Yogic and ayurvedic tips to kiss the winter goodbye
Spring is the season of new beginnings. The winter season’s coldness is slowly fading away, bursting buds are all around us and the air has that special spring scent to it. Mother Nature is taking a deep breath after hibernating for so long, and a lot of people do that too – I should know, I’m one of them. Even though there is no season that I totally dislike, I tend to get the winter blues. That’s why every single year I get really excited about the days getting longer and the birds starting so sing.
Spring and the Doshas
This season is influenced by two Doshas. Kapha-Dosha is still very present due to the previous winter, but Pitta is slowly starting to claim its space: The increasing warmth and the longer, brighter days make Pitta’s influence grow gradually as spring is moving forward. The two elements that Kapha is made of are earth and water, which means everything that’s stable or liquid in our bodies, for example bones and blood. Let’s take a look at the elements in the simplest way. Maybe this will bring back some childhood memories. Did you also love to form little figurines with mud? And what is mud made of? Exactly: water and earth. So if you think of the qualities of mud – gooey, heavy – then it’s pretty easy to see the influence that Kapha has on us during springtime. The famous „spring fever“ is one of them. We feel tired, a little sluggish, and our digestion is a little weak. Kapha also stands for growth and stability. This can be observed pretty well if we take a look at the nature around us and watch flowers start blossoming.
What to do when Kapha is dominant
In order to avoid Kapha-imbalances such as bronchitis, snuffles or weight gain, it’s important for us to wake up from our hibernation and get going. An active start into the day is helpful. How about a few sun salutations to kick-start your circulation right after you get up? In general, we should reduce our sleeping time a little. The popular power nap in the afternoon can’t be recommended for spring, as it might further push our lethargy. The goal is to reduce Kapha and to push Pitta a bit, in order to get our digestion going. Not only movement can do this, but also nutrition. Vata-types can eat sweet stuff and also use oil when preparing their food. People with dominant Pitta or Kapha should avoid that, as sweet food reduces Pitta and therefore our digestion, and oil enhances Kapha. Dishes like soups and stews, that are easily digestible can be recommended. The flavors bitter, herb and spicy are suitable to stimulate the digestive system and to support the body with the detox processes – a benefit after the heavy winter food. Spices like chili and ginger can always be used. Ginger supports the digestion while chili enhances Pitta and releases mucus that might accumulate when Kapha is dominant. If you want to give your body a bigger break after dumplings, cookies & co, you can do some fasting. Spring is the perfect time for that. However, depending on your constitution and previous illnesses, you should talk to your doctor first, to determine if fasting is for you and if so, what kind of fasting.
Asanas for your spring flow
Especially if you were a bit lazier during winter, now it’s time to get back on the mat! Dynamic flows, which can also make us sweat, drive away the cobwebs and get us fit for the new season. As with food, the same applies here: Kapha-reducing exercises are well suited. If you are a Kapha type anyway, you can really let off steam now, and Pitta types can also exercise in more demanding ways than would otherwise be favorable for them. Those with a dominant Vata dosha will generally feel more grounded and can switch off on the mat better than usual. Twists are good for all three doshas: they balance Kapha as well as Pitta and Vata. The twisting seat or lying twists are suitable for this. While backbends are recommended now, forward bends should be reduced or kept shorter, as they are relaxing and could thus promote Kapha-related sluggishness. Backbends, on the other hand, promote blood circulation and can also loosen phlegm. To strengthen and warm the entire body, standing postures are optimal. There are hardly any limits to your imagination here: warrior variations, stretched side angle and the tree are all suitable for your personal spring flow.
Have fun with your spring awakening! Enjoy the first rays of sunshine 🙂