Spring is my favourite season! Perhaps because I am a spring baby I have a real affinity to it; It is such a beautiful season, the colours becoming brighter, the air warmer and the joyful singing of the birds. It is the time when I feel the most creative, innovative and ready for anything. My heart feels invigorated, it's an amazing feeling. Everytime spring comes around I feel overwhelmed by the sensation that anything is possible, that the opportunities are endless and, really, they are. I start many adventures in the spring: travels, change of work, relationships...That's what makes spring the best season of all, the possibilities are many. They may not all come to light but the potential is there. New beginnings.
To celebrate its arrival I am fasting for 3 days, something I have been doing with every change of season since 2010. I must stress that it is something which works for me but definitely is not for everyone so if you think about fasting fort he first time ever, it is probably best to research the best option for you. I have tried quite a few different ways to do a fast but when I fast with the seasons for 3 days, I only drink water and herbal teas. I always start the day with hot water with lemon regardless if I am fasting or not as it cleanses the body from the inside out and is a great habit to get into. Fasting is part of Kriya yoga, which consists of using cleansing practices in order to achieve deep meditation. I was first introduced to them during my very first yoga training. As part of the training we went on a retreat in the beautiful Menla mountain retreat centre in upstate NY where we practised the mouna meditation (silent meditation), tratak meditation (gazing at a candle), nauli (stomach churning), fasting, neti (nostrils cleansing), pranayama techniques and the kunjala and gaja karani (drinking and regurgitating water on an empty stomach to remove excess acid or undigested food). At he time the mouna mediation was the most powerful technique for me; It was so nice not to have to talk and the silence was beautiful as well as healing. However, fasting would be the technique which I would come back to.
I was initially drawn to it because of the cleansing and resetting of the body than it generates. After my first longer fast (3 days) I realised it was much more than that and I became fascinated by the meditative qualities of such practice. I was amazed by the thoughts that would enter my mind as I initially fought the hunger to eventually, by the third day, enter a state of calmness and well-being. The progression was really interesting, on all levels, not just physically. Fasting is a process of observation and introspection and can reveal thought patterns previously drowned in the distraction of not only the act of eating but planning and preparing the food. When such an important and necessary element of my being was taken out of the equation it opened so much more time and space for self-reflection. Ever since then I have fasted as a way to transition from one season to the next, to make space for new energy and let go of patterns and ways of thinking which may not serve me anymore. And there are no better time to do so than when coming out of the darker winter months into the warming energy of spring.
Last year a friend and fellow teacher sent me a video explaining the benefits and the how to of sun gazing. I had vaguely heard of it but I knew very little; As I watched the entire link she sent me I became very interested in giving it a try. I have mentioned many times before that I love the sun and I always felt that the sun energy makes me happier, more energised and healthier; Therefore the idea of consciously using its energy for healing purposes did not sound very far-fetched to me. The idea is to gradually build up to 45mins of gazing at the sun, adding 10seconds every day so the process is quite slow. I won't go too much into details about it in this particular post (I will write another one with the link to the video when I finish the process) but it basically consists of recharging the body using the sun as a battery. It is said that after 15 mins you start to perceive changes in cravings, addictive behaviours and relationships. Today I have reached 18 mins and I have noticed considerable changes in my energy levels and more importantly in my thought patterns and behaviours. Now I have also made changes in my lifestyle which I am not sure are a result of sun gazing or a combination of everything but I have a notice a massive shift in myself. I want to see this through to the 45 mins before I can actually write an informed and complete blog about my experience but I can say that I feel very good within myself as a whole. Like a new spring version of myself :)