One day we are all out ice skating. The next day it feels like spring is on its way with warm temperatures and a wet sun. The second half of winter has arrived and in Ayurveda that means a transition from the Vata season to the Kapha season.
Change of the seasons
And for us, this is the perfect time to follow nature and surrender to the stillness of the season. Winter is a time for wisdom, a time for reflection, setting intentions, hibernation, and inner focus. What could be better than sitting on your couch with a good book and a mug of hot tea?
But winter is also the season when many people feel a little gloomy. According to the rhythms of nature, late winter and spring are the seasons in which Kapha is naturally most prominent in your body. Kapha’s characteristics are cold, heavy, oily, and stagnant and can make you feel like you never want to get out of bed. While retreating into your soul is a natural thing to do in winter, we want to maintain that balance of Ying and Yang energy, of action and rest to stay healthy, happy, and energized. So here are some tips to avoid those winter blues and start spring full of energy!
What is Kapha (in a nutshell)?
Kapha consists of the elements earth and water and is the force of growth and nutrition. Kapha gives the body stability, builds the structures, and provides lubrication for tissues and joints. Looking at the qualities of Kapha, you can imagine that when Kapha builds up in your body, you can also start to feel heavier, more tired and more lethargic. Energy dips, mucus build-up (colds), and a heavy feeling in the stomach area are also signs of an excess of Kapha in your system.
How do you balance Kapha?
To keep Kapha in balance, we use the opposite properties of Kapha. Combat the heavy, cold, and oily properties with light, dry, and warming substances. As Kapha becomes more dominant, in addition to the physical effects of feeling heavier and more lethargic, you’ll probably also find yourself more likely to cling to the status quo and existing routines or habits. In short, you are less easily moved in all sorts of ways. Your senses will need some extra stimulation through new images, sounds, and experiences!
- Integrate the pungent taste into your diet. This taste is composed of the elements fire & air which directly combat fight Kapha. Also the bitter taste, e.g. leafy vegetables, is a good addition to your diet.
- Add warming herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and other common kitchen herbs to your food. This warms your body from the inside out and stimulates your digestive fire. Limit the use of salt. If you start feeling sleeper and heavier, add more pungent spices, such as cayenne pepper and chilli.
- Use honey as a sweetener. Honey has a tart taste and a scraping/cleansing effect.
- Avoid yogurt, especially in the morning when it’s Kapha time of day. Also reduce or avoid hard cheese, red meat, white carbohydrates, and nuts, as these foods have very similar properties to Kapha.
- Avoid snacks between meals.
- Focus on giving, sharing and letting go. Share the abundance you naturally have.
- Bring plenty of exercise into your routine, especially dynamic movements like jogging or a nice vinyasa yoga class. Move until sweat starts to form on your forehead. For yoga asana, focus on postures that stimulate the Kapha area in your body, such as heart openers, twists, and sideways.
- Add warming pranayama to your routine, such as kapalabhati and bhastrika.
- Brush your entire body with a dry brush before showering. Use a brush with natural bristles to get yourself moving mentally, energetically and physically by stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems. This is especially recommended in early spring!
- If you feel heavy or sad, take a walk toward the rising sun to feel that every day is a new opportunity.
In early spring, when the air gets warmer and the sun gains strength, the Kapha in your body liquefies. Early spring is the perfect time to do a spring cleanse and support your body in expelling excess Kapha. A spring cleanse is also an excellent way to prevent hay fever and allergies. Are you curious about such a detox and interested in participating in a group, online and with guidance? Sign up for my newsletter.