Ayurveda in Spring: An Insight to Kapha Diet and Lifestyle
According to the ayurvedic system, every season is associated with a specific set of qualities or “dosha” that define it. Ruled by Vata dosha, the winter months are characterized by the dark, dry, and cold atmosphere that is prevalent in the surroundings. As the sun begins to linger in the sky for longer hours, the thawing mud and softening ground announces the onset of the Springtime or Kapha season. The season starts rather cold and wet in the month of March and ends in the warmer months of May and June.
As the world comes out of hibernation in the early Kapha period, Spring begins to blossom in its true form. With the birds pronouncing the beginning of the mating season, the trees begin to bloom and release pollen. Nature radiates an aura of beauty all around. However, with the thriving natural beauty around, people vulnerable to allergies often sense the effects of Kapha in their respiratory tracts. Hello, itchy eyes and runny nose!
Kapha combines the water and earth element. That means Kapha is often cold, moist, and heavy. Therefore, the best way to evade a Kapha imbalance is through activities, self-care rituals, and healthy food.
Some of the most commonly noted Kapha imbalances you often experience during Spring are:
- Inactive Digestion
- Lethargy and Dullness of Mind
- Congestion and Excessive Mucus
- Feeling Stuck
- Clammy and Cold Skin
- Attachment Issues
Here are some tips to balance the earth and water element of Kapha during Spring:
Most people tend to see a natural, yet distinctive, shift in their food choices and cravings as the winter’s end paves the way for spring. The onset of the warmer weather sheds the desire to gorge on something substantive and heavy. In fact, you may find yourself having a considerably low appetite and craving for lighter food options like salads, fresh vegetables, and fruits. This is your body’s way of signaling that it’s time for some immediate spring cleanup.
Start altering your diet by saying goodbye to the heavy nourishing stews you have been gorging on and incorporate plenty of greens in your diet. Most green vegetables contain a bitter taste that helps to cleanse the body, balance the heaviness and helps digestion. Great examples are: artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower tc.
Legumes and Beans
Large amounts of beans can be very difficult to digest if a person’s Agni (digestive fire) is on a low. You can consume things like lentils and mung beans to counterbalance Kapha dosha.
Include bitter and astringent fruits like grapefruits, pomegranates, limes, berries, apricotes and Granny Smith apples into your diet to balance mucus production and stimulate elimination.
People feeling the intense effects of the Kapha dosha should avoid meat consumption during this period. Meats are usually heavy and at times, difficult to digest, thus, least recommended.
Generally, the best grains for the Kapha months include light warming grains like buckwheat and corn. Light cooling corns like amaranth, quinoa, millet along with basmati rice is also considered a probable option for balancing Kapha.
Most spices are useful to evade the bad effects of Kapha season. Heating and pungent spices stimulate digestion and ease down any discomfort in the process. A few essential spices include asafetida, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, mustard seeds, and cayenne pepper.
Lifestyle for Kapha Season
People with fixated intentions for themselves are the ones who benefit the most from the rejuvenating nature of the spring season. Moreover, it is important to embrace and accept the light-hearted aura that the onset of spring spreads.
The Kapha dosha tends to accumulate between 6 am/pm to 10 am/pm and is most predominant during these 8 hours. Thus, it is advised to get up early before sunrise (at around or even before 6 am) and go to bed early (by 10 pm) during Spring.
For many of us Spring means allergies and congestion. Luckily Ayurveda is here to help. Include a Neti Pot practice and Nasya Oil practice into your morning routine. With the neti post you pour warm water with special salts into one nostril at a time. It cleans the nasal passways and wipes out inflammatory garbage that is stuck in the sinuses. Nasya is an ancient ayurvedic practice where you drop nasya oil in each nostril. It helps to reduce stress, headaches, neck pain and can prevent seasonal allergies.
Stepping onto your yoga mat during the early months of spring makes you feel like a stiff bear emerging from a bout of winter hibernation, right? Force yourself to include a session of strong vinyasa into your yoga routine. Try and focus on postures that open and expand your chest like full wheel pose, fish pose, and camel pose. Making rapid movements through Sun Salutations and linking your one breath to each movement helps to relieve stagnation in the mind, body, and soul.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, exercise is highly supportive when it comes to countering the effects of the Kapha season. Physical activity essentially improves blood circulation, induces a feeling of lightness and increases body heat, all of which helps balance out Kapha Dosha.
This period is a great time of the year to encourage and motivate yourself physically through intensified workouts.