Spring is a magical and dynamic time of year.
As nature moves out of the cold, wet, dark days of winter towards spring, the pulse of life quickens, warmth creeps in and everything blossoms and unfurls.
As we are part of nature, we too feel this shift. As we emerge from the long winter slumber, it is common to experience a renewed sense of joy and inspiration.
But for many of us, the Spring season is also associated with colds, hay fever, lethargy, congestion and the dreaded Spring allergies.
We need to transition from one season to the next, ideally smoothly and gracefully to feel in harmony and balance. This is where the knowledge of Ayurveda is invaluable! Ayurveda offers an appropriate seasonal routine that can help us to overcome spring’s challenges while promoting optimal health so that we can truly celebrate the gifts this season has to offer.
The rishis (the ancient mystical “seers” who founded the Yoga & Meditation tradition) created rituals and routines to honour each season and to remind us of our connection to the natural world. They devised ‘Seasonal Routines’ to allow us to follow her rhythms.
Spring sees the transition from Vata to Kapha in the environment. Spring is a season characterised by warmth (or at least less cold here in Melbourne), moisture, and a palpable softness.
Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like. So, by its very nature, springtime tends to increase Kapha in our mind and body.
Therefore, A bit of Kapha accumulation is somewhat inevitable for most of us this time of year which can lead to symptoms such as coughs, colds and flu, sinus congestion and aggravation of allergies. Kapha imbalance can also create a feeling of heaviness in the mind and body, fluid retention, along with sluggish digestion.
Here are some gentle tips to implement in diet or lifestyle to balance Kapha this spring.
Begin to minimise:
• Intake of heavy, oily or fried foods like takeaways, desserts, soy (milk, tofu), excessive nuts, bread (especially wheat)
• Any tendency to overeat or snack between meals
• Minimise the sweet, sour, and salty tastes
• Heavy or sour fruits like oranges, bananas, dates, coconuts (cream and milk of), avocado, bananas are also best reduced.
• Dairy – they are mucous forming. This is particularly important if you suffer from allergies and hayfever. Rice milk and almond milk are good substitutes.
• Fresh apple and pomegranate juice is good
• Coconut water and Berry smoothies
• Fresh vegetable juices
• Supplements like spirulina, wheat grass, chlorophyl
• Structure your diet around eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and legumes (not necessarily raw, lightly steam or saute)
• Start your day light by taking fresh or stewed fruit and tea.
• Lunches and dinners should also be light. Take cooked/steamed vegetables (arrange your plate half of vegetables), cooked whole grains and lean/vegetarian proteins.
• Bitter foods: rocket, endives, radicchio, turmeric, dandelion root, wild greens.
• Foods that support the bodies detoxification pathways such as cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower; beetroot; turmeric; ginger; leafy greens
• You can enhance your meals with the pungent flavour of onions, garlic, ginger, black pepper, chilli pepper, small amounts of cayenne pepper, and an unlimited variety of herbs and spices.
Ways to Balance Kapha Dosha:
• Vigorous exercise or active, stimulating yoga practice
• Practice Sun Salutations daily
• Fasting or cleansing is best this season. Take 1 or 2 days of a light diet like Kitchari or Mung bean soup.
• Avoid too much sleep, especially after meals and during the day.
• Don’t eat for emotional comfort.
• Avoid using air conditioning.