Spring season is Kapha season. Kapha is responsible for structure, stability, and lubrication. It is made up of the water and earth elements.
Three primary qualities of kapha:
Three qualities that balance kapha:
Here are Nine Practices™ to provide more light, dry, and warm qualities to keep you in harmony this Spring.
1. Food: Nature provides us with exactly what we need when we need it. Since spring is Kapha season, we want to eat a Kapha pacifying diet. We want to include more of the light, dry, and warm qualities in the foods we consume.
Bitter greens are very light in nature and are naturally abundant now. This includes arugula, spinach, dandelion, asparagus, broccolini, chard, lettuce, endives, and microgreens. The lightness and bitterness of these foods help to relieve sluggish circulation.
Chickpeas, legumes, sprouts, barley, millet, buckwheat, oranges, lemon, and tangerines are all very dry and astringent in nature, helping to tighten and tone loose tissue.
Warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, and cayenne help to increase circulation.
2. Herbs: Since we want to dry up the accumulated moisture in the body there are some herbs that can support this.
CCF tea: is the ultimate digestive and detox tea, it helps improve metabolism and naturally flushes excess water from the body.
Triphala*: a traditional Ayurvedic formula that helps keep your colon clean and regulates your elimination pattern.
Trikatu*: a traditional Ayurvedic formula that dispels mucus and boosts digestion and metabolism.
Turmeric: reinvigorates the blood, restores circulation, and cleans the liver.
3.Sleep: Though very subtle, your body is going through a huge transition. It is accustomed to the cold, heaviness of winter and is now adapting to the slightly warmer days. It takes time for the body to adapt to this change as the excess heat can cause stagnation, congestion, and puffiness. While the body is trying to adapt, you may feel like sleeping in more. Try to rise as close as possible with the sun. Here are three tips:
Your quality of sleep starts with your evening routine. Turn off all electronics one hour prior to bed. This will allow your body to fall asleep naturally according to the natural daily rhythms, in turn allowing for more restful sleep.
Make an intention to wake up at a certain time, setting an intention provides focus to the mind.
If you tend to hit the famous snooze button, try placing your alarm clock away from your bed so you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off (with the goal of not returning back to bed). 😉
4.Movement: As the days start to warm up the heat pushes blood into your muscles, and the body naturally wants to move and be outdoors.
Take a daily walk after your meals to allow for optimal digestion and to help regulate your blood sugar level. An evening walk after dinner can also help improve your sleep.
Incorporate backbends that stimulate and energize you along with chest-opening yoga postures to open up the lungs.
5.Environment: As temperatures begin to rise, nature’s pattern shifts from storing to releasing. Just as the snow caps begin to melt making the rivers full and muddy, our own body mimics this, releasing a flood of mucus which is why spring is associated with the start of allergy season. Our internal environment reflects the outer environment of nature.
Spring is a good time to cleanse and fast as the outer and inner environment supports the melting of body fat and the release of toxins that were stored during the winter season. Many indigenous cultures traditionally practiced fasting or cleansing during this season as it helps to cleanse the blood after a long winter of heavy foods and stagnation in the body.
6.Relationships: Spring is a time when nature is starting to bloom again. You really notice everything around you is alive (the birds, bees, flowers). Two things to contemplate on:
What is your relationship like with nature? Have you noticed the flower buds or heard the birds chirping?
What is your relationship like with your neighbors? With the weather warming up, you’re likely to see more neighbors going for a stroll. Try and have a quick chat with them.
7. Pranayama: Practice conscious breathing to balance Kapha in the body. Try the following:
Kapalabhati* (pronounced kah-pah-luh-bah-tee), translated as “skull-shining breath”, is a form of conscious breathing that clears the sinuses, lungs, and respiratory system of allergens. It also invigorates and warms the body, while improving digestion and circulation.
Surya Pranayama* (solar nostril breathing), is a warming conscious breathing practice, focused on the right nostril only. The right side of our body is associated with solar energy (heating) while the left side is associated with lunar energy (cooling).
* Please consult with a certified pranayama instructor before trying these practices. There are indications for when you should do them and when you should not. Schedule a consultation.
8. Meditation: Practice meditation to calm your mind and provide you with a sense of focus and clarity.
“So Hum” meditation, is a simple but powerful technique that uses the breath and the repetition of a mantra to quiet the mind and relax the body.
9. Self-Care: Having a daily routine (Dinacharya in Sanskrit) plays an important role in our long-term health. It takes discipline, dedication, and ultimately awareness to establish healthy habits that you’ll actually stick with. Here are two that you can incorporate this spring:
Neti pot: wash away dust, pollen, and mucous by keeping your sinuses clear.
Dry brushing: promote circulation and cleansing of your lymphatic system.