For us in the Northern Hemisphere, May Day signals the half-way point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. In the Northwest U.S. the weather is vacillating between warm-hot days and cooler, cloudy nights. Now is a good time to shift your routine to support your adaptation to the longer, warmer days.

DIET: Make it a little lighter overall ( enjoy heavy foods like nuts, dairy, wheat and meat less often, and in less quantity). Add fresh salads, ideally at room temperature at your mid-day meal, when your digestion is stronger. and with a dressing of cold-pressed olive oil, lemon and fresh pressed garlic, black pepper and salt to taste. Enjoy local organic berries as they become available, and eat more bitter greens (artichokes, kale, collards, mustard) to support your liver. Bitter herbs like turmeric, burdock and those found in teas such as yogi tea detox are also good now. A happy liver means clearer skin, less heat in the body and more emotional balance.

ASANA: Twists, prone back-bends, abdominal work like agni sara and nauli with attention to clearing the eyes will help release stagnation, keep you cool and support your digestion.

MEDITATION: 5 – 15 minutes first thing before email. Set a timer. Prepare by relaxing your entire body from head to toe and practicing some abdominal breathing for a few minutes. Slowly release control of your breath, while maintaining your focus on the sensation of breathing in your lower belly. If you want more to occupy a distracted mind, try counting your breaths: inhale for 1, exhale for 2…until 10 and then start again. Anytime you lose focus, relax your body, take an abdominal breath, and begin again. This daily practice, done consistently for even 5 minutes, will change the quality of the rest of your day. If you don’t have time to do 5 minutes, do 15.  In other words, if you “don’t have time” to meditate, you REALLY need to meditate.

PRANAYAMA: Alternate nostril breathing. Start by breathing in on the left side, then exhale through the right. Inhale right, followed by exhale on the left. That makes 1 round. Do 5 rounds. Breathe in and out for about the same length. Pause at the top of the inhale until you’re ready to exhale. Either use your right thumb to plug the right nostril and your right ring finger to plug your left, alternately, or simply intend/visualize/feel the breath moving through one side and then the other (Don’t worry if some of your breath comes in the other nostril too, just stay focused). Do this before meditation (and after if you like) or anytime you need to clear your mind and pick up your energy.

LIFESTYLE: Take time to walk and be outdoors. Clear and inspire your senses by the sights, sounds and feeling of Nature. Connect with the prana of the Natural world and allow it to cleanse your energy field.  How’s your sleep? Consider getting in bed a little earlier at night, and rising earlier in the morning. Enjoy the peace and clarity of the early morning hours. Sleep deeply before midnight.

KEY QUALITIES: Stimulation and Surrender. What needs quickening in your life? Where has stagnation set in? Where do you need to get moving? Where are you driving yourself too hard? Where has your edge gotten too sharp? How can you relax your focus?

May this weekend’s New Moon inspire your good intentions and aligned actions towards that which is most important to you.

Love,
Shannon

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