A solar term is a period of about two weeks and is based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each solar term, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
When the Spring Equinox arrives on March 20, day and night are exactly equal, and the universal yin and yang energies are perfectly balanced both on Earth and inside our bodies.
From this point forward, the yang energy associated with the light begins to build in the body as the days lengthen, suppressing the dark yin.
According to traditional Chinese solar terms, at the spring equinox, we are already halfway through spring. In other words, it is the peak of spring. Before this time, spring’s energies are intangible yet gradually moving beneath the surface.
Yet the Western calendar says spring begins at the equinox.
This contrast is a perfect example of the difference between Eastern and Western approaches. Chinese culture values intangible phenomena and philosophical concepts and treats them as being just as important as the tangible. Western culture tends to value the material world or what can be seen directly.
Another example of the Chinese approach is seen in the work of renowned Tang Dynasty medical doctor Sun Simiao (581–682), who classified disease into three stages:
- Prior to the arrival of disease
- Disease just setting in
- Having the disease
Sun Simiao said, “Ancient people were good at being medical doctors. [At that time,] the best doctors worked on preventing disease, mediocre doctors worked on disease just setting in, and the lowest level doctors worked on diseases that already existed.”
This theory emphasizes the importance of preventative medicine, or more fundamentally, the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.
Living in Harmony With ‘Spring Equinox’
The universe’s relatively balanced state during the solar term Spring Equinox (March 21 to April 4) presents a great opportunity to adjust our bodies to its most balanced state.
Consider the symbol of the tai chi. In it, the yin and yang are perfectly balanced, with a dot of yang existing in the yin, and a dot of yin existing in the yang. In this harmonized state, the tai chi rotates ceaselessly. What we don’t want is these energies fighting with each other.
The main concern is that preexisting health conditions and diseases may appear, much like grass popping up in spring. This may be seen particularly in the areas of sleep quality, mental and emotional health, menopause, circulation-related problems, and other issues related to the eyes, blood, and heart.
This happens because when the yang energy is revolving inside one’s body and overtaking the yin energy, the blockages built up from a heavy diet and lack of movement in the winter come to the fore. When the energy circulation hits the places where we are already weak, we feel discomfort.
We have already said that yang energy is pouring in at this time, so we must be careful that this energy isn’t too hot, as it can overpower the yin, and cause stress or problems to our bodies.
To avoid hot energy, try to detox in early spring by emphasizing fresh seasonal vegetables and beans. This prepares our bodies to let the yang energy flow through and strengthens overall health. Barefoot walks on the grass, in forests, and in fields, can help our bodies wake up and absorb the yang energy from nature.
To help open up all the body’s energy channels and meridians, try gently pressing at their entry points, located on both sides of your fingertips and on the fingertip pads. Also, touch and press gently on the edges of the facial bone below both eyes. This helps reduce pressure on the eyes, enhances eye and face health, and beautifies the skin.
This is a good time to eat spinach, spirulina, leeks, chives, dark green vegetables, black beans, green beans, black sesame, and soy products.
The herbs Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, frankincense, cedar, and Douglas pine are also good.
Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist and the founder of Ausganica, a manufacturer of salon-quality, certified organic cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.