stand up for yourself whereas the negative aspect of anger is being aggressive or easily irritated. If one bury’s and does not express anger in a healthy manner, or if one is not assertive or avoids expressing anger or emotions in general, it affects the functioning of the liver. The liver deals with vision, not only to physical eyesight but foresight, forward planning and an ability to see the big picture. If one is lacking in direction or a clear focus in life, then this could potentially lead to problems relating to the spiritual aspect of the liver.
On an organ level, the liver corresponds to wood and to spring, and is coupled with the gall bladder. One should eat sweet foods to soften the liver. This includes rice, beef, dates, sunflower greens and greens.
Best Food for Spring
1. Fruits and nuts: Apples, dates, lychees, longans, walnuts, peanuts, chestnuts.
2. Cereals, grains, and legumes: Rice, corn, millet, oatmeal, sorghum, soybeans, black gram, adzuki bean, red kidney bean, broad bean.
3. Meat, poultry and fish: Hen, turkey, rabbit meat, shrimp, crucian carp, eel, chicken egg, goose egg.
4. Vegetables, seaweeds, and mushrooms: Potatoes, onions, carrots, chives, scallions, radishes, daikon, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, cooked spinach, coriander, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, eggplants, Chinese cabbage, wax gourds, yams, sweet potatoes, celery, common mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, white wood ears, black wood ears.
5. Herbs, spices, condiments, oils: Perilla leaf, peppermint, dandelion, honeysuckle flower, basil, parsley, wolfberry, fleece-flower root, liquorice, astragalus, rhubarb, ginger, pepper, honey, sesame oil
Eating in spring should follow these principles in selecting food. However, it is necessary to be flexible using the principles according to one’s body constitution, age, and disease. For example, diabetes patients should limit sweet food. And for those with a Yang excess body constitution, it is not suitable to tonify yang Qi. For example, those with skin itching problems should avoid pungent food such as scallion, garlic, onion, chili and seafood such as shrimp.
Santosh Kaur, founder of Akeso Acupuncture, graduated with a masters degree from the University of Westminster in London with a Bsc (Hons) Acupuncture and Msc (Hons) Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Santosh spends her time living between London and Ibiza where she dedicates her life to treating and practising Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Santosh is also a student of Shifu Shi Yan Zi at the Shaolin Temple UK, and in 2009, was the first female to undertake the gruelling 100 training in Shaolin 72 styles, achieving an iron leg.
Santosh is a beautiful soul who lives and breathes her studies and training. A true practitioner of the Chinese martial arts.