Spring

SPRING is Kapha season. Kapha dosha is governed by the elements of earth and water –the heavy, cohesive elements.

SPRING is Kapha season.

Kapha dosha is governed by the elements of earth and water – the heavy, cohesive elements.


There’s a stogginess and sluggishness in the body after a winter of hearty, heavy foods and cold, stagnant weather.

We can liken this to the ice that forms over winter –hard, frozen, immoveable mass.

As the sun rises in the sky and warmth begins to override the cold, the ice melts and the waters flow.

Spring is a time of increased warmth and moisture.

A similar thing occurs in the body, but rather than ice, it’s blood. The ice is a metaphor and of course our blood doesn’t freeze over winter, but it does become somewhat thicker. Insulation in the form of fat has accumulated, and the blood stagnates to a degree.

The warmer weather marks the opportunity for the sluggishness to move, the blood to flow and for the accumulated insulation and ‘melting’ kapha to be cleared out of the body.

The body wants to rid this before the heat of summer kicks in, and spring is the perfect opportunity.

The shift in seasons calls for a shift in diet. The spring diet has the theme of cleansing in the aim of preparing the body for the coming warmer months.

The qualities that balance spring are light, dry, warm, and well spiced.

Eat more of the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes which help to clear mucous and excess moisture from the body; avoid sweet, sour, and salty foods that encourage water stagnation.


Pungent spices are especially helpful in early spring to dry up the kapha water, specifically in the lungs.Increase light grains like quinoa, millet, rice, barley, and corn; reduce heavy wheat.

Legumes such as red lentils, chickpeas and aduki beans are light and astringent, making them a helpful addition this time of year.

Drink warm water throughout the day, and include pungent/bitter cleansing herbal tea such as dandelion, chicory, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange peel or hibiscus.

Steamed veggies, simple soups, and all things easy-to-digest are what is called for.

After the first stage of clearing water, mucous and kapha, move onto cleansing the liver of hot and fatty pitta accumulations by using bitter herbs (Pole 2013). Take advantage of the abundance of yellow dandelions that appear at this time. It’s believed that the colour yellow and the liver are connected, and dandelion is a well-known liver cleanser. So, don’t mow the dandelions down...eat them up!

The other yellow that you want to take advantage of in spring is Turmeric. It has the unusual quality of being a warming bitter (bitters are generally cooling in nature) which makes it invaluable in both moving stagnation and clearing the liver.

Many vegetables are light, bitter, and astringent and provide a great way to facilitate the body in clearing moisture, moving stagnation, and cleansing the liver...kale, asparagus, artichokes, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.

Of all the sweeteners, honey is by far the superior choice in the spring-time. It’s heating and ‘scraping’ qualities make it perfect for this time of year. Ayurveda traditionally cautions against cooking with it, however it’s fine to stir it in after the heat has been turned off and the food/drink has cooled slightly.

On dairy and meat, these foods are generally more building than cleansing (with the exception of pungent goats’ milk) and are best saved for the other seasons. In spring, think cleansing.

SPRING LIFESTYLE GUIDELINES

Rise early, before 7am and take advantage of the new-found seasonal vitality.

If you’ve been irregular, now is a good time to focus on regulating the bowels. Spring is detox season and effective cleansing depends on efficient elimination.

Drinking warm ginger and lemon water first thing in the morning will clear the system of any mucous that may have accumulated overnight and stimulate a complete elimination.

Practice self-massage with organic sesame or sunflower oil. Sesame is warming and sunflower is light.

Maintain a good skin regime, including dry body brushing 3 to 4 times per week to assist lymphatic flow. Start at the feet, then hands and arms, ending at the abdomen and chest and bringing lymph fluid to the heart.

Increase the intensity of your yoga practice to help pump up metabolism and move winter/kapha stagnation, especially from the lungs and stomach. Pranayama is especially good for clearing kapha from the lungs.

Brisk walking is also a good exercise option.

Saunas are beneficial in the early spring to help dry excessive moisture.