Spring is nearly upon us! As Mother Nature is moving from cold, dark winter towards spring, it’s a good time to change our habits and routines in accordance with this. In Ayurveda, merging your personal routine with the cycles of nature is a simple tool to increase health and wellbeing – begin spring with a new lifestyle, diet and Ayurvedic treatments to cleanse and renew your body.
During winter we usually eat more and often the food we eat has heavier and richer qualities. We tend to ‘hibernate’ – staying indoors more and generally become less active. These acts fuel our metabolism to keep us feeling warmer and provide insulation for the cooler months, but this extra food and less activity can also lead to strain on our digestive system causing a build-up of Ama (Ayurvedic term for toxic plaque) and excess weight. The Ama blocks the channels in our body and becomes stored in our cells, slowing everything down and producing symptoms such as sluggish digestion, fatigue, poor sleep, foggy mind, low moods, poor concentration, white coating on the tongue, bad breath, joint pain and weight gain.
Spring is invigorating and a time of year for renewal, new energy and vitality as the sunlight and warmth begin to melt away the winter chill and snow – this is Mother Nature’s natural cleansing cycle. As animals in nature start to slim down to lose their winter coat in spring, the same effect naturally begins to happen in our own body to decrease the accumulation of Ama (toxins) and excess weight gained during the winter period.
In Ayurveda, Spring is governed by the Kapha dosha, which is one of three Ayurvedic Doshas and it has the qualities of being heavy, dense, wet and cool. As these qualities are naturally increasing during this month in nature, they are also increasing in your mind and body. When Kapha is in balance it provides strength and stamina, immunity, peace, love, generosity, and a good memory; it lubricates the joints, as well as provides sufficient mucous to protect the mucous membranes of the sinuses, lungs and stomach.
When Kapha is out of balance, you might feel sleepy, mentally dull or depressed; you may have limbs that feel heavy, sluggish digestion, colds and flu or feel puffy due to fluid retention. One of the most common conditions experienced in spring is the excess production of phlegm and mucous. Sinusitis, asthma, lung conditions, hay fever and allergies are all aggravated and prominent during this month.
As spring is the natural cleansing season, it is best to utilise this energy to clear out excess Ama and accumulated Kapha to avoid the undesirable conditions mentioned above. So what can we do to support the body’s natural process of detoxification at this time of year?
Panchakarma (PK) (Ayurvedic detox program) is the ultimate mind and body purification and rejuvenation program that reduces Ama and clears away excess doshas. PK is best to do at the change of seasons, especially from winter into spring. PK helps to address the root cause of any health concern as it works at a deeper level to rebalance the body.
As we can’t make it to our in-residence PK centre in Bali – Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat and Spa for a deep cleanse, here are some Ayurvedic tips for a light detox to follow at home to stay balanced during spring:
DETOXIFYING SPICE MIXTURE
1 part turmeric
2 parts ground cumin
3 parts ground coriander
4 parts ground fennel
Mix these spices together in bulk and store in a jar. When you are cooking a meal, place a small amount of Ghee in a frying pan and heat on medium. Add detoxifying spice mixture, measuring out one teaspoon of spice mixture per serving of vegetables. Sauté spices until the aroma is released (but be careful not to burn). Add steamed vegetables, mix lightly and sauté together for one minute. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Or you can sauté the spice mixture in ghee and drizzle on vegetables or grains.
Written by Tegan Wallis