Ayurvedic Tips for Spring
In Ayurveda, every season is associated with a dosha. Now that we have officially entered into spring, we are in the kapha season. Spring is a season of rebirth, new beginnings, cleansing and growth. We are moving out of the dark, cold period of winter where we may have felt more of an inclination to hibernate, and it is the perfect time to embrace a fresh, clean start.
However, along with the blooming flowers and pollen in the air, spring season can also bring allergies, hay fever and colds. As we move into the wet, warmer spring season, we need to balance the excess kapha that has a tendency to accumulate towards the end of winter and can be further aggravated in the spring. When the kapha dosha becomes aggravated, mucus increases, leading to colds and problems with sinus congestion, allergies and asthma. This is even more important if kapha is strong in your individual constitution. In order to prevent or address this, we can employ some Ayurvedic methods to mitigate these effects of excess kapha.
Here are 4 Ayurvedic tips to help you transition into the spring season, balance the kaphic energy, and stay healthy.
1. Consume herbs and spices to improve digestion.
Drink warm herbal teas throughout the day, with spices such as cinnamon, dry ginger, fennel, and mint. When cooking, add liberal amounts of herbs and spices such as cumin, turmeric, ginger and black pepper.
2. Practice abhyanga
Abhyanga is the process of self-massaging the body with oil. Kapha tends to stagnate easily and a good way to get it moving and stimulated is through self-massage.
Some of the benefits of this practice include:
Nourishing the skin
Stimulating internal organs
Promoting lymphatic drainage
In addition to physical benefits, abhyanga is helpful for relieving stress and providing a sense of grounding. Massage can be done with jojoba or sesame oil, or with an herb-infused, specialty Ayurvedic oil like anu tailam. For instructions on how to perform abhyanga, see our post here: ABHYANGA: AYURVEDIC SELF-CARE
3. Eat a Kapha-pacifying diet
You can reduce the amount of kapha in your system by favoring the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes, eating lots of fresh vegetables, limiting your intake of heavy, oily foods, and adding a variety of herbs and spices to your diet. In general, you’ll want to eat foods that are warm, light, and dry in nature. Portion control is also essential to balancing kapha.
Fruits to favor in the spring are: apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dried fruit, lemons, limes, peaches, pears, pomegranates, raisins, raspberries and strawberries. Vegetables to favor include artichoke, asparagus, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, endive, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, sprouts and turnips. Grains to favor include: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice and tapioca.
4. Practice Kapha- balancing yoga postures
In the spring, we want to focus on exercises that cleanse the lungs and open the chest and heart. Some asanas that are particularly beneficial are sun salutation, warrior I, warrior II, reverse warrior, forward bends, chest openers like came pose, and backward bends such as wheel pose. When practicing, make sure to take long, deep breaths into the belly and hold the postures long enough to feel challenged.