Ah, spring has sprung! The flowers are blooming, the days are longer, brighter, and the warm sunshine makes me want to bust out all my pretty spring dresses. In the world of Ayurveda, this means that it’s also time to be aware of shifting from a winter lifestyle into spring and summer. Thankfully, mother nature has it all figured out for us! All we really need to do is follow her lead and live in tune with the natural cycles of the earth, known as ritucharya. When we pay close attention to what’s happening in the environment around us, it helps us live with a graceful ease, strength, and vitality.
So what’s happening? Late winter and early spring are known as the kapha time of year. Kaphic elements are earth and water. The ground is rich, heavy, and muddy as the snow melts away and April showers fall. Dense, slow, steady clouds move across the spring skies and mirror the stagnate, cold, wet, earthly qualities of kapha. It’s energy is grounding, building, patient, strong, slow, stable, kind, pleasant, and compassionate. These energies also have a tendency for attachment, depression, weight gain, water retention, excess mucous/colds/allergies, and sinus problems.
Like a big ol’ grizzly bear, we are slowly emerging from our deep winter rest. With all the darkness of winter and the long cold nights, we’ve caught up on extra sleep and gave time for our nervous system to repair and strengthen itself. Hopefully, we all turned deeply inward to rest, reflect, and build up our ojas, or glow and essence for better immunity. The oily, rich, heavy, nourishing foods of winter aided in this necessity, and we are ready to shed our winter layers and move into the sunshine!
Naturally, Miss Nature is ready for us. Sprouts, shoots, leafy greens and bitter fruits are coming into harvest. These plants are the best and easiest foods to help our bodies clear out the extra fat and water that has stored up. Mainly, foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent qualities should be favored to balance out the kapha nature. Those with sweet, sour and salty tastes should be reduced or avoided. Think warm/hot, spicy, light, airy, and dry. Move away from dairy, meat, desserts, grains and cold, heavy foods. Try roasting, broiling, and grilling to give food a lighter quality. Dandelion, hibiscus, calamus, cinnamon, clove and ginger teas are excellent to enjoy. Raw honey is also amazing for its spring healing properties! It’s vipaka, or post-digestive effect, includes the ability to warm and scrape our channels, thanks to the preserved qualities from the bees. Try a spoonful in hot water with fresh lemon and ginger first thing in the morning.
Waking up early, ideally before 6 am, will also help counteract the grumpy grizzly bear ‘tude. Ever notice how when you sleep late, you feel slow and groggy ? The first kapha time of day is 6 am – 10 am, so exercising during this period is also optimal. Bastrika, or bellows breath, is the perfect pranayama to build your inner fire and blast air and energy throughout your body. Peacock, dancer, plow, boat, lion, and camel are some of the best yoga asanas to practice.
The spring diet and lifestyle naturally allows our body to lose weight, cleanse, and detox. What a lovely thing. This spring melt clears out all that mucous that might have built up, preventing allergies and other common spring health problems.
As we clear out the channels, we create space. The space allows for clarity and movement. Health, light, and radiance flow through. We can easily move with our inner divine glow.
Just think about adding movement, warmth, and lightness to your life! And I hope your spring unfolds like a fresh fragrant blossom.