As I write this, it’s the end of April. It’s 60 degrees at the moment, and it is going to snow tonight! Spring means longer days, cool temperatures, snow and rain, and the promise of warmer days ahead.
In Ayurveda, spring is considered the king of all seasons. We feel energized after winter and ready to grow, test new skills, and revamp our lifestyles. The season of spring is the energy of Kapha dosha. Kapha embodies the elements of water and earth – cold, soft, heavy and moist (oily). These are the characteristics you might notice of the spring season – rain, snow, cool temperatures – think of mud when you think of spring. In Ayurveda, like increases like, and opposites balance. For the spring season, you want to focus on qualities that are warm, light and dry. Keeping these qualities in mind make choosing the food we eat and our self-care practices with the seasons simpler. Below are some tips on how to do this to navigate your way through the spring season without feeling weighed down by mud!
Foods to Balance Kapha
To bring balance to Kapha dosha in this time of year, focus on eating foods that are warm, light and dry. Balance the cool days of spring by eating warming foods like freshly cooked foods, heating spices and hot teas. Lighter cooking methods like steaming and poaching are ideal for this time of year. Overall, keep your meals light and fresh.
Incorporate the following foods into your diet:
- Pungent taste – spice your food with black pepper, ginger, cumin, cardamom, close (garlic in moderation is ok too)
- Bitter taste – asparagus, broccoli, all greens, turmeric
- Astringent taste – apples, pomegranate, all beans and legumes
- Warming foods – light broths and soups, eat cooked food that is warm in temperature
- Small amounts of raw honey to sweeten
- Lighter proteins – chicken, turkey, eggs, freshwater seafood
- Lighter grains – millet, quinoa, buckwheat
- Hot or warm beverages, coffee in moderation
- Other foods to enjoy this season – potatoes, rice cakes, dried fruit, popcorn
- As we get into May and temperatures rise, you can can start to incorporate more raw fruits and salads into your diet
Lifestyle for Kapha
Think movement. Remember, Kapha is the energy of water and earth – mud. It is sluggish, heavy energy. What balances this is movement – this is the time of year to get active!
- Get active and move your body – hike, walk, hot yoga, weight-lifting, HIIT workouts are all great at this time of year
- Yoga poses – boat, bow, bridge, locust, camel, cobra, cow/cats
- Get up early with the sun and avoid napping
- If you have sinus allergies, use Nasya oil in your sinuses
- Dry brushing helps to awaken the body, as well as slugging off any dry winter skin
- Stay warm and dry, no matter what the weather is
- Try new things, take risks, be spontaneous
Herbs for Kapha
In Kapha season, use herbs and spices that bring warmth and stimulation to body and mind.
- Tulsi (holy basil) – clears cold and dampness from lungs, helpful with respiratory allergies (I like to use Organic India tulsi teas)
- Turmeric is great for spring as its pungent and bitter – add the spice to dishes like soups and curries, and drink turmeric teas
- Ginger (dry) stimulates digestion and is heating and stimulating. Try a tea made with ginger and a bit of raw honey.
- Use lots of hot and heating spices when you cook – chilis, black pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, etc.
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