May Day or Beltane, signals the half-way point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere. Here in the Northwest, the weather is vacillating between warm-hot days and cooler, cloudy nights. Now is a good time to make some shifts in routine to support ourselves in adapting to the warmer, longer days.

DIET: Mid spring is a good time to make your diet just a little lighter overall (heavy foods like nuts, dairy, wheat and meat you can enjoy less often, and a little less quantity). Add some fresh salads, ideally at room temperature, into your diet, especially good at the mid-day meal when digestion is stronger and raw foods are easier to process. You can make a dressing of cold-pressed olive oil with lemon and fresh pressed garlic and black pepper and salt to taste. Enjoy local organic berries as they become available, and to support your liver, eat more bitter greens (artichokes, kale, collards, mustard) and take bitter herbs like turmeric, burdock and those found in teas such as yogi tea detox. If the tea appeals, try adding in a cup first thing in the morning, until the box is gone. 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 digestive function now.

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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