Spring tends to be fantasized for its blooming flowers, sunshine, and breezy days; however, to get there we need to tend to the muck and guck that is truly the essence of the season. In Ayurveda, Spring is considered Kapha season, where the elements of earth and water are dominant. Ice and snow are melting, rivers are rushing, and there are increased heavy and damp qualities in the atmosphere. Spring invites us to thaw out from the winter and eliminate an excess of Kapha accumulated from the deep cold and dry qualities of winter and our heavier diets.
Two guiding principles of Ayurveda are ‘like increases like’, and ‘opposites create balance’. Sitting on the couch, hibernating, eating mac and cheese, and watching TV all day is not going to bring us joy and balance as perhaps it did during the wintertime when we needed some of these heavy qualities to support us. Rather, inviting the opposite qualities will better serve us in combating seasonal allergies, congestion, and excess mucus, or lethargy and lack of motivation.
Kapha as a dosha is a combination of earth and water. Those with Kapha dominant constitutions are very compassionate and loving – think of the friend that you just love getting a hug from. They tend to be sentimental and love to kick back and relax. They are very easy going and are fine doing what the group wants to do. They have a strong immune system and plenty of physical and mental endurance.
Kaphas are the space holders. They offer so much earth and water for people to land. Kaphas are very easy to talk to and people tend to trust them with their troubles and secrets.
They may not always show their struggle because it’s in their nature to care for others a little more. If you’re a Kapha, don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Just because you’re strong and loyal, doesn’t mean you have to hold it all alone.
Ayurveda teaches us that switching up the foods in your diet during the seasonal transitions is essential to living well. Your body should naturally be craving lighter, cleansing foods such as asparagus, arugula, sprouts, berries and lighter grains like millet and quinoa in the spring. It is a great time of year to lighten your plate up and reduce or avoid dairy and meats as they can be heavy and difficult for your body to let go of the heaviness of winter. Don’t forget to spice your food to help stoke your digestive fire which is key for strong digestion during this cleansing time.
Look to include pungent, bitter and astringent tastes in your meals; think dark leafy greens like mustard greens and dandelion greens. Spices and foods like ginger, cayenne, onion, garlic and black pepper are Kapha balancing powerhouses. We love to use our garlic scape ghee to add a bit more pungent quality to our meals. Because ghee is oily, it’s best to use a smaller amount of ghee during the Kapha season. Heat up your spices in ghee to enhance their properties before adding to your meals.
When we’re in the thick of Kapha season, or Spring, we may feel mentally sluggish, lethargic, depressed, and stuck in a rut. One great remedy to find balance and move this earth and water energy is trying something new. It could be as big as planning a trip to get out of town, or more simplistic like finding a new walking route. Garshana, Neti and Nasya are a few other ways we love to balance Kapha in our routines.
What are some of your go-to practices for Spring? Let us know in the comments!