Spring: Kapha season
Ayurveda doesn’t put exact dates on the seasons because changeability is one of its principles.
The transition from Vata season to Kapha Season generally begins around mid-February, but all you need to do is step outside and feel the sudden change from dry (Vata) to damp (Kapha). This is a much better indicator than a set date.
Spring is a season of birth, new beginnings, renewal, and growth. During this period Sun rays become more strong as compare to winter. Winds become increasingly sharp. Nice green grass starts coming out of soil, seeds are germinating, flowers budding, insects buzzing, leaves unfurling.
Are You Ready for Kapha Season?
Ayurveda teaches us that the transition between seasons is important time in terms of our health, and we need to be particularly vigilant as our body adjusts to the changing climate.
If you start to pay attention, you will notice that more people get sick during seasonal transitions.
For those of us with a lot of Vata dosha in our constitution, this time of year comes as a welcome relief as Vata Season comes to an end. But for those who are Kapha-types, or someone experiencing a Kapha imbalance, they may find themselves feeling lethargic, congested and oftentimes depressed. In the late winter and spring as the sun heats the air the body sheds a layer of protective fat and other excess kapha releasing it into the blood stream. This is expressed as hay fever and congestion and is responsible for the colds and runny noses prevalent at this time. Following a kapha balancing diet over winter will reduce these symptoms in the spring.
Water is Kapha’s primary element. Earth is secondary.
Qualities of Kapha dosha are cool, smooth, oily, soft, slow, steady, dense, heavy. These qualities are also present in nature during Spring time. Like increases like and kapha dosha is increased in winter and early spring.
Kapha tastes are sweet, salty, and sour, so the tastes that help to balance Kapha are bitter, astringent, and pungent.
Kapha is our body mass, structure, and fluids, and makes up our muscles, fat, and bone. It is seated mainly in the chest, but also in the throat, sinuses, nose, head, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and especially in secretions of the body-like mucus. When Kapha is in balance, growth, strength, stability and the immune system are stimulated. A kapha in imbalance creates toughness, inertia, laziness, heaviness, fatigue, frostiness, humidity, stickiness. An increase of kapha during late winter worsens during the spring. Mild symptoms typically occur in the early stages of kapha accumulation and the places where kapha has a natural affinity are some of the first places where indications can arise. They are the mind, digestive tract and respiratory system:
In the Mind – generalised feeling of heaviness or lethargy, sluggishness, drowsiness, brain fog, tendency towards excessive sleep, laziness, melancholy or depression.
In the Digestive Tract – sense of heaviness, uncomfortable feeling of fullness in stomach, nausea, excess salivation, poor appetite, sweet taste in mouth, indigestion, slow or suppressed metabolism. Stools are heavy, oily, pale and sticky.
In the Respiratory System – colds, coughs, excessive accumulation of mucus, runny nose, excess nasal crust, hay fever, congestion, feeling of tightness in the sinuses, throat or chest.
Our bodies start to shed stored fats which are no longer needed (and along with them, toxins). The fats and toxins enter the blood stream, causing the liver and gallbladder to work harder to process and eliminate them. Toxins, known in ayurveda as ama, negatively affect all aspects of our body. The build up of ama can lead to seasonal imbalance causing excess Kapha.
Problems that may come in the spring due to increased kapha are asthma, allergies, sinusitis, feeling of drowsiness, poor appetite, weight gain, high cholesterol levels, the body stores more water and depression.
Ayurveda detox is the best to remove Ama and imbalance Kapha. Read more about Simple Detox
A healthy diet, with the addition of these simple Ayurvedic tips can help you get that spring back in your step.
Bitter is better - Eat a dry kapha pacifying diet favoring bitters. Add a dash of bitter to your diet to stimulate the release of bile, to help move those toxins out of the body. Drink hot lemon water each morning to help promote cleansing. To stimulate sluggish digestion, add a little cayenne pepper. Add tumeric to your toolbox. It cleanses the blood, improves circulation, aids in liver cleansing, reduces inflammation, and helps ignite sluggish metabolism.
Skip the sticky and sweet - Gluten, dairy and sugars will hinder the cleansing process, helping toxins literally ‘stick’ around. Opt for grapefruit or ginger tea as a snack or to help curb cravings.
Break a sweat - To balance the heaviness of kapha and encourage elimination of toxins through our skin, we have to work up a little sweat. This is the perfect time of year to run, enjoy a nice sweaty yoga session, dance, or take a lovely hot bath with a little essential oil. Physical workouts coupled with steam saunas and hot baths flush out the stored toxins.
Cut down on fatty, oily foods, dairy and meats - Add cleansing green foods, and increase alkaline foods in your diet and sip water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and to carry the toxins away. Grapefruit is a winner this time of year. Add a little to your breakfast or your salad at night and you will feel cleansed and energized. Pulses are a good replacement for meats and fish and add cleansing ‘astringent’ element to your diet. Try and have a larger lunch and a light dinner to coincide with the times our agni, or digestive fires, are naturally stronger and weaker, respectively.
Breathe it out - Sitting all day restricts our bodies ability to breathe deeply, and fully. This prevents us from getting rid of all the air from the lungs, which means we are missing an opportunity to give the lungs a good old cleanse. Breathing exercises are best.
Dry massage - Give yourself dry massage, preferably in the form of silk massage in the morning before the shower.
Nasal drops - Drop two drops of sesame oil into each nostril once / day to avoid colds, coughs, nasal congestion and allergies.
Eat only when you are hungry.
Knowing which elements your tendencies and cravings come from can help you prevent behaviors or habits that decrease your sense of well being. Ayurvedic practitioners can provide you with a pulse diagnosis and a consultation to help you understand and create a plan for your constitution and lifestyle.
Schedule your Ayurveda Health Consultation with Dr. Tejal.