The astronomical start of spring is tomorrow, March 20th and ends June 21st.
During this time, the planet — and our bodies — are subject to multiple physical changes due to the increase in temperature and moisture.
The warmer weather and protagonistic role of the water element make spring the right time to plant and grow.
Since we should adjust our diet and lifestyle at the start of every season, I want to introduce you to effective Ayurvedic Tips for Spring to help you welcome this wonderful time of year.
And provide you with the knowledge you need to survive and thrive in it.
A couple of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) govern each season.
In fall and winter, ether and air — Vata dosha predominant elements — are abundant. They are reflected in the body and the mind. For instance, we tend to experience dry skin, and coldness. As well as tight joints, and, not uncommonly, feelings of depression.
The cold weather aggravates Vata, but also intensifies Kapha.
We move less, and eat more. And so, gaining weight is a common side effect of winter.
However, during Spring, as the world around us begins to become less harsh, the water and earth elements take a lead role and Kapha is further increased with the excess of moisture and dampness.
Spring and Kapha dosha
Winter characteristics are quite opposite to those of Spring.
We are moving from the darkness and coldness of Winter to a season that feels much warmer and lighter.
Everything starts to blossom and feel like Kapha dosha.
That is, the earthy-watery qualities are now being intensified. They are life promoting and rejuvenating. Truly the foundation of new life to begin.
Rain and more sun rays help fertilize the earth, just as we start noticing more mucus, phlegm, and excess lubrication. Again, the watery predominance of Kapha plays a big role. Now, it is common to feel issues with the sinuses, the lungs, and the stomach (all Kapha organs).
Kapha dosha is also defined by feeling strong and stable, when in balance.
However, if you get aggravated by this season, you might feel sleepy, mentally dull, and even pessimistic or melancholic.
Weight gain is also common for Kapha dosha.
Nausea, weight gain, water retention, and the overwhelming feeling of heaviness is also typically experienced when we are Kapha aggravated. This is due, in part, to the choices we made in the colder months, when it gets dark earlier and is constantly freezing. But, these symptoms are magnified during Spring.
Moreover, let’s not forget about how vulnerable we become to allergies and colds during this season!
Our bodies and minds mirror what happens in the macrocosms.
In Spring, we tend to go through emotional, mental, and physical dullness. Our body rhythms change. Therefore, we should start by being a little more flexible and gradually let go of what doesn’t serve us. That includes bad foods and stagnation. By following these Ayurvedic Tips for Spring, we can avoid aggravating Kapha dosha.
The purpose of these Ayurvedic Tips for Spring is to help you shed the winter “heaviness”.
Just like ice melts when the transition to this season takes place.
It’s important to invite in light, warm, and dry qualities through diet and lifestyle. The following are some helpful self-care rituals and activities that can help you navigate Spring more successfully.
- Liquify the extra Kapha. Melt the extra weight and fat (Kapha is oily), the extra moisture in your body, and the lethargy by incorporating a consistent exercise routine that feels doable and enjoyable.
- Let go of all that is dense and heavy. This can be wonderfully accomplished with a Kapha-reducing diet.
- Make space. You can do that by practicing some yoga poses to improve fat and water retaining issues. Try the lion pose and chair pose, for example.
- Do a spring cleanse at home and get rid of stuff you no longer need or like. What about organizing your office desk? Dispose of what is adding bulk to your work and no value.
- Add heat to your life to stimulate circulation, digestion, and elimination. Take warm showers or baths.
- Detox your skin with a dry body brush.
- Perform strong, vigorous massages on your body with mustard oil.
In addition, practice Pranayama.
Do breathing exercises daily to create more space within.
Pranayama strengthens your lungs, clears your mind and sense organs, and stabilizes your emotions. Plus, it helps you develop mindfulness and devotion.
Be inspired by Spring!
This renewal and transformation season is perfect to observe and connect with Mother Nature. One of my favorite practices to do that is earthing.
I just love feeling the sand or grass under my bare feet for an intense mindful experience.
Ayurvedic tips for Spring
Watching a sunset and doing alternate nostril breathing help a lot.
But, you should complement those efforts with a light, anti-Kapha diet.
Starting this season with a spring cleanse with Kitchari is a wonderful way to shed the pounds and toxins accumulated during winter.
I just did mine -for two weeks-, but you can detox for just 3-5 days, and still reap the benefits.
It takes you only about 25 minutes to make Kitchari and is a very fulfilling dish, which makes this detox more like a mono-diet than anything else. The simplicity it adds to your body, by only eating a few easy-to-digest foods, is incredibly healing and cleansing.
Other detox protocols that are particularly beneficial for this season are done with pomegranate, apple, or green juice.
Spring is about becoming a beautiful, radiant butterfly, not a slow and heavy bear.
Fasting is an incredible tool to balance Kapha, bring lightness into your body, expectorate excess mucus, revitalize Agni (digestive fire), and improve the circulatory system function.
It also has deeply curative properties and is a valuable technique able to reduce ama or toxins in the body.
I use Intermittent Fasting with my own clients, which is easier on the body and way more sustainable — I have been doing it for years. And it’s fantastic for weigh loss.
Foods that increase Kapha, should be avoided.
Set out to stay away from dairy, fried and oily food, and snacking, specially processed sugar treats.
Cold foods or drinks are also a BIG no. This includes ice cream!
Instead, try drinking water and other beverages at room temperature or warm — I’m actually into hot water these days, as it supports my efforts to liquify the winter excess.
Add heat to the body
Spices are great to increase heat in the body. Be generous with the amount you use.
Even oatmeal can be spiced with cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, and pomegranate seeds.
Be creative and indulge in the aromatic and healing properties of spices in the kitchen. Favor the astringent, pungent, and bitter tastes to get rid of the excess mucus and help purify your body.
In addition, use often garlic, onion, ginger, and chilies.
- It’s good to spend most of your time grocery shopping in the produce section. Include lots of vegetables. Try to choose the ones that feel dry and astringent, like kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, celery, green beans, broccoli, and cabbage. You can bring home, occasionally, a few watery veggies like avocado and zucchini but, be mindful about the quantities as they can increase your Kapha.
- Eat fruits in moderation. As they are sweet, they can aggravate Kapha. Stick to apples, apricots, blueberries, cranberries, lemons and limes, peaches, pears, pomegranates, and strawberries.
- Choose Kapha-friendly oils for cooking. You can use some ghee or sunflower oil, but in minimum quantities. Otherwise, you would aggravate the oily Kapha characteristic.
- Eat in moderation, at 70-75% of your full capacity. Nothing will make you feel as heavy as eating too much. Or too many foods of the wrong kind.
- Don’t eat before 10 am and later than 6 pm.
- Start your day with a light breakfast. Cooked fruit is ideal. Like my Warm Ayurvedic Spiced Apples. I also love cooking fruits like kiwi to make them sweeter.
Generally, meat should be avoided.
Meat is Tamasic and adds extra weight to your body and whole being, so stay away from it. It is heavy to digest, ama (toxin) producing, and dulls the mind. The same applies for processed foods and sodas.
One of the most important ayurvedic tips for spring is to make an effort to awake before the sun rises and go to bed by 10pm.
Waking up later than 6pm, a Kapha dosha time, will augment the feelings of heaviness and dullness in the body and mind.
The idea is to set the tone for a productive day, and waking up early helps.
Take a few principles from my Ayurvedic Tips for Spring and consistently practice them in the upcoming weeks.
They will help you immensely feel balanced and healthy during this beautiful season.
Monica Gisella xx