3 Seasonal Rituals to Return to Balance
In turbulent times, it’s especially important to tend to your inner emotions. These time-honored traditions can help.
From the phases of the moon to the changing of the seasons, nature teaches us time and time again how to cultivate balance and stability, especially in times of transition.
At 3rd Ritual, we use nature as a compass for creativity. Spring is the ephemeral passage between the steady, “yin” energy of winter and the exuberant, “yang” energy of summer; it’s a time of upheaval, of regeneration. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the liver, an organ of detoxification that filters and cleans your blood, and is responsible for the flow of qi (life force) and emotions throughout the body.
There’s certainly no wrong time to bring the emotional body into balance, but spring is an especially potent time — as is a global pandemic. Since the conditions of our lives have grown more turbulent, it’s particularly important to tend to the inner landscape.
Below are three rituals, along with some tools and techniques, that can help you attune to the seasonal, energetic transit that’s taking place right now.
Palm inhalation is the simple yet impactful act of receiving scent from your hands. This aromatherapeutic technique is often employed as a transformative tool for self-soothing, as the sense of smell has a direct pathway to the limbic system, the part of our brain that governs emotion, memory, and motivation. The physical and psychological effects of inhalation — versus skin absorption — are nearly instant.
Begin by selecting a scent that supports your intention. If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, for instance, choose a relaxing scent — such as 3rd Ritual’s botanical body lotion, MOON, or THE WELL Relax Essential Oil Blend — to integrate into your bedtime routine.
How to practice palm inhalation: Add a dollop of lotion or essential oil to your palm, rubbing your hands together to activate the blend by way of the natural oils of your skin. Cup your hands over your face, without making contact, and take a deep breath in. Remove your hands so that you can exhale without obstruction. Repeat as desired, noticing the alchemical effects of this simple yet sacred technique.
Dry-Brushing & Self-massage
Dry-brushing is a means of physically sloughing off staleness. It stimulates the lymphatic system, which promotes detoxification, and as it exfoliates, it can unclog pores to help further expel toxins that get trapped in the skin. It’s a simple technique that, when approached mindfully, will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
How to dry brush: Make small circles on the chest above the heart. Then, make large sweeping strokes up the legs. Use less pressure on areas like the belly, and don’t forget the backside of the body.
This whole process should take about three minutes. When you’re done, lather yourself with a grounding, rebalancing moisturizer such as THE WELL Reset Body Oil or 3rd Ritual’s EARTH botanical body cream. Take your time as you work the velvety texture of your moisturizer into your body, harnessing the hands as an extension of the heart in the ultimate expression of self-love.
Mindfully moving your body into the shape of a backbend connects you to the power of your lungs while offering the reassurance of support. As you open up the frame of your torso, the organs that live on the interior can take up more space. That inner spaciousness expands outward, translating into a sense of vibrancy and levity.
How to do this pose: You’ll need a yoga block or something comparable. Sit on the ground with your prop behind you. As you recline onto your forearms, align the tips of your shoulder blades with the bottom of the prop, releasing the back of your skull onto the floor (if your prop doesn’t allow your head to find the floor, you can set a blanket up to make it work). Arms can reach out into a "T" shape, and legs can extend out long. Gently lift the chin so you open up the aperture for your breath, and then listen for the sound of the breath — abundant, rich and expansive.
Stay in this shape for as long as you like. When you’re ready to come out, narrow the forearms and use them as leverage to help you rise up. Notice the shift that has transpired; hopefully you feel a greater sense of clarity and buoyancy.
Note: If you have trouble accessing awareness in the back body, or if on the opposite end of the spectrum, experience back pain, consider infusing your practice with the power of scent. For instance, try applying 3rd Ritual’s SUN body gel before or after your mindful movement practice, or spritz THE WELL Rise Everything Mist around your space and on your mat. These uplifting scents act as an aromatherapeutic highlighter, drawing awareness to the areas where it’s applied.