Less than a month before spring officially starts. The earth is awakening once again! In Ayurveda, spring is the season of the kapha dosha–the earth and water dosha–meaning that qualities of these two elements increase in nature during this time of the year. In late winter, we can already observe the changes. After the long winter’s rest, the snow turns into rain and make the land soggy and muddy… the trees are coming back from hibernation and pollen is increasing. The combination of moisture and dust can make the air quite heavy.
As water increases in the environment, it also increases in our body and mind as well and makes us feel soggier than in other seasons. We may feel heavier and more sluggish, especially if we overindulged on heavy foods during the winter months. The result is that we can feel lethargic when the world around us starts blossoming. Colds, headaches, allergies, and upset stomachs are common complaints this season.
If you’re missing the gifts this season has to offer, these four lifestyle choices can help to overcome spring’s challenges while promoting optimal health, so that we can truly celebrate the earth’s awakening!
1- GET MOVING!
Use the renewal energy that nature brings with this season and cleanse the body from the winter’s hibernation. It is time to remove the gunk! In the earlier, cooler morning hours before 10 am, engage in brisk physical movement such as jogging, hiking, or cycling. Favor a more vigorous and dynamic hatha practice. Increasing the rounds of sun salutations is a good idea to support the elimination of any accumulated kapha and can help bring lightness to the body.
2 - CLEAR THE AIR PASSAGES!
Kapha accumulated in the body and mind will bring inflammation and excess mucus. Use a nasal wash or neti pot every day upon awakening. After your neti wash, rub 3 to 5 drops of sesame oil into your nostrils. This will keep your sinuses clean and reduce bacterial growth.
Another excellent practice for keeping the sinus clean is kapalabhati and bhastrika (the skull-shining breath and the bellows breath). These are pranayama, yogic breathing practices, that will oxygenate the blood and bring a sense of lightness to the body. These practices are very cleansing and invigorating. And remember, because of the power and subtlety of these practices, it is recommended to practice pranayama under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
3- EAT FOOD FOR BALANCE!
Ayurveda’s main principle of healing is ‘like increases like, and the opposite brings balance’. Kapha qualities are slow, moist, and heavy—so seek the opposite qualities of kapha to find balance. Now it is time to shift our diet! Notice that the land is already giving us different foods. Eat them! I have already notice asparagus and leafy greens increasing in the grocery stores. Reduce the intake of heavy and oily foods and place emphasis on the astringent, bitter and pungent tastes.
4 - USE COLORS THAT UPLIFT
Surrounding yourself with light, bright, and transparent colors—either on your body or in your personal spaces—can help to lift and to balance the heavy, cold, and moist kapha qualities of spring. Think warm, dry, and stimulating hues like reds, oranges, yellows, and golds.
These are simply general guidelines. It is important that you tend to your current state of balance/imbalance while also making adjustments to stay in tune with the cycles of nature. Getting an individualized assessment can further refine your springtime routine to more specifically support your body type and will help you flourish during all seasons. I offer consultations in person or via phone, Skype or FaceTime.