yogic spring cleaning

Happy spring equinox to everyone!  Spring equinox marks the official start of spring; the day when the sun aligns directly over the earth’s equator.  On this day, twice a year (once in the spring, once in the fall), the length of day and night are the same…equinox=equal night.  This day has been celebrated throughout history for many different reasons; increased sunlight hours, the shift of the season, restoration of crop supply, Passover, Easter Sunday, baseball’s opening day, etc.

Throughout my childhood, this day meant one thing.  Spring cleaning.  My mom would gather my five siblings and my reluctant dad and give us the game plan.  This was a day for new beginnings, she would tell us.  And with eight people living in a humble three bedroom South Buffalo house all winter, there was plenty of work to do.  I happened to share one of those bedrooms with two of my sisters, and expected this would decrease my level of responsibility in comparison with the others who had fewer roommates.  The others disagreed and I was outnumbered.  So, I joined the spring cleaning frenzy – Earth Wind and Fire music blaring, windows open (despite 30 degree Buffalo breeze), vacuums running, floors being scrubbed, roommate tradings, and a mass exodus of clothes we hadn’t worn in a year.  I actually cleaned up on hand-me-downs on this day.  I dreaded this day, despite my mom’s excitement.  But, I have to admit, all of that clearing and cleaning felt very refreshing.  And, I still celebrate spring equinox as a day for new beginnings.

As an adult, living with less than seven “roommates”, I don’t go to the extremes my mom did in orchestrating spring cleaning. But, it is an awesome time to do some internal spring cleaning.  A time to take an honest look at your life, and what you are creating each day.  Similar to cleaning our closets, it’s a time to take an inventory of our lives, what needs to be tossed away, and what to hold on to.  Through honest and intentional choices, we can see what’s missing, what’s been tossed to the side, and what is holding us back from creating something wonderful.

Spring equinox is just a day, of course, but it represents a new start.  It is a reminder to check in with our true selves.  I use my yoga practice as a guide to bring myself back to center and to reflect on what I am sending my energy to.  Through my daily practice I choose one clear intention.  The intention could be as simple as a word; “clarity”, “peace”, “compassion”, or it could be more detailed, like visualizing your dreams.  But the important thing is to choose.  Choose what we want to put into the world, what we want to get back, and use our yoga practice as a pathway to that end.  Because once we choose to let go of what is not serving us, choose to move forward with clarity, kindness, faith and a little bit of attitude, well then, we have something to celebrate.  Your yoga practice is a guide; a nudge toward our own true self.

So, as you practice yoga this week, on the mat and in your life, I encourage you to choose an intention.  Through every breath, heart opener, hip opener, twist and hold, choose what you release and what you hold tight.  Toss out the old stuff that is taking up useful space, open the windows of your view, clean out the foundation.  Because then, all that’s left is the celebration of what is possible.

And don’t forget to blast some music, laugh, dance and sing.  You are free to swap Beyonce or JT for Earth Wind and Fire, but I cannot guarantee the same results.

Katie first discovered yoga in search of a new workout, and a little bit of perspective. What she found was so much more than that, and soon fell in love with yoga. Katie played sports throughout her life, but realized she loved the feeling of calm intensity through movement, sweat and stillness. After a few years of practicing, she finally pursued her dream of becoming a teacher. Katie lives in Denver where she works in marketing and teaches yoga. Although her focus is power yoga, Katie loves exploring all styles of yoga, and feels that a yoga practice is truly the best thing you can do for yourself.