The Power of Sustained Effort (especially in Spring)
If you didn’t get a chance to read my post yesterday, I shared a pretty crazy, literal lesson in the nature of Spring.
Spring’s heavy rain and melting snow brought water into our basement, where both my husband and I have newly renovated studios, and we set about laying a new, thick slab of sealed concrete. This meant that we took down half of two walls and part of a staircase and broke up a good part of a concrete floor with a jack hammer.
Then we dug out underneath the house. There is no dirt under this house. There are only rocks. I do not kid. We could not get a shovel into the rocks, so we scooped them out by hand. At one point, we removed an 18-inch piece of black granite. (If you’ve ever wonder why New Hampshire is called the Granite State, this is why: the land is not dirt; it is granite.)
We filled the wheelbarrow with these rocks, from pebbles to anvil-size, and I walked it up the sloped driveway and around the house into the backyard. For hours. After the third trip, I thought there was no way I could do anymore. We’d been mostly sedentary at our computers all Winter. We were both coming off colds, and we still had coughs.
But something happened. That level of sustained physical effort got rid of my congestion. The cough that lingered from a cold that had plagued me most of March subsided.
This makes more sense than it appears.
Spring has the qualities of the Ayurveda dosha Kapha, which translates as (wait for it) earth saturated with water. Those qualities are heavy, moist, stable and cool. We experience this in nature as rainy, cool days and mud. We experience this in our bodies as sluggishness or congestion.
Just like the heat of the sun burns off the rain and dries the earth as we move into summer, creating heat in the body burns off sluggishness and congestion.
That’s what I understand the sustained effort digging out the bowels of our basement to have done: burned off the lingering congestion from my extended cold.
In yoga, this is called tapas, creating enough heat to burn away what is no longer needed.
In the days to come, I have three simple practices to share with you that move lingering congestion out of your body without requiring you to reinforce the foundation of your house.
Also published on Medium.