Today is Hina Matsuri, a Japanese festival translated either to “Doll Festival” or “Girls’ Day.” It falls on the third day of the third month. (Note: the former Boys’ Day is now Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day), on the fifth day of the fifth month.)
Hina Matsuri is associated with spring and cherry blossoms. Have you noticed the change in daylight and weather? Seemingly overnight, we’ve turned a corner.
One of my yoga students, a professor, is an outdoorsy, athletic type who changes her lifestyle by season. In late spring, she forgoes yoga classes for running, swimming, and cycling, rising early with the sun. She tries to peak in July or August, when she does an annual triathlon. After it’s over, she enjoys the remainder of summer by rock climbing and kayaking. She grew up in Southeast Asia and dislikes cold, so she takes a break from outdoors sports in winter. She rises later and focuses on yoga and gym training (weights and aerobic machines).
Although she must run on roads during races, she prefers going off-road to train. “I’m predominately a trail runner,” she said. “Running on pavement [is] harder for me, both physcially and mentally. I enjoy running in the forest. I can pretend I’m a deer or something.”
I love that visual image. And her seasonal lifestyle changes make sense.
In a March 2, 2010, Huffington Post piece called “Relief For The Exhausted: A NYC Doc’s Solution To The Energy Shortage Inside Of You,” blogger Patricia Fitzgerald interviews Frank Lipman, MD, an “integrative” physician. He focuses on the innate rhythms that we ignore in modern life (seasons, dawn and dusk), to our detriment. He also mentions restorative yoga as a way to “slow people down yet energize them.”
- Am I adapting to the seasons? Winter “feels” different from summer. Why should I follow the same routine all year round?
- Do I vary my pace? In The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz state that we should live life as a series of sprints, not as an endless marathon. In other words, alternate “fully engaging” (running to your max) and “fully disengaging” (resting and renewing yourself).
- Am I focused in each endeavor? I’m a chronic multitasker (can’t waste time waiting for a webpage to load!). It might be revelatory to compartmentalize, to devote full attention to one priority at one time.
Top image: Sakura (cherry blossom) mochi, Devour the World