Spring has sprung early it seems, at least in the Southeast. Actually in the system of Ayurveda, Spring comes "earlier" as the year is divided into 3 seasons instead of 4. Spring is Kapha season which usually starts in the late winter, or around mid-February. Enjoying excellent health in each season is what Ayurveda is all about. By understanding how the elements need to balance with each shift throughout the year, you can navigate the challenges and improve on the strengths of what each season offers. Spring (Kapha Season) is made up of Earth and Water. We balance the heavy and wet qualities with lightening up and drying out with our food and activities. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate Spring to stay happy and healthy. In this 3- part series, we will look at lifestyle, food wisdom, and herbs for spring health. LIFESTYLE
This is all about what we do and when we do it as it pertains to maintaining our lives and practicing self-care. Here are several tips to support you specifically in the Spring:
Go to bed early (before 10pm) and wake early (between 5-6am)
You need less sleep in the springtime as the stores from the winter melt away with the awakening solar energy.
Scrape your tongue every morning.
Using a tongue scraper or a metal spoon turned upside-down, scrape your tongue from back to front several times. Rinse off the gunk on the scraper and repeat another time or two. This practice clears the toxins that have released on your tongue overnight and stimulates the digestive tract to function efficiently for the day. Follow with 15-20 dog panting breaths (builds warmth in the solar plexus, clears toxins, strengthens respiratory and digestive systems, boosts immunity).
Get your breath and blood moving asap in the morning.
Do 5-30 minutes of exercise (breath-body practice): Sun salutations, hike up a mountain, run, jump rope, Zumba, kick boxing, dance, etc. Just get your heart pumping and your breath expanding before you eat anything.
Dry Brush your whole body every day.
Use raw silk gloves or a soft bristled brush. This practice moves lymph which detoxifies your body and enlivens your energy.
Make lunch your biggest meal.
This is key all the time but especially in Kapha season because eating heavier later will weigh you down more than other times of the year.
Get plenty of daily exercise.
Build heat to melt the stagnation. Focus on cardio and weight training in Spring.
Eat an earlier, lighter dinner (5-6pm).
Afterward brush your teeth, close your kitchen and go for a walk or do house work, but don’t just sit.
Allow at least three hours between putting any food in the body. This creates more efficient digestion, connection with authentic hunger and better metabolism.
Use a Neti pot to clear sinuses (reduce Kapha).
Rinsing the sinuses and nasal passages ensures that no dust, pollen or other irritants hang out and cause irritation. Using a neti pot also reduces inflammation, allowing you to breathe clearly through the night.
Practice intermittent fasting (Vata: 12-14 hours, Pitta: 14-16 hours, Kapha: 16-18 hours).
Lots of info can be found on intermittent fasting as it become more mainstream, but the idea here is basically to have a set window of time each day where you do not have any food intake. It's important to know what is the best schedule for your constitution. Many people try a 8/16 to start with, if you don't know your dosha. For example, that would mean you have all your meals between 9am-5pm and let your digestive system rest otherwise.
Avoid sleeping during the daytime.
Daytime sleep builds Kapha (which can be helpful if you are postpartum or recovering from an illness). Otherwise, sleeping during the day in Kapha season leads to stagnation and brain fog.
Do a group DETOX.
Detoxing allows you to have a guided experience with a community of others and support of a leader. You'll have support as you release the gunk (Ama) from the winter, clear the liver, and embrace abundant energy awaiting as the solar energy builds toward summer.
This list might feel like a a lot to implement, AND you don't need to do it all. What have I mentioned here that appeals to you, feels do-able, and makes you curious? Try integrating 2-3 of these suggestions into your life now. Add more as you feel ready. Let me know how it goes.