Spring Equinox: Setting Intentions For Nature’s New Year

Spring Equinox: Setting Intentions For Nature’s New Year

As we move from the deep ‘yin’ of Winter into lighter, brighter days of Spring, there’s a definite feeling of change in the air. You may have already noticed Spring herbs like nettle, dandelion and cleavers emerging from the earth, blossom appearing on branches, or morning birdsong arriving a little earlier each day. All of these signs point to the beginning of a new season, which holds a brand new type of energy we can lean into and use to support our wellbeing. The Spring season is nature’s ‘new year’, when new life and fresh growth appears, and is a much more supportive time to make resolutions and intentions than is 1st of January in the middle of Winter. On March 20th, we reach the Spring equinox, and a powerful time to set those Spring intentions into motion. The Equinox is a time when day and night are of equal length, and also marks the first official day of Spring. As the mornings become lighter and brighter, Spring helps us feel naturally more motivated to make positive changes and step into a new mindset. Other than the change in season however, the Spring equinox has been celebrated for centuries as a time of rebirth, fertility and new beginnings. We’ve gathered three practices for you to try this Spring equinox to help align your body and mind with the new season and brand new energy, so read on and choose your favourites!

Set Your Intention 

You may have been invited to set an intention in a yoga or meditation class, or perhaps you often start the day by setting a mindful intention for yourself. The thing is, if we just think about an intention and don’t do anything about it, nothing much changes. In order to make an intention really work, it’s useful to dig a little deeper and become clearer on what you really want emotionally, spiritually and physically. It also helps to think about how you want to feel emotionally. When you wake up this equinox, pull out your journal (we recommend Gailson’s handmade paisley journal for this) and try this powerful intention setting practice to help you shift away from old feelings that aren’t serving you, and towards a state of being you want to manifest this year:

Six Step Intention Setting Ritual

On your journal page, draw a line vertically down the middle
On the left hand side, write down all the words that represent how you’ve been feeling this past year
On the right hand side, write down all the words that represent how you want to feel this year 
Choose a word from the left column that represents a negative state, then write three ways you can move away from or change this feeling. For example; if you’ve felt lonely, you could choose to join a public yoga class to meet other people, or schedule a weekly meet up with a close friend. You could also promise to yourself that you’ll say ‘yes’ to opportunities to meet with friends and family more often. 
Then, choose a word from the right column that most clearly represents how you want to feel this year. This word is your intention. Write down three ways you can move towards this feeling. For example; if your word is ‘calm’, one of the ways you could move towards this is with a regular meditation practice – the Meditation For Beginners book and CD is a great way to get started if you’ve never tried meditation before. 

To take this practice a step further and really notice a difference, schedule several things on your calendar that will actually help you move towards your intention. And make them a priority! Most of us have such busy lives that unless something is written into the weekly planner, it’s unlikely to happen, so make a date with yourself and your intention several times over the next few weeks and it’ll make a big difference to how you feel.

Sowing Seeds

Nothing says ‘Spring’ like the sight of new shoots emerging from the ground. Spending time in your garden or caring for houseplants is a great way to care for your mental health, and studies show that a little gardening can reduce stress and improve mood levels, notably reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Whether you own a sprawling green garden or one room in a flat, all you’ll need to sow seeds is a pot, some compost, and your seeds. As long as you have access to sunlight and water, you can grow a plant! Caring for plants helps us become more mindful and compassionate, and as you sow your seeds, you’ll be taking part in a ritual cultures have been doing on the equinox for centuries. Check Plant Therapy by Dr Katie Cooper for the best houseplants to suit your space, or if you’re sowing vegetable seeds in your garden, opt for beetroot, carrot, peas, cabbages, leeks and spinach, which are all suitable to plant outside in March. 

Spend Time In Nature

Each season holds plenty of reasons to spend time in Nature, but after a long, cold Winter, Spring feels extra inviting to step outside into. Choose an area you feel safe to walk in, and head out for anything from 10 minutes to a couple of hours. Whilst out walking, try the practice of ‘earthing’, involving standing barefoot on the earth, which is said to reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation and calm the nervous system. If barefoot walking is a step too far, consider taking your Yogamatters Eco Cork mat outside for a few sun salutations at sun rise or sun set instead. You may come across Spring herbs like nettle, which can be made into a mineral-rich nettle soup, or wild garlic, which tastes wonderful whizzed into a pesto or mixed into stir fries. Whilst out walking, this is also a great time to let your eyes wander. When we spend lots of time looking at a screen, our gaze narrows and we often breathe in a very shallow way. Both of these things can increase stress levels, so when we spend time walking in nature, it’s a great opportunity to let your eyes wander across the various shapes and colours, something known as ‘soft fascination’. Read Rewild Your Life by Sarah Stirling for 52 more ways to reconnect to nature this year. In the UK, the time of the equinox on the 20th March this year will be about 3:30pm, so schedule your Sunday afternoon walk to immerse yourself in nature and the changing of the seasons at this moment.


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