Ayurvedic Recommendations for the Spring Season
Of the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—it’s the kapha dosha that is dominant in the universe as well as in our bodies during spring. To enjoy a healthy spring, we need to understand the kapha dosha and keep it in balance.
Learn about Dosha's here.
Kapha is the biological humor or the force that gives the power of adhesion, i.e. keeping things together! It is primarily composed of the elements water & earth. It provides lubrication to the joints, as well as mucus to protect the sensitive tissues. When kapha is in balance, you feel strong, calm, composed, and stable. When it’s out of balance, you feel lethargic, sedentary and sleepy. At the mental level, you feel dull or depressed. You may also experience excess phlegm in the lungs or sinuses, nausea, unhealthy weight gain, water retention, or heaviness in your limbs. It’s especially important to balance kapha in the spring, because kapha accumulates during late winter and can create diseases by the time spring arrives.
According to the principles of Ayurveda, a healthy digestive agni, or “fire,” is key to good health. Agni gives us the power to digest the food we eat as well as our sensory impressions, thoughts, and feelings and what we take in through the five senses. Strong agni prevents us from developing AMA (toxins in the body). These toxins actually are the true cause of weak immunity, inflammation, general fatigue and depression. If left unchecked, it can lead to more serious conditions in the body.
Here are some of ayurvedic recommendations for the spring season:
FOCUS ON LIGHTER MEALS
The most important way to ensure a healthy agni is to eat light, easy-to-digest foods during spring and wait at least three to four hours between meals. Eating at regular intervals with adequate time between meals strengthens the mind and the body.
Avoid foods that increase kapha—dairy products, iced or cold food or drinks, and fried or oily food—especially in the morning and at dinner.
Consider a dietary cleanse. A strict fast is not appropriate for all! Depending on your prakruti (your unique mind body constitution), spend one day a week eating only fresh fruits and vegetables or just be on a khichari cleanse. This is the right way to do a cleanse as per Ayurveda. This will improve your digestive fire and eliminate Ama (toxins). During your cleanse, you can also drink herbal teas made with cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger. These herbal teas are beneficial for your digestive and circulatory systems and help expectorate excess mucus.
Bitter greens like dandelion leaves, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, diuretics like celery, pungent spices such as cayenne, and mild laxatives like aloe vera can break up congestion, reduce fats in the blood, and drain excess water retention.
Spring time is Kapha time, which is slow and sluggish and can make us feel sedentary but all my Ayurveda students know that we need to do the opposite to keep things in balance- remember… “Like increases like and opposites balance”! To boost up your willpower and get up and get moving, all you have to do is look around to be inspired at this time of year. There are signs of renewal and transformation all around us. The nature itself is going through a rebirth. So be in sync with nature. Start your day with Sun Salutations! Head outdoors for a nice morning walk. And appreciate the fresh aroma of renewal of natural beauty around you. Appreciate the beautiful transformation that’s happening around & fill yourself with inspiration, energy, and light.
SPRING CLEAN & DECLUTTER
One of the qualities of kapha dosha is that it holds on to things. Therefore, to keep kapha in check during the spring season it is important to do the opposite. It’s time to spring clean. Let go of the things as well as emotions that do not serve you any good. It is time to simplify your life to include only those things that truly revitalize your body and soul. Clean your house of any unwanted clutter and donate! Also clean your body by eating light, simple & easy to digest meals.
Breathing exercises (pranayama), such as Bhastrika, Kapalabhati and Anulom Vilom can flush out heaviness from the chest & keep your head and lungs clear.
- Rise early-Just as the sun is rising earlier, so should you. Shift your waking time to just before sunrise.
- Exercise is critical this time of year to shed your winter layer of fat and prevent congestion.
- Use neti pot daily upon waking to encourage excess Kapha to flow out of the body.
- Avoid daytime naps as they increase Kapha in the body.
- Continue to get to bed by 10 pm, though this is the time of year when the body actually needs the least amount of rest.
- This is the best time of the year to enjoy salads. Aside from increasing prana, bitter greens have the added benefit of gently cleansing your liver.
- You may find yourself craving spicy foods. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you! Give in to those intelligent cravings! Pungent spices like chili and cayenne open up your airways and flush excess Kapha out of the body. Add black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger to your teas and cooking. Pitta dominant individuals need to be a bit mindful of not to overdo pungent spices.!
- Include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. They are excellent for balancing kapha. Vata types should cook these and add plenty of oil and digestive spices.
- Include beans & lentils as their astringency helps reduce Kapha. Try sprouts.
- Herbal tea such as Holy Basil / Tulsi is ideal for clearing excess Kapha from the respiratory tract and has the added benefit of gently kindling digestion (agni).
- CCF tea is excellent for reducing water retention in the body. Cumin, coriander, fennel seeds are known for their detoxifying properties and digestive support.
- Unhealthy diet, improper food combinations, an unsupportive lifestyle, emotional disturbances, environmental influences can upset our Doshas! If we learn to recognize and address imbalances in our Doshas relatively quickly, the effects need not be long lasting. Otherwise, they will undoubtedly lead to ill health and disease!
Disclaimer: The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
R.H.N. (registered holistic nutritionist)
Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
For more on Ayurveda, please do visit my website for self-paced online courses.
Jaggery tea or Gur ki Chai is a traditional Indian tea made with jaggery and spices. Gur ki chai recipe is a popular tea variety made during winter. This tea has a deep earthy flavour from jaggery and tastes delicious. Let's learn how to make Gur Ki Chai or Jaggery Tea.