Spring tips for reducing Kapha are also great tips for boosting immunity and keeping your springtime doshas (that which is at fault: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in balance. Balancing your doshas and taking steps to boost immunity will help to keep you healthy and well. Bugs, like bacteria and viruses, thrive in a Kapha environment of extra mucus and extra sluggishness, particularly a sluggish digestive fire so eliminate that excess and boost your fires. The following tips are xtra tips for those prone to spring imbalances that lead to spring colds, flus, allergies, and etc.:
- Don’t overuse your Nasya. You want a barrier, but you don’t want to create a too moist environment.
- Thrive on Chywanprash. Amalaki is a super superfood for boosting immunity.
- Drink tulsi tea, ginger tea, and turmeric tea daily. Mix it up, when in doubt: go with Tulsi.
- Sitopaladi can be a great formula for reducing Kapha in the respiratory system, while not unbalancing Vata and Pitta.
- Follow the tips below and get outside, get moving, and breathe fresh air.
New Note for 2021: Recently, the opinions of a few have been attributed to a whole group and in this case it’s the yoga community. The yoga community is a big group of diverse individuals and everyone has their own thoughts and their own opinions. For clarity, Ayurveda is the “science of life” and evolves as we learn and grow. It is so “science-y” that some of the classical surgical texts of Ayurveda are still used in medical schools. I consider my practice (clinical and studio) to be rooted in both tradition and science. Sometimes, that means allopathic medicine is the best path. Please visit your primary care physician and the emergency room as appropriate. At this point, there’s no doubt that the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine outweigh the risks. Yoga believes at its root in nonHarming. Vaccination, mask wearing, and choosing appropriate social distancing measures may save a life and will help to bring us together again all the sooner.
Spring. The season of Kapha. It’s cool, wet, and heavy. Earth and water. Think: mud.
We also have a tendency to be heavy, moist, and cool (think: mucus and mud) during the spring. How do we keep ourselves healthy in the transition from winter to spring, the transition from dry, cold, and unstable to wet, cool, and stable?
#1. Know yourself. What are your personal weaknesses and tendencies? Where are you most likely to go out of balance and how do you catch it before it happens? Allergies, colds, and respiratory issues are often Kapha imbalances. Tamas may come into play as well. Tamas manifests as the heavy, sluggish, depressive qualities in the mind.
#2. Balance the moist, heavy, and cool qualities of spring by applying opposites.
Moist with drying.
Heavy with light.
Cool with warm.
Simple spring tips:
–Eat seasonally. Spring foods are naturally light, dry, and bitter (more uplifting). Spring foods are naturally more cleansing, so choose a seasonal diet of spring greens and tender roots. This naturally counters the build up of excess that happens during the more nourishing, heavy diet of winter. Other spring treats include mineral rich herbs/teas, and lighter, warm foods like brothy soups. Avoid overfilling the digestive system (heavy) by eating only three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) to allow time for complete digestion between meals.
–Movement. Now is the time, if you’re not already, to get outside. Reconnect with the sun (it’s warm and bright and cheery) and nature is bursting forth with life (more uplifting gifts from nature). This is the time of year for more vigorous movement to sweat off the build up of winter’s excess and move out excess fluid in the body and joints. Breath of Joy is a fantastic spring practice. Run. Walk. Hike. It’s a time to reset the system for the juicy, busy outward energy of spring and summer.
–Start your day with a mug of hot water. This is warming and wakes up the digestive system which can also be a bit sluggish and slow in Kapha season. Add ginger for an extra kick of warmth, lemon for cleansing, and honey to help clear mucus. A happy note: be mindful, and honest, but spring and Kapha body types may be able to enjoy a mug of coffee to jump start the day.
–You may find that your skin needs less oil in the spring, so use a lighter coating of oil with your daily massage (almond, olive, and sunflower oils may be better spring options). You may find you need less and less oil. You may find that daily dry brushing is a lovely practice. This is simply brushing your skin with a body brush toward the heart to slough off dead skin and wake up the blood and lymph systems. This kicks up immunity, which can be a bit sluggish coming off of winter’s cold into spring’s heaviness. You may also use a drying power to draw out excess in the skin. This can be simply a chick pea flour or you can make a spring blend with powdered herbs. I like to think of Spring as Scrub Season: scrubbing (garshana) balanced with oil. Watch out for stagnation, accumulation, and sluggishness in your body and mind. Keep yourself uplifted and moving!!
–Use more spices with a kick like pepper and ginger, and less salt (it’s water hoarding). If you do use salt, be sure it’s a mineral salt (grey sea salts or pink Himalayan; white salts are bleached salts) Black pepper, ginger, and pippali (long pepper), also known as Trikatu or Kapha Digest, is a great formula for Kapha/spring.
–Try not to oversleep in the mornings, this is not helpful and actually induces more of the heavy, stagnating qualities of kapha. Get up with the sun whenever possible.
This might NOT be the year for a spring cleanse. Do not over deplete yourself. Only get rid of extra accumulation, if there is extra accumulation. I strongly suggest that you do not do a deeper cleanse if you are feeling anxiety and stress. Commit, instead, to eating good, healthy spring foods (warmed and well spiced).
–You may find you need extra support to get rid of winter’s excess that is weighing on you: a spring cleanse will help get rid of extra accumulation. There are lots of options from a simple elimination of the ‘baddies’ (processed foods, sugars, white flour, etc), to a three day kitchari cleanse, a soup and broth cleanse, or maybe you could use a more intense type of cleanse. Whereas autumn was about cleansing to rejuvenate, spring is about cleansing to reset, so this MAY (or may NOT) be a time for a deeper cleansing practice. Please know your constitution and goals when cleansing/de-ama-ing. If you need guidance, don’t hesitate to contact me.
–For anyone trying to lose a few extra pounds: while I am not a huge advocate of “diets” (they are often unsustainable and will come back to bite you) Ayurveda has some great tips. When Ayurveda talks about diet, we’re talking about the day to day eating well for your constitution and season, not a short term loss weight plan. That said, Kapha (spring) is the season of accumulation. The tips for Spring are excellent tips for weight balancing: both the diet and lifestyle tips (they go hand in hand). To start:
–Follow the spring tips above.
–Eat warm foods (yes, this means that raw salads are not the best weight loss choice).
–Choose easy to digest foods (light soups and broths; light grains with warming, digestive spices).
–Drink warm herbal teas or lemon/ginger/honey water through the day. This encourages the flushing of gunk and excess fat.
–Limit your meals to three: breakfast, a big lunch, a light dinner. Only snack (wisely) between meals if you must (often 2pm and/or 4pm is the ‘needed’ time).
–Move. Go for a daily walk. Sweat: sweat is a great way to eliminate excess. Breath of Joy...
Think uplifting and joyful practices for spring. Dig yourself out of the mud and leap. Keep your body and mind moving. Laugh. Sweat. Eat well (not too much, mostly plants, especially in the spring).
Below, you will find links to Banyan Botanicals and Kerala for all your Spring supply needs. I do carry a small stock of products. Feel free to contact me with follow up questions or to ask where’s best to get something!!