Birds are chirping in the early morning light, temperatures are rising, and the days are getting longer…
Spring is finally around the corner! Which means it’s Kapha season.
Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. An ancient science developed by deep and prolonged study of the body and it’s interaction with the world around us. Ayurveda looks at the balance of the elements in the cycles of the earth as well as in the stages of human development.
The season of spring is seen as a time of warmth (funny how 50degrees feels warm after winter!), moisture, and a gentleness and nourishing of new life. It is also a slower season that seems to never really arrive nor distinctly end. Everything is heavy and can be waterlogged. These characteristics of spring align perfectly with the Ayurvedic constitution of Kapha (that which flourishes with water). In Ayurveda, we recognize that like increases like. We use this to find balance with the natural rhythms of nature and life.
Imbalances in Kapha can lead to:
- Mind: Changes in your mental state will often be one of the first indications that an imbalance is on the horizon. Signs that kapha is increasing in the mind include a generalized feeling of heaviness or lethargy, sluggishness, drowsiness, brain fog, and a tendency towards excessive sleep, laziness, melancholy, or depression.
- Digestion: The digestive tract is one of the first places that aggravated kapha will make itself known. Early signs of kapha imbalance include a sense of heaviness, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the stomach, nausea, excess salivation, a poor appetite, a sweet taste in the mouth, indigestion, and a slow or suppressed metabolism.
- Respiratory: Signs of kapha imbalance in the respiratory system include colds, coughs, excessive accumulation of mucus, a runny nose, excess nasal crust, and hay fever. Aggravated kapha can also cause congestion or a feeling of tightness in the sinuses, throat or chest.
To balance Kapha, we have quite a few options. A few changes that should be easy to incorporate into the coming weeks:
– Spring Cleaning
We tend to accumulate extras during the winter. Spring is a perfect time to let go of what no longer serves- both in our physical homes and in our spirit and heart. Spend some time de-cluttering just one room of the house each day. Also, spend a few minutes every day working on a pranayama (breath work) practice. Follow your breath work with a few minutes of relaxation in an easy seat or laying in bed with your legs up the wall.
– Lighter Foods
Dairy products and red meats tend to lead to an accumulation of mucus in the body, leading to a higher risk of colds and indigestion. Eat lighter foods like fish and bitter greens, with fruits when possible. Try to move away from heavy creamer filled coffee, and instead opt for teas with honey or cinnamon to further boost digestive fires.
– Move your Body
One of the most important things you can do to balance Kapha is to get enough exercise. In the spring, at least 3 days per week of walking, yoga, or other lightly vigorous movement are suggested. Though the desire may be to take a nap after work, give yourself that boost of energy so that you don’t get bogged down with lethargy or seasonal depression.
For a great indulgence, try incorporating the Ayurvedic oil massage to your routine a few times a week. Massaging the body with a light oil before showering. Start with your hands and feet before working your way toward the torso to allow for lymphatic stimulation to help clear the body of excess toxins and fluids. Bonus, let your massage therapist do the work for you!