How to Balance Kapha Dosha in Springtime

“He whose doshas are in balance, whose appetite is good…and whose Self, mind, and senses remain full of bliss, is called a healthy person.” Ancient Ayurvedic text, Sushrita Samhita

Springtime is known as the continuation of kapha season in Ayurveda. The Kapha season starts around mid-winter and ends at the end of spring. Kapha is made up of earth and water. The miraculous return of new life and growth that we see at spring following the stagnation of winter is created by increases in the water element.

When applying the wisdom of Ayurveda, we begin with the doshas, which not only refer to body types and temperaments, but also to many aspects of life including the seasons. There are three doshas —Vata, Pitta, and Kapha — that ideally lie in a state of harmonious balance.

There is a risk as we transition into any season that the predominant dosha for that season becomes out of balance. In late winter and spring, there is a risk that kapha can increase.

If we allow kapha to become out of balance, then we will start to see signs of excess.

What are the signs of an increased kapha?

Here are the symptoms to look out for:

  • A wet cough
  • Cold hands and feet and poor circulation
  • High level of mucus and phlegm production
  • Sluggish digestion
  • Slow bowels
  • An excessive desire to sleep

How to balance kapha in spring?

In order to balance kapha, we need to balance kapha’s heavy, dense qualities by increasing movement and stimulating the system to push through sticky congestion and accumulated damp.

Kapha will benefit from more stimulating exercise that gets the blood flowing.

To maintain balance or counter the stagnation of winter, take advantage of early morning light and springtime blossoms by taking a lively nature walk or doing a more dynamic yoga practice such as this one.

We want to stimulate the lymphatic system and get the heart rates elevated to generate heat and burn off excessive moisture. Looking also to Chinese medicine and yin yoga, it would be of benefit to incorporate stronger posses such as Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, and goddess pose which stimulate the inner and outer legs – these are associated with the liver and gallbladder meridians that can aid detoxification.

You could even start a new project or routine to channel the new life and growth associated with the season.

The kapha diet in spring

The Chopra Center suggests that if you’re feeling a bit imbalanced when transitioning through spring, no matter what your dosha, eat more foods that help calm the heavy, cold, and oily Kapha qualities — steamed vegetables (not raw), greens (especially cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), broth, brown rice, and a variety of astringent and bitter legumes. Decrease or eliminate foods that are sweet, sour, salty, heavy, cold, and oily, including fried foods and cold or frozen dairy, such as ice cream.

Increased kapha can make you crave processed sugary snacks, try to swap these out for warm fruit treats such as stewed apples. This diet is most beneficial towards the end of winter and in the very early stages of spring:

  • Eat only when hungry, allow the body plenty of time to properly digest food
  • Emphasise foods that are light, dry or warming to stimulate movement and heat
  • Favour foods that are spicy, bitter or astringent to power through sticky congestion
  • Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, cold, sweet, salty and sour. These are considered energetically ‘cooling’ for the body
  • Avoid stimulants, dairy and highly fatty or processed foods.

Springtime herbal heroes

Herbs that help to reduce kapha include those that are considered slightly more stimulating and heating. Some examples are:

  • Ginger– Warms the circulation and reinvigorates the mind
  • Ginseng– Highly energising, reducing tiredness and fatigue
  • Cinnamon– Warms the digestion
  • Turmeric – Boosts circulation
  • Green Tea– Boosts cognitive processes such as memory and concentration
  • Tulsi tea – Tusli is of great benefit to the respiratory system with the potential to liquefy phlegm due to its hot and sharp attributes

It can be as simple as buying your favourite tea brand consisting of these herbs or adding them to your meal.

The Chopra Centre have three springtime ayurvedic recipes that are intended to help pacify Kapha during the spring months – try one and let us know how it goes.

For more insights into Ayurveda as well as a library of our community classes, make sure you stay up to date with the Yoga For Good Foundation blog.

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