spring kapha season self-care
by Tanya Anderson, Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor
Kapha (spring) season is here and with it comes a sense of re-birth, awakening and moving outside of the cocoons we have instinctively created for ourselves during Vata (fall/late winter) season. This season does not correspond to dates on the calendar, but rather to the quality of the atmosphere.
We are feeling the changes all around us: the melting of the snow, the increased humidity of the air and longer days with increased periods of sunlight. A much welcome change from the cold, dreary, dark environment that Vata season provided to us. Kapha season is a time for rejuvenation, transformation and growth.
We are transmuting the cold, dry, mobile, light, rough and clear qualities of Vata, to the heavy, slow, dull, oily, liquid, dense, slimy, smooth, soft, static, cloudy and gross qualities of Kapha. Kapha deals more with form. Related to the environmental energy of soma (the nurturing and protective force of nature.) It is responsible for the lubrication and nourishment of the body. Kapha lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin and maintains immunity. It is predominantly present in the lymph tissue, plasma, semen, muscles, fat, connective tissue, myelin sheath and the brain. Kapha molecules make up the major body mass, giving shape and form to the body’s cells, tissues and organs and is responsible for maintaining all bodily fluids including intercellular fluid between the cells, and extracellular fluid around the cells.
- Psychologically, Kapha governs memory and retention. Its anabolic changes are responsible for healing the body, growth, development of the body, production of new cells and general repair. Kapha provides protection from the fire of Pitta, and the dry, mobile wind of Vata. The primary site of accumulation is the stomach.
- Kapha has an affinity for the lungs, stomach, pancreas, the white matter of the brain(nerve structure), cerebral spinal fluid, and the plasma of the body. It is found in the synovial fluid of the joints, the sinuses, nose and tongue.
- Kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness.
- Out of balance, Kapha may present with: attachment, greed, possessiveness, lethargy, respiratory disorders, edema and weight gain.
- This feeling of attachment with Kapha can look like: being unable to let go of unhealthy habits, belongings you no longer have a need for and toxic people. That sticky quality of Kapha makes letting go a difficult process.
Ayurveda provides us with the tools and guidelines to bring our bodies back into balance by changing our Ritucharya, or seasonal practices. We are focusing on warming, astringent and diaphoretic herbs and spices to clear mucus and move stagnant fluids from the body. The action of diaphoretic herbs for Kapha is very important, as they help to clear the subtle channels and capillaries.
Ayurvedic practices for balance and well-being:
- Waking - Making sure to get up before 6am, to avoid having the lethargic Kapha energy linger with you throughout your day.
- Dry brushing -Using garshana or a dry brush will help to increase circulation and move the stagnant lymphatic fluid underneath the skin and promote the body’s natural detoxification processes.
- Movement - Exercise during Kapha time of day, 6-10 am and pm. Ideally, this should be in the morning, as evening exercise is too stimulating and can interfere with one’s ability to sleep. Kapha season allows for a more invigorating type of exercise. Think: running, HIIT training, swimming, rebounding and brisk, long distance walking are all great options.
- Fresh Air - Open up the windows in your home for a short period of time each day. This will help clear out dust, allergens and stuck energy and air that has been trapped throughout the winter.
- Foods - Be mindful of the qualities of Kapha: heavy, slow, smooth, thick, damp, gross, cloudy and sticky. We know that we must introduce the opposite qualities this time of year to ensure we remain balanced. This is especially important with our foods. Use less ghee and oil, opt for brothy soups, more dark leafy greens and warming spices like cinnamon, turmeric, mustard seed, black pepper and chili.
- Lemon Water - Morning lemon water. This practice acts as a diuretic to the system. The citric acid of the lemons can loosen ama(toxins) in the GI tract and stimulate peristalsis.
- Neti Pot - This is a great practice to help clear out any pollutants and allergens from the sinuses that exacerbate Kapha type congestion and allergy symptoms.
- Nasya - Invigorating Nasya. Once nasal passages are dry, using an invigorating nasya blend will help to further open the sinuses and alleviate congestion.
- Cleanse/Panchakarma - As the seasons make their transition, we need to help our bodies to recalibrate. A cleanse or panchakarma, depending on what is deemed appropriate by your Ayurvedic counselor for your specific needs - will help to rid the body of accumulated toxins and keep your body balanced. Learn more about our Community Cleanses (3, 10, 14 - day options) where we will support you with individual consults, a customized plan, a care package, and time at the spa.
comforting dal soup
Perfect during a cleanse or for a nourishing and light dinner, this dal soup has healing spices and creamy dal.